From medical advancements to the digitisation of the workplace, the world has undergone an unforeseeable transformation.
If you worked during the pandemic, you must have heard the word “hybrid” at least once (but it’s probably been many, many times). The hybrid workspace model offers more safety during these scary times, reduces business costs, and improves the work-life balance of the employees — just to name a few benefits 🙌
However, it would be naïve to say that it’s all smooth sailing. If some members of the team are remote and some are working from the office, it’s often hard to collaborate, navigate projects, and make sure no one is left out of the loop.
In this article, we’ll explore strategies to overcome the communication barriers and make hybrid workflow more fluent.
Before we start, we should first clarify what a hybrid work model is: it’s a location-flexible work model that involves both working remotely and from the office.
It has become more popular recently after the global pandemic has shown us that working remotely is, in fact, possible. Since lockdown measures are slowly being lifted, employees are encouraged to get back to the office. But, the world isn’t ‘Covid-free’ yet, so employers can’t demand a full return to the office— so, that’s where the hybrid work model comes in.
There are different types of hybrid work:
Although the hybrid model has a lot of perks, it comes with some challenges, too, especially because it’s fairly new for everyone. You might not choose the right hybrid model for your business or there might be favouritism towards employees working from the office.
Most workplaces face difficulties with effective and transparent communication.
Here’s how to overcome barriers and make the hybrid model work better for your company.
Since you’re not seeing each other face-to-face every day, it’s important to set clear goals and expectations so you are all on the same page. It’s crucial that everyone knows what they’re working towards and if they’re doing a good job; everybody should know what their role and responsibilities are, when the deadlines are, what the project plan is so they can reference it anytime, and who they should contact if a problem arises.
When everything is clear from the start, it’s less likely that there will be issues and misunderstandings.
It’s best if you set 3 different types of goals: immediate (for the meeting you’re currently attending), short-term (weekly or monthly goals), and long-term (annual or the goals for the next few years).
Communication is the key to good cooperation and collaboration. Each and every employee should have their turn to talk and voice their opinions and concerns, while others listen actively and attentively.
Being a good listener is one of the most valuable and usually underrated skills.
It involves listening carefully and asking questions to make sure you completely understand the other person.
Regularly update each other on what you’re working on and what your plans for the day or week are. Brainstorming together is a great option, too.
Communication should be clear, concise, polite, and respectful, even when a disagreement occurs.
Another important thing is to make an extra effort to not leave remote workers out of the loop. Make sure everyone is involved, up-to-date with the newest information, and welcome to share their input.
Good communication goes hand in hand with constructive criticism. To make sure everything is going smoothly, all members of the team should be frequently provided with honest and helpful feedback, as well as the proper guidance if needed. It will promote growth and catch potential mistakes as soon as possible.
In a hybrid world, finding the right tool for team communication is as important as what needs to be communicated. Other than well-known tools such as e-mail and instant messaging services, you should have a team chat app, too.
Online communication tools keep the team connected, facilitate brainstorming and discussions, and make sharing information quick and effortless.
To ensure a fluent workflow, the software you choose should have features like text chats, chat rooms, topic-related public and private channels, audio and video calls, image attachments, and document sharing.
Pumble is a team communication app that has all of those features, packed in a user-friendly interface. Pumble is a Slack alternative that allows unlimited users and chat history, as well as 10 GB of free file storage. Also, it’s completely free — forever.
Team communication apps can significantly improve your work life. They are great for getting instant feedback and answers to your questions, organising data by topics, and sharing files and documents easily.
As much as it can be tempting and feel like the most natural thing to do when working remotely, don’t micromanage or spy on your team.
Micromanagement causes distress among employees and promotes distrust, which hinders open communication and lowers the overall performance of your team.
It creates dependent employees who don’t have the opportunity to improve, as well as managers that are overworked, yet ineffective in completing their main tasks.
Moreover, it can easily lead to burnout on both parties.
Good communication is a fundamental part of a good workflow wherever you work, but especially when it comes to a hybrid work model. It comes with setting clear goals and expectations from the start, communicating frequently and openly, using the right communication tools, providing constructive feedback, and resisting the urge to micromanage.
Marija Kojic is a time management researcher and writer. She is always exploring new methods of how time management can help you organize your workflow more effectively, as well as how you can increase your productivity.
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