Practical tips to ensure success as hybrid teams

Posted: 20th May 2021 Dylan Chipp, Director

Almost all 50 of the UK’s biggest employers questioned by the BBC have said they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time. Some 43 of the firms said they would embrace hybrid teams: a mix of home and office working, with staff encouraged to work from home two to three days a week.

One thing we can be sure of, is that we need to get hybrid working right. And by doing so we have much to gain.

“At Halton Housing we’ve been working flexibly for several years. The benefits to us working in this way are enormous. Our short-term sick absence is low, staff satisfaction is high, we save money on expensive office space and we are improving the environment because of fewer commutes and no paper. Almost all new starters comment that one of the things that attracted them to Halton is the flexibility.” Neil McGrath, CFO, Halton Housing.

This will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and within organisations a successful hybrid working arrangement for your repairs team will look very different from what your finance team requires. Engagement with colleagues will be vital to implementing strategies that work across your organisation. And balancing the anxiety and apprehension of returning to the office, with the psychological health of human interaction and efficiencies of working closely with team members will be important.

Once you have set out some key guidelines which align with your corporate strategy and operational model, and all managers have been trained, you’ll want to produce a day-to-day guide for your staff to follow and include the five steps below.

1. Update your days and locations in your diary.

It is important that your preferred work location and home address are correct in your diary. If you are changing between full-time and part-time, changing the days you work, it is also essential you update your work schedule in your diary.

2. Talk with your team.

Everyone has different flexibility preferences; a team charter is a great way to agree how you support one another and collaborate to achieve objectives. So you may decide to have meeting-free times or record all meetings for people to watch when it suits them. Some teams may need to align on the times people work to ensure coverage and agree on requirements for being contactable outside of working hours. Do not forget to decide how you spend social time as a team – maybe face to face or virtual quiz nights, lunchroom/coffee hours.

3. Prioritise your health & wellbeing.

Self-care through nutrition, exercise, and sleep are important to help you be at your best. Create healthy boundaries between work and personal life, being deliberate about what time and energy you give to both. Take lunch away from your workspace, do a walking meeting, or have a virtual/in person coffee break with colleagues. Try changing your notifications outside of your working hours or pack away your work things to signal work is over. And don’t forget to have some fun – positive energy is contagious!

4. Work safely and effectively.

Ensure you have the right tools and information for a safe, secure, and healthy workspace. Order your work from home essentials. If you want to work on the go or struggle with connectivity order a data SIM for your laptop. Always ensure the confidentiality and security of business information, customer data, systems, and equipment.

5. Regularly review with your manager.

Over time your flexibility needs are likely to change, for example studying a course one month or temporarily taking a family member to the doctors. Consider how it is working for you and frequently discuss with your manager – as a minimum ensure you talk about flexibility in your 121s.

Bonus points.

Use your comms team to work with you to produce a creative internal campaign to launch, promote, provide updates and success stories of your Hybrid-working approach. Oh, and let customers & suppliers know too! Leave no one behind.

Written by Dylan Chipp, Director, Altair

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