Over the next several months, many companies will ease employees into hybrid work, with staff spending part of their workweek at home and the other in the workplace. This transition meets employee expectations to return to the workplace at least part-time. However, organizations should manage the switch to hybrid work to balance the benefits of in-person and remote work.
In the Georgia Commute Options Remote Work Survey, employees consistently reported that they could get more work done while at home, with nearly half of respondents naming both better productivity and better concentration among the top benefits of remote work. But keeping team dynamics positive and effective has been a rising concern for surveyed managers who indicated they were worried about declining staff morale.
How can managers harness both high productivity and strong team dynamics during the transition to hybrid work? Here are three suggestions for managers to improve the potential success of hybrid work environments.
1. Communicate Deliberately
In-person communication and remote communication look very different. In a hybrid work environment, teams need to master both. Managers and their employees should work together to determine communication processes. And importantly for team dynamics, managers will need to take steps to make sure they connect with remote employees as often as they do in-person ones.
Start by ensuring that communication tools, like messaging apps or a video chat client, remain in place. Managers may also need to change the frequency or the topics of team meetings, turning them from occasional check-ins to regular meetings for communicating project updates. It may also mean a heavier reliance on productivity tools like project management software to keep everyone on the same page.
2. Create Opportunities for Socializing
Bonding with team members is essential—not just for morale but also for building productive team dynamics. Research from Gallup shows that there is a direct link between workplace friendships and employee engagement.
In a hybrid environment, encouraging friendships means actively creating space for socialization to let your employees meaningfully connect. Consider approaches like hosting casual video chats, pairing team members up for virtual “water cooler chats” or hosting occasional virtual events like trivia.
3. Use Flexibility to Create a Culture of Trust
The transition to hybrid presents an opportunity to define company culture. Build trust with your employees by being flexible and open-minded about both where and when employees work. Identify which tasks need to happen in the office and consider which roles or teams will benefit most from working together in person. This information can help you develop the approach to hybrid work that makes the most sense for your organization.
In addition to where people work, be open to changes in when people work. Some employees may find it more productive to work outside of the traditional 9-5 schedule. Remote employees may want to work when their kids are in school, for example, while people in the office may be more productive if they adjust their commutes to avoid rush hour. Read up on flexible scheduling strategies well-suited for hybrid work.
Leading companies and organizations are rethinking where, when and how we work for a better, more resilient future. Learn how Georgia Commute Options can prepare you for what comes next. Get started with return-to-office planning support: email@example.com