Collaboration in a Hybrid Environment

Many people worldwide are opting to spend more time working at home. COVID 19 inadvertently highlighted the benefits of remote work. Saving money on fuel and office rent and flexible working hours makes a hybrid setting attractive today. But, of course, these are more reasons.

There are downsides, however. Among these is the possible loss of collaboration among employees.

But, there are ways to maintain cooperation:

  • Discuss with employees how to maintain collaboration in a hybrid setting.

Keeping communication lines open is one of the keys to effective collaboration. So, it’s an excellent idea to find out the individual circumstances of people who will work remotely.

For instance, employees with families may have to attend to responsibilities before beginning work. However, with more flexible time, they can be more accommodating to their counterparts who are at the office.

So, discuss when everyone should be available online. The last thing you want is to have colleagues listening in on a meeting that has no relevance to them.

  • Set time for remote social interaction.

Remember when employees hung out for a few minutes around the water cooler or at the lounge? This allowed interaction between people who didn’t have to talk shop during their breaks. This built friendships and improved relationships.

How about encouraging the same aside from regular online meetings? Talk about the latest news, sports, trends, etc.

Studies show that employees collaborate better with people they’re friends or comfortable with.

  • Be open-minded.

Traditionalists believe that eyes should be kept on employees constantly. For them, collaboration wouldn’t exist in a hybrid setting. Give it some time to work. Commit to it fully and explore ways to make it successful.

It will take time for people to adapt to a hybrid setting. Let remote employees do their tasks without direct supervision. See what happens? When alone, it doesn’t mean they’re not collaborating.

Remember that collaboration doesn’t mean that everyone should be in a synchronous state. Also, desired results can be achieved without real-time attendance online. For instance, finished tasks or communication could be sent by e-mail or other means.

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