More and more offices are returning to in-person work, but a lot of employees see working from home as a permanent part of their future. While this fractured approach may seem like a losing battle, there are plenty of new resources that can help make the hybrid team viable. These three tips prioritize communication, praise, and perspective—behaviors that will prove essential as we lean into this “new normal.” 

What’s inside this article:

Work From Home Becomes a New Normal

As the risk of COVID-19 slowly lowers, work environments are trying to establish what’s normal for an office in 2021. While “normal” is a tenuous term, many teams are beginning the transition back to in-person work. But, where the option is available, more than half of workers are interested in working from home (WFH) even once risk is mitigated. The future of the office is a split one; employees who were WFH due to an emergency now see remote work as a potential permanent improvement to their work conditions.

Lessons Learned from a Distance

Fortunately, in the last year many people investigated the results of WFH. Most studies examined productivity—what makes remote work “work”—and supervision—what makes teams feel heard but not too seen.

Productivity is a pretty straight-forward goal; how well is the work getting done? Many teams have their own strategies for measuring this. One option is to use a platform that easily shows what work each team member has accomplished, like Innotescus. The platform lets users maintain visibility into annotator productivity and quality with comprehensive project analytics that allow you to isolate and target bottlenecks in your operations.

A more nuanced issue with remote work is supervision vs. privacy. How do you manage checking your team’s progress while still giving them a sense of independence? Studies have shown that it’s a balancing act; we work harder when we know others are doing the same, but we won’t try to outdo our peers if they aren’t meeting expectations.

Three Tips for Supervising a Hybrid Team

These three tips prioritize communication, praise, and perspective—workplace behaviors that are easily forgotten when teams are working from different locations. Consider adopting these strategies to help your team prioritize people, not just their work.

  1. Keep conversations between key players—We’ve all heard the phrase, “this meeting could’ve been an email…” The challenge is, some of the folks there needed to meet about it! When working from different locations, it’s easy to assume that more frequent, inclusive meetings will ensure productivity. However, the near opposite is true.

Think of the group message you muted because the conversation didn’t apply to you. Or the massive email chain you mark as read several times a day. The less focused our communication is, the less focused we are as communicators. Omnichannel communication, despite our best intentions, creates less meaningful interactions. In short, knowing everyone’s business is usually bad business.
Most of the time, the right tool solves the problem for you. See how Innotescus’ bi-directional communication channels make multi-level teamwork easier than ever.

  1. Don’t let remote workers go unnoticed—Whether for family, finances, or other personal needs, a lot of workers want to remain remote. However, out-of-office team members are half as likely as their in-office peers to be promoted. This still-developing statistic is just a symptom. While the equalizing force of the video call screen made it easier to include workers and break down the usual silos, this accessibility tool is starting to isolate workers who only show up virtually. Here are some tips for keeping your remote team engaged:
  • Keep “all-hands” meetings online—Make sure that when your team gathers, everyone can attend. This might make the company lunch a little more challenging to plan, but your employees are worth it.
  • Make the virtual office as social as the real one—Make the “virtual watercooler” as enriching as the real one. Also consider building quick, personal updates into your regular meetings.
  • Give your in-person teammates the same grace as their WFH counterparts—it doesn’t need to be a global pandemic for a worker to be away from the office. Use your infrastructure to connect across town, not just across the country.

Remember the benefits of WFH—While the initial shift to WFH was haphazardous for many, some hidden gems have been revealed by the online workplace. A recent study shows that WFH employees are slightly more productive, resilient, and satisfied with their job. This perspective quickly addresses any frustrations felt from not having everyone in the office. In the moment, it may be a little irritating that you have to email a coworker instead of walking over to their desk and checking in. But giving employees the flexibility they need helps motivate them to do their best.

The Hybrid Future of Work

A hybrid office not only requires decisive leadership, it suffers when leaders don’t make decisions on how to keep their employees on the same page. It’s one of the reasons that “bad bosses” became one of the greatest WFH struggles. There are many strategies to make the “new normal” a productive one; the three tips above are an excellent way to start.

Interested in a platform driven by productivity and transparency? Learn how Innotescus facilitates collaboration among teams distributed across the globe. Access your free trial today!