Virtual Teams

Planning your hybrid team kick-off?

As vaccination starts to pick up in many countries, many of our clients’ thoughts are turning towards implementing hybrid teams. It’s been a topic of interest for a while, but it’s been fairly academic when many people didn’t have the option of going into the office at all.

In the UK we have generally been pretty poor at testing and controlling COVID-19 so far, but we have done surprisingly well on vaccinations. I have already had my first injection and we are expecting things to return closer to normal over the next few months (fingers crossed).

As we get closer to actually delivering a hybrid workplace, now is the time to kick off the thinking around what that means. People are going to need a while to get their heads around the flexibility that this brings.

We all implemented a new way of working from home very quickly last year, now is the time to think about what worked well, what do we want to retain and how are we going to work together in this more mixed way of working.

What’s different about hybrid teams is the pattern of work. We may have people working from the office for part of the time, working from home or working from a 3rd place such as a coffee shop or coworking space. Some people may be 100% virtual, others will come into the office for a number of days per week.

In some organisations time flexibility will also be offered, usually around core hours.

Some organisations are being quite directive about how much flexibility is permitted, and others are leaving a blank slate where employees are encouraged to express their personal preferences and to design a pattern around this.

Whatever the pattern will be for you, now is the time to really think through what this means for your way of working and for your collaboration.

Here are some of the critical questions we are discussing on our webinars with hybrid teams at the moment

  • what have we learned from the last 12 months, what aspects of working remotely are we keen to maintain?
  • what have we disliked, what are we keen to resume from our previous way of working as quickly as we can?
  • what work are we going to do when we are face to face, and what work should we prefer to do when we are at home or in our virtual meetings?
  • how will our plans have an impact on our colleagues and customers and how will we align across the organisation when each team interprets flexibility differently?

How you answer these questions in the next few months will have implications for how you work and collaborate for many years to come.

I’m an optimist around hybrid teams, I think they give us the opportunity to design the best of both way of working to give us the focus of working from home and the intensity of collaboration that getting face to face can bring .

Now is the time to be mindful about what about how we want to work together in the future, rather than just stumbling back into a pattern of work defined for us by someone else. We will only do this by having conversations about what we want.

If you’d like some help facilitating that discussion please get in touch. See more about the skills of working in hybrid teams

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