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Connecting on a Hybrid Team

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Everyone’s talking about hybrid teams these days. It’s one of the key questions people ask when
applying for work, and is becoming a key recruitment and retention factor. While hybrid environments
don’t work in every industry (restaurants, retail, tourism/hospitality – to name a few), those employers
who are embracing hybrid work are struggling to keep their teams synced and aligned. Avoiding the “us
and them” dynamic can be challenging. It takes extra planning and effort, but it can be done.

Successfully managing a hybrid team is about more than just getting everyone on a Zoom meeting once
a month, it’s about engaging everyone, no matter how or where they are working.


  • Different strokes for different folks
    Reaching workers that come into the office every day looks different than reaching workers that
    come in less often, or never. Be strategic about how team members like to receive information
    (email, text, intranet, etc.). Use collaboration tools like, MS Teams or Slack to
    streamline and create efficient and effective communication.
  • Ask “Who Needs to Know (WNTK)”
    Remote employees don’t get the benefit of the spontaneous conversations that happen in the office and are often forgotten when it comes to action items that could affect them. If decisions are being made, ask “Who else needs to know this?” If remote workers are in the loop about things that affect them, they’ll be more engaged.


  • Inclusive, facilitated meetings
    Hybrid meetings can be challenging for remote workers. They don’t always hear everything that is
    said, can find it difficult to naturally jump in with comments and often end up becoming bystanders
    rather than participants. Consider assigning a virtual facilitator to online or blended-format
    meetings whose role is to ensure that everyone is being considered and given opportunities to
  • Rethinking collaboration
    With a hybrid workforce, the office may need to be more intentional about collaboration. For example, companies might ask employees to come into the office for monthly all-staff meetings, quarterly planning sessions or training. Every opportunity remote workers have to join the team is valuable in connecting and building relationships they might miss working on their own.


  • Simulate water cooler talks
    Relationships are built around the water cooler (lunch room, coffee station, staff lounge, etc.).
    Creating a virtual “watercooler” platform at meetings can make space for your team members to
    engage around things that have nothing to do with work, sharing life updates, chatting about movies or TV shows, interesting news they found, and anything in-between.
  • Use video chats whenever possible
    With over half of human communication being nonverbal, the strategy to keep remote employees
    engaged becomes very important. Instead of a lengthy email or text message, encourage team
    members to initiate a quick video chat to humanize their working relationship.
  • Bring on the fun
    A lack of visibility means remote workers can have weaker relationships with their colleagues than
    in-office employees. Engage them by organizing activities that bring everyone together. Even
    better, create a social committee and get your team involved in planning fun events everyone will
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Many businesses that have successfully managed this new work dynamic have dedicated a specific
person to add team connection to their role. It can be just a few hours a week, but if there’s someone to
track initiatives, follow up, ensure communication is consistent, evaluate effectiveness and be involved
in the planning for successful meetings, it can make the difference between a highly functioning, unified
team and one that slips into silos after every meeting. To adapt to the new world of work, employers
must be able to create experiences that meet the needs of each employee. Creativity and flexibility are
all that’s required to motivate and inspire employees to engage with and support one another as a
team, in your workplace.

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