An industry-wide study of virtual team trends shows that 41 percent of U.S. employees work remotely full-time. Today, more and more team members spend part of their worktime onsite and part of it remotely.
Many teams themselves are composed of a mixture of remote workers and onsite employees. In fact, hybrid teams are quickly becoming the norm in the modern workplace.
Why Hybrid Teams?
What is driving the rise of hybrid teams? Here are the most common factors:
- Organizations expanding their geographic footprints
- Access to talent in multiple locations balanced with the need for staff to be physically close to customers
- Employee recruitment and retention and increased usage of contract workers
- Increased flexibility and efficiency
- Workforce members who are demanding flexible work arrangements and work-life balance
The Challenges and Opportunities of Hybrid Teams
With the expansion of hybrid teams comes a series of challenges and opportunities for organizations that are growing their virtual workforce. These include:
Here’s a Tip:
Here are some tips to help you address some of the challenges faced by hybrid teams and build on their opportunities to contribute to your organization.
- Onboard all team members at the beginning of a new project. If possible, have all members onsite. This is your best opportunity to provide clarity of your team’s mission, vision, and goals. If all members cannot be at the same location, conduct the onboarding virtually—for everyone. This creates an equal experience for both onsite and remote members. Use this time to create a Team Operating Agreement (TOA) where members can share their preferences for communications, values, how to develop trust, and individual strengths and needs for assistance.
- Carefully plan and facilitate team meetings so that both virtual and onsite members have equal opportunities for contributing to discussions, brainstorming and decision making. At the end of each meeting, poll members to have them rate the meeting’s effectiveness and suggest future changes.
- Ask team members individually how they prefer to be recognized and rewarded for their achievements and contributions to the team. Honor their preferences which are different based on cultural and personal preferences.
- Alternate the timing of team meetings if team members are in time zones three or more hours apart so that everyone experiences meeting outside of “regular” work hours occasionally.
Next month, we will look at some of the best practices for leading and managing hybrid teams.
Partners in Development are experts in navigating the virtual teams work environment. If you’d like to obtain more actionable items and resources to implement with yourteam, visit http://virtualteamresources.com/