Like many businesses operating in the post-COVID world, TMS Consulting has been exploring how hybrid work can be successful for both employers and employees and supporting our clients to make hybrid working practices effective.
The thinking around ways of working has evolved, from being centered on where teams are physically working to now bring driven by outputs and outcomes. This is resulting in a re-thinking in ways of working to allow employees to function and flex depending on what the situation requires, including being in a traditional office setting, working from home, or a combination of both.
At the crux of all these important decisions are leaders, whether that be at an executive or team-based level, who need to ensure they’re maintaining engagement with their reporting lines. Below are three considerations leaders should make when engaging with their teams in the hybrid workplace and what they can do to make them work effectively.
- Visibility and Accessibility
When working in a physical office setting, visibility is considered key to leadership and is as simple as doing a walk around and engaging in more informal ‘watercooler’ discussions to build relationships. In a hybrid setting, this becomes more difficult and requires more conscious effort from leaders to continue being visible and accessible. This may require blocking out ‘drop in’ hours in your calendar where staff can book in a quick chat on any topic, or having a daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly check in meeting between leaders and teams to give an opportunity for organic discussions outside of purpose-based meetings. These small efforts can build a sense of presence from leaders in the absence of leading in person and simultaneously builds relationships and culture within teams.
Speaking of culture, this can be a tricky one to build with hybrid teams. Culture goes hand in hand with collaboration, and much like being visible and accessible, it takes a more conscious effort than in a traditional physical office. This conscious effort manifests in building connection whether that be through an organisation’s values, feeling valued within the team, demonstrating vulnerability within team members and being clear with communication. This comes down to focusing on individuals and building trust at the individual level, then working up to a collective feeling of connection.
Accountability has been a sticking point for a lot of hybrid working discussions, namely the notion of ‘If I can’t see them working, how do I know they’re doing their work’. Ultimately it comes down to the level of trust between leaders and their teams, and as mentioned above, shifting to thinking about outcomes and outputs. TMS draws on Patrick Lencioni’s ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ regularly when discussing accountability with our clients. This is even more relevant in hybrid ways of working, as the ability to have healthy conflict and high commitment across a team will lead to positive results at the individual, team, and organisation level.
Ways of working in all organisations are inevitably going to continue to evolve, and the organisations that are having regular discussions and trialing changes within their teams are the ones that are going to come out on top in their organisational culture, performance, and overall success.
If you are looking to build leadership capability or develop a high performing team in your organisation, get in contact with TMS Consulting at email@example.com