Agile & Digital / Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

Is every team now a hybrid team?

We are doing a lot of work these days with our clients preparing for hybrid team working. In some countries we are getting closer to people returning to the office part time, others are already back and operating a hybrid system, and still others are still experiencing lockdowns and further periods of remote-only working.

Hopefully, we are all moving closer to a situation where we will have the opportunity to meet face to face and to return part time to the office.

All our clients are exploring more flexible forms of working with most of them expecting that managerial and traditionally office-based people will come into the office one or two days per week (depending on role). Most are also discussing more flexible hours of work around a common core. Some are even offering complete flexibility and asking teams to propose their own patterns of work.

In this situation it seems likely that almost any team containing managers, professional people or traditional office staff will in the future be hybrid.

It is a strange situation for us, we have often described what we do in hybrid, remote and virtual teams training as a niche, it has now become the norm.

Having worked with hybrid teams for over 25 years we are clear on the consequences of this. Obviously, we are focused on training and skills development and hybrid becoming the norm has big implications for our leadership and soft skills curriculums.

In a world where hybrid working is the norm then every soft skills needs to be exercised in a hybrid context – and our training needs to reflect this.

Take a very simple example – presentation skills – a programme that nearly everyone goes through quite early in their career. In the future most presentations will be carried out remotely or to audiences where some members are in the same place and others are joining remotely.

Anyone who has joined a meeting remotely where a number of other people are in the same location will know how unsatisfactory that situation can be, and how hard it can be to participate and feel engaged. This will now be the norm for some of the audience in almost every presentation.

So our presentation skills training now needs to reflect this reality and include content on how to engage mixed location audiences and to present through technology.

We are hearing from our clients that travel budgets will be significantly reduced in the future as people have become more used to online collaboration – expectations are around a 30 to 50% reduction next year.

People have become much more used to virtual learning; we have seen a huge spike in the interest in live webinar delivery.  Companies have made significant savings in terms of travel, time out of the office and facilities and many will be reluctant to go back to face-to-face training. A bitesize learning approach has also become popular rather than taking people out of the office for extended periods.

As we return to a more normal situation and a new hybrid reality, we expect much lower levels of face-to-face training (which is a shame for us because we love to travel and get face to face with people) so we need to think about a hybrid model for the delivery of learning – when does it make sense to get face-to-face and how do we use blended learning to deliver a “best of both” learning experience.

Presentation skills is just one small example. Look at your leadership, management and soft skills curriculum. Do your programs reflect the hybrid reality that these skills will be exercised in?

It is not just about adding a remote teams offering to your schedule and ticking a box. This is a major change to the context in which we exercise all our people skills.

What are you going to do to update the skills of your people to thrive in this new environment?

Luckily for us this is something we have been working on for over 25 years so we have a broad selection of programs adapted to this reality. You can find out more about the content of these in our remote and virtual learning path

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