How can leaders bring teams together in a hybrid work environment?

If you are reading this as a team leader or a HR manager, it is a real struggle ordinarily to bring your team together but adding in the new hybrid working becomes a lot more difficult. You and your organisation may be struggling with collaboration across the hybrid workspace or you may be to do this better and create more cohesive teams across the remote and office workspaces, then this blog will help. This blog will outline what those needs are and how leaders bring these groups together to ensure collaboration and effectiveness at work.

Before I begin what do I mean by hybrid working?

Hybrid working is the ability of both individuals and organisations to be more flexible in where they work has been one of the major benefits of the last few years brought about by the pandemic.

Office resilience

Hybrid working is recognised as a mixture of office-based interactions and virtual working and let’s be honest it is here for the long term.

The question I am looking to answer in this blog is how can leaders bring different teams together whilst working both remotely and in the office.

This blog will look into how different sectors of the workforce have varying and very different requirements in a hybrid working environment. Whilst working with organisations these different perspectives and requirements have become obvious, so this post outlines some of the learnings that I have understood over the last few months.

How hybrid working is affecting employees morale

The adaptability of organisations to better meet the needs of their employees has been a great innovation from the last two years but it has also brought issues namely how to keep teams working together effectively.

Efficiency has been the biggest issue in terms of the technical aspect of hybrid working but the bigger effect is on employees morale.

This question particularly interested me because I’m seeing a lot of organisations worrying about hybrid working and the negative impacts on employees mental health and the need for more resilience within teams.

Reading on we will run through the various reasons different teams are struggling with hybrid working and explore what can be done to bring these different sectors together.

Hybrid working brings flexibility as well as stress!

Hybrid working brings flexibility to the workforce.

Whilst initially, hybrid working was considered to be a short term solution to the pandemic, it is now widely accepted and agreed that this flexible working model will be a permanent working practice. In addition, hybrid flexible working is now an important consideration for many employees, who are looking at organisations to keep this suppleness.

Hybrid working means flexibility to many employees. Offering employees the choice to either work from home, in a remote space or in the office. The ability to work in an environment that – to a degree – suits them.

However, there are issues with varying levels of hybrid working for different sectors of the workforce.

For example whilst some employees will enjoy the benefits of the office environment looking for more interactive and collaboration experiences, others feel that the office is a distraction.

How does hybrid working affect junior staff?

Hybrid working for junior staff means more time in the office and less time at home or off-site.

  • In the legal and financial services professions ‘learning on the job’ or learning via osmosis is an important part of the education for the junior team member. Traditionally this was done on-site, in an office, where the junior members could watch and learn. The office environment, is an important place to learn.
  • These team members also benefit from the camaraderie of the office. Enjoying the social and collaborative nature of the office environment and are not suited to remaining at home. By staying away from the office they are missing out on the social interactions that come with the job.
  • More importantly these staff members are missing out on an important part of the work experience which is colleague interaction which provides both stimulation and to a degree recognition of the work they have done and professional career progression.
  • This is particularly an issue when considering ‘inclusion’ in the workforce. Knowing who has contributed to pieces of work, and acknowledging who has had significant input and requires recognition isn’t as easy in a virtual environment. Therefore ensuring that members of staff are not ignored, sidelined or underrepresented needs to be a compment of a hybrid working model.

How does hybrid working affect more senior employees?

Other senior team members with more conflicting home roles such as looking after ageing parents, children at home, and concerns over their own health and that of their families, are less interested in returning to the office.

Bringing these more senior leaders into the office is an important consideration that needs to be reflected in the hybrid plan.

  • With seniority comes experience, a technical experience that means that these more established team members no longer require guidance or support from office collaborations. They prefer the quiet time that off site can bring.
  • The social interaction at work is less important to this group. This group has an established and extended family and support network. Therefore they are less interested in the social network that others get from work.
  • However, keeping this level of experience distanced from the office and therefore not collaborating with the rest of the team doesn’t benefit the long term strategic goals of the organisation. If these senior team members are not present then the organisation is unable to utilise these senior members technical experience. The organisation will become less productive and less resilient to change.
  • Bringing these experienced team leaders, together with more junior members of the organisation together means a more collaborative forum, which is essential if hybrid working is to be successful.

How can leaders bring teams together?

Flexibility and autonomy are at the heart of the hybrid working environment.

The question is how does personal autonomy affect the organisation? How will this personalised hybrid approach be managed by team leaders and HR in both leadership management styles and practical ways in terms of scheduling the team?

How can leaders manage their teams in a hybrid working environment?

The traditional workplace has been shaken up as have traditional leadership styles. It is not viable to direct each member of a team in a ‘command and control’ management style. When working remotely a command and control approach reduces productivity. Organisations suffer if every manager tries to direct every interaction and way of working for every member or their team.

A more autonomous leadership style that is authentic and open will create the best working culture in a hybrid environment.

Leaders no longer need to direct, but to ask open questions using coaching models and techniques.

A coaching management style will benefit the leader by removing work from their desk so that they are free to concentrate on the strategic direction of the team and the organisation.

This coaching approach to management also improves ownership and involvement for the team member, who will feel engaged with the process and committed to finding a workable solution. Empowerment, ownership and high levels of engagement are advantages of a coaching management style.

if you would like to read more about A Coaching Management Style this blog article will be interesting read more here Why a coaching management style is best for hybrid working

How do leaders create collaborative teams?

Managers are aware that it takes more effort to connect with team members in this way but over the longer time period, it will reduce presenteeism and increase team productivity.

What is a coaching management style?

A coaching management style is an integral part of the Hybrid working model. Autonomy is a crucial aspect of remote working, therefore enabling managers to ‘coach’ instead of ‘command’ will mean the organisation functions better

Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, a coach, supports a client or team member in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. Coaching is an important part of a wellbeing strategy so that managers can ask questions and support their team members. The organisations will in turn reduce staff turnover and increase productivity.

Leaders and organisations looking to navigate this change and manage their teams in a way that gets the best performance will require planning and collaboration.

Leadership techniques along with a resilient workforce that can adapt to these hybrid changes are part of hybrid planning that I’ve been working with organisations to put together.

What is a hybrid plan?

Autonomy over their location of work and time that they work will bring the best long term results for the organisation if these arrangements can be planned for and articulated in the ‘hybrid plan’

3 core elements of Hybrid Plan: Technology, Coaching skills & Resilient Wellbeing Programme

Read more about the 6 leadership skills that are essential for hybrid working

A hybrid plan is an essential strategy that ensures the easy transition for both organisations and their people. A plan will mean that both senior and junior team members will work in the best way that suits them to remain focused, productive and are able to best manage their time.

A personalised approach that works for the employee will benefit the organisation in the longer term means personalising a hybrid plan.

Creating a Wellbeing Strategy that will support and retain staff is essential – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide

There are essential elements required in a resilient hybrid plan which I have summarised a few points below that have arisen in resilience training and coaching sessions that I thought would be useful to share here:

Communication

  • Communicating the hybrid expectations and delivery to all members of the workforce is vital so taht all mmeber of the workforce are clear on their own resposinbilies and how far their autonomy is acceptable. For example the working hours of 9-5pm was the traditional norm, however avoiding traffic congestion and increased remote working means that these hours will be adapted.

Leadership Coaching Style

  • The change in leadership style is required to ensure both team collaboration and check in with teams mental wellbeing. Changing leadership styles are having to adapt to this long chain of connection and this adaptation takes time.

The organisation of hybrid meetings

  • Most organisations are aware that all meetings will include remote participants therefore preparing for the technology in the meetings rooms is important.
  • Hybrid meetings will need a stronger emphasis on inclusivity.
  • A team connection that includes a collaborative check in, to encourage a wellbeing resiliency is essential so that the burden of responsibliity doesn’t rest simply with one department or manager.
  • Leadership skills and tools that can assess team members wellbeing needs.

Annualised wellbeing resilience programme that dovetails into hybrid working

  • There is an increasing need to consider the longer-term issues around wellbeing. Workloads have changed and increased with increased working hours and fewer leisure hours.
  • Making an annualised wellbeing programme and support that originates within the organisation itself and is part of the H&S remit is a proactive approach. Reducing stigma around mental ill-health is a reactive approach that requires more effort from the manager, whereas a resilient wellbeing programme shifts the load throughout the organisation and works to reduce the burden in a proactive way.
  • A wellbeing strategy that is proactive creates a sustainable approach and creates a culture of autonomy and respect that is required in the hybrid model.

Wellbeing strategy that simply reduces stigma around wellbeing is a reactive approach.

Organisational responsbility

  • Shouldering the wellbeing responsibility throughout the organisation by using coaching enquiry techniques and courageous conversations which are incorporated into the annualised wellbeing programme.
  • Coaching sytle managment through every part of the business from onbaording, team meetings, wellbeing check ins as well as top down from the leaders of the organsation.


How can your organisation create a Resilient Hybrid Plan?

If your organisation is looking to put together a hybrid working plan that dovetails the management skills required to create the workable autonomy and a wellbeing plan that brings everything together then connect with me.

An integral part of a hybrid plan is a wellbeing strategy that includes a coaching culture that works on every level of the business Book a

Workplace Coaching to create resilient managers

Team Coaching Training

Team coaching training is about developing the skills of teams and individuals to improve the teams’ future performance.  Bringing the team together so that all team members are recognised for the value that they bring to the success of both the team and the organisation. Recognition works well and is individually based.

Team coaching training helps to explore what each team needs to make their teamwork effectively.

For example, an accredited coach will stimulate feelings of empowerment within the team so that they are able to find solutions to difficult work problems, customer service interactions, delivery issues, or technical problems. The team will have the resources and be equipped with tools to find positive solutions to these difficult problems.

If your organisation would appreciate some assistance in putting together a wellbeing resilience strategy for the hybrid working model reach out via LinkedIn or drop me an email

Incorporating a coaching style management for leaders is fast becoming an essential prerequisite for hybrid teams.

If you would like resilient coaching for either workplace teams or leaders book some time in my diary to find the best solution for you and your business.

Next steps

To support organisations with performance issues and boost productivity during hybrid working contact Adele for coaching sessions for team leaders and employees. Coaching that use a structured approach towards clear objectives, personal growth and moving forward.

Adele’s coaching sessions were very valuable and well-timed during COVID lockdown, working from home.”

Lee Jennings Pension Planning at Openworks

If your organisation is looking to incorporate a coaching programme or would like to investigate the opportunities that coaching can offer  please email me to discuss your organisational requirements or book an appointment straight in my diary

Adele Stickland

Adele Stickland

With over 20 years of experience in the wellbeing industry, Adele has a unique insight into stress awareness and resilience within organisations. With a powerful combination of personal experience and industry background Adele is ideally placed to understand the needs of organisations looking to improve corporate Resilience Programmes and specifically tailor them to their requirements. As a former leader in the marketing world, Adele was employed in a variety of corporate roles spanning advertising, retail, and marketing together with over 20 years of running her own wellness business. After becoming a victim of ambition-burnout herself, through personal development, training and learning. Adele recognises that resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed using a crafted framework bespoke to each organisation.

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