Virtual Teams

A roadmap for hybrid working skills

Unsurprisingly we are flooded with requests for hybrid working training at the moment and we are starting to see a road map of the current (June 2021) priorities in building the skills to implement and manage hybrid.

Obviously, the organisations that are engaging with us at the moment do have at least a plan and some communication in place and are already focused on equipping their people with the skills to make it happen. Worryingly McKinsey found recently that 68% of organisations had no detailed plan communicated or in place. They’re all going to need one.

Hybrid working skills roadmap
Hybrid working skills roadmap

Leading conversations about what flexibility means in practise

People get the idea of hybrid, but they want to know what this means for their own pattern of work, which days will they come in the office (if any), how much flexibility that do they really have?

Sometimes this is at a strategic level, with senior leaders taking the opportunity to think through what kind of culture and business they want for a hybrid world. It is still a fierce debate in some organisations how much they want their people back in the office.

In markets that are closer to people returning to the office for at least part of the time, individual leaders are most concerned with how they’re going to structure a conversation with their people to work out the optimal hybrid working pattern taking into account the business needs, individual preferences and consideration of each others choices. They are looking for models and facilitative frameworks for structuring that conversation.

We all already seeing in Asia the emergence of retrospectives to evaluate the first few months of hybrid working and continue to evolve our way of working

Resetting our meetings culture for hybrid

If we are honest, many meetings were poor before the pandemic. During the lockdowns we’ve all become more experienced in using virtual meetings tools, but our diaries have become crammed with back to back meetings.

Moving into a hybrid era, meetings where everyone you need is available in the room at the same time will become scarce. Those of us who have experienced meetings where most people are in the room and others are joining remotely know that these are often unsatisfactory.

We pay a lot of attention to meetings because meetings are where collective collaboration happens. If we get our meetings right, we massively improve our collaboration culture.

Some of our clients are taking the opportunity to radically reset their meetings culture at the same time as upskilling their people to run truly hybrid meetings. We expect this to be a major feature as people start to return to work.

Learning to lead and work in a hybrid world

This is just starting to be on the agenda for our clients and will not get much traction until people are actually working a hybrid pattern, it’s early days for many organisations.

However, there are concerns already about topics like managing flexibility, overcoming proximity bias and how we really create informal communication, culture building and serendipity on those occasions when we do get together.

Remote management continues to be on the agenda and will be part of the toolkit for any managers who is managing individuals and teams who are working a significant amount of their time out of the office.

A bigger challenge that most organisations are not yet dealing with is that to some extent all soft skills in the future will need to be exercised in an environment when some people are present and others are remote. This is going to change the way we run meetings, manage performance, present information, communicate, build teams etc. etc. It’s obviously not 100% different but we will need to adapt all of our behavioural skills programs to reflect this reality.

It is interesting times for us as something we’ve described as a niche for 27 years suddenly becomes the norm. If you need some support in implementing¬†hybrid working please get in touch.

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