No matter the industry your business operates in, the odds of at least some of your employees working a hybrid schedule are high. In fact, a new report from Omdia found that 48 percent of the workforce will work in a hybrid or remote fashion over the next two years, demonstrating the substantial changes taking place across the country. A hybrid workplace offers considerable advantages, including flexibility, decreased operational costs, and increased productivity. However, now that it’s getting adopted on a broad scale, there are new hurdles business leaders must overcome for team connection, such as coordinating schedules, enabling collaboration, and fostering creativity.
Connection between hybrid teams is important because it cultivates genuine relationships at work, increases performance, innovation, and advancement. Achieving effective team connection simply by purchasing laptops and scheduling virtual meetings is impossible; it’s time to rethink your strategy if this has been your organization’s approach. Leaders must empower and motivate their employees to collaborate and connect virtually. According to Gartner, 76 percent of HR leaders are more concerned about team connections than before the pandemic. This blog will discuss the importance of team connection in the hybrid workplace and how utilizing the right business tools can help your company succeed in the future of work.
Hybrid Workforce Collaboration: What Is It?
Hybrid collaboration involves in-person and remote employees connecting, brainstorming, and working together on projects. It gives employees the flexibility to work the way that better supports their schedule. Hybrid collaboration isn’t so different from traditional collaboration – the objectives are the same. A hybrid approach offers additional benefits, such as improved employee experience, employee retention, flexibility, improved work-life balance, and more efficient use of time, to name a few. However, there are some challenges as well, such as feeling less connected to the organization’s culture, disrupted work processes, and impaired collaboration and connection.
Business leaders were once skeptical about hybrid and remote work because of the challenges listed above, but most have changed their tune once they realized it could be advantageous by reducing operating costs and increasing productivity. Although they want to utilize these benefits, they also see the value of having their team on-site. Since nothing beats in-person collaboration, the solution is hybrid work, where employees work a few days from home and the rest in the office.
Hybrid collaboration removes various barriers when implemented correctly, but establishing a policy that fits your organization can be problematic. The objective of hybrid meetings is to provide a consistent experience for everyone in attendance, no matter their location. Successful hybrid meetings provide a unique experience that meets the needs of all employees. There are many benefits for businesses who adopt a hybrid work policy, but it’s incredibly challenging to execute without the right business tools.
Below, we’ll discuss the importance of team connections and how they can help your business flourish.
The Importance of Creating Connections in a Hybrid Work Environment
Employees in a hybrid work environment must prioritize regular interactions with their colleagues, coworkers, and managers. Team connection is vital for performance, innovation, and career growth, which are factors that improve the overall employee experience and push your teams to work toward a common goal.
Connection and collaboration are critical for the smart delegation of tasks for teams. When genuine connections are made with colleagues, employees can effectively combine their knowledge and skills to achieve results. Collaboration entails ongoing transparent and effective communication, as well as a sense of structure your team understands and follows. Team connection lays the foundation for overall success in your company.
A study from Deloitte found that employees with a best friend in the hybrid workplace are more productive, are more likely to recommend their organization, and are more likely to stay there, highlighting the importance of hybrid connection in the workplace. Enabling your employees to cultivate genuine relationships and human connections at work is vital for their growth, but why?
- Human connection elevates performance: Human connection must be a priority in hybrid or remote workplaces. Consistent contact with colleagues, coworkers, and managers is vital for an employee’s performance and to advance in the company. Employees with informal networks often move up higher compared to their counterparts.
- Human connection drives innovation: After the pandemic, employees described having fewer interactions with their colleagues, impacting employee connection and collaboration and making companies more siloed. It had a direct effect on innovation throughout the organization. Connecting with larger groups at work is essential because they can collaborate and learn from one another, sharing their ideas and being more productive. Teams with diverse perspectives promote strategic thought.
- Human connection enables career growth: Peer-to-peer networking enables professional growth. A connected team inspires creativity and helps employees become better professionals, and the result is them growing within the organization. Hybrid and remote employees that increase their efforts to stay actively connected with their peers and managers are more likely to move up in the organization and remain loyal to your company.
With 74 percent of companies in the United States currently using or planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model for their employees and 63 percent of high-growth companies using a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work model, there is no end in sight to the adoption of hybrid and remote work. It’s critical that you adequately prepare your business for this new normal by focusing on team connection. If you don’t, it could impact your business negatively, leading to a lack of motivation among staff, poor performance, innovation, and creativity among teams.
Below, we’ll discuss some key challenges of hybrid work connections.
What are the Most Common Challenges of Hybrid Work Connections?
While the advantages of hybrid work are commonly lauded, we sometimes forget to discuss the challenges an organization and their team members might face when trying to collaborate or stay connected.
Collaborating When Teams are Divided/Feel Disconnected
A survey released by Gartner found that 40 percent of HR professionals have increased their culture budget since the pandemic began, but only 25 percent of their workers felt connected to the organization’s culture. The disconnect is due to the office no longer being the most common, constant cultural experience. Ninety percent of executives in a survey from Remote Work Culture insights found that culture and connection were lacking for their team members when they were away from the office, with more than 70 percent of workers not feeling like they could socialize enough when working away from the office, showing the importance of connecting with team members. Executives also believe this is the number one reason employees will leave their job in search of better opportunities.
Different Employee Experiences
Success in the new digital workplace is when employees have an equal quality of experience, no matter their preference of working, known as “experience parity.” It’s one of the many challenges organizations face and will need to create in the hybrid working environment. Experience parity ensures everyone gets the same experience when only some of your team is present in the meeting room.
Poor Communication Due to Outdated Collaboration Tools
When your team is not in the office full-time, you can expect a lapse in communication if you’re not providing them with proper collaboration tools. When away from the office, communicating clearly and effectively is more critical than ever before. Outdated business tools can impact overall performance, strategic goals, and workplace culture. It wastes time and affects your business’s bottom line. A study from Grammarly found that 87 percent of business leaders surveyed said their teams would not be able to meet their goals without effective communication tools. Although work no longer takes place in the office 100 percent of the time, your teams still need to communicate 100 percent of the time to keep a strong connection.
What Strategies Create Connections in a Hybrid Workplace?
Offering the highest starting salary used to be enough to attract top-tier talent. However, now, companies are overhauling their entire approach and searching for strategies to make workers feel more connected, which could be used as an advantage when attracting high-quality talent. When your employees feel connected, they’re more engaged, but the challenge is some organizations have yet to master an approach for how to create those vital connections in the hybrid workplace. We will delve into it below.
Build a Strong Company Culture
Building a solid company culture is vital for business success and team connection. The more your team aligns with the culture you set forth, the deeper their emotional connection will be to the company, their colleagues, and their work. It’s crucial to develop an experience that makes your hybrid employees feel as though they’re a vital part of the company mission, which will translate into them doing their best work and being more productive. You must focus on inclusivity, no matter their location. Fortunately, collaboration tools enable employees to develop that rapport with their teammates, helping build a workplace that’s welcoming and empowering for your team. These options ensure that your business meets employees where, when, and how they’d prefer to interact.
Creating a strong culture of connection to engage and retain their staff will save your business from losing valued employees at a time they can’t afford it. Today’s workers expect more than a competitive salary and benefits – they want a sense of community and belonging. Building that connection among hybrid workers requires a supportive company culture and the right technologies to bring that vision to life.
Put Employee Development at the Forefront
Don’t let your hybrid and remote workforce slip through the cracks when it comes to employee development. It’s important to be inclusive of all employees. You can help your hybrid and remote teams grow in their respective roles by providing tailored, relevant learning and development opportunities. A survey from Deloitte found that 87 percent of business leaders believe that developing a suitable workplace model and the ability of their employees to adapt, learn new skills, and assume new roles is vital for managing future challenges and achieving success.
To build a system for connecting with team members that work for your hybrid team, you must design hybrid working arrangements that take individual concerns into consideration and provide an equal employee experience to support team building and connection. It’s critical that all employees, whether they’re on-site or remote, are treated equally. Employers who invest in their teams will build on their strengths and grow their skillset, which better equips them in their current roles. It also adds increased value to their work and directly benefits your business.
Empower Communication at Every Level with Technology
Gone are the days of gathering at the coffee pot and talking about how bad traffic was that morning or who won the ball game. Now that employees are working different schedules in the office and in remote locations, they still want to be seen, heard and develop a sense of camaraderie with their colleagues. The technology you implement for the team is central to opening those lines of communication and connecting your teams that may be in the office one day and at home another. Highly engaged work cultures experience a substantial reduction in turnover and an increase in productivity. Video communication tools empower both in-person and remote employees to collaborate with colleagues and managers outside of routine meetings because they support video, phone, messaging, and file sharing, which enables active, ongoing conversations that promote connection.
Ensuring seamless collaboration among your hybrid workforce means investing in your digital infrastructure to achieve efficient communications, collaboration, and productivity. Fortunately, many issues, such as a lack of connection and collaboration that impact the hybrid work model can be resolved with the right business communication tools.
Communication Tools are a Critical Part of Your Hybrid Work Connection Strategy: Our eBook Can Help
Hybrid work has become the preferred working model for businesses and their employees. There are many advantages, but team connection could be compromised if you haven’t invested in your business communication tools. If you’re looking to improve connection and collaboration between your workers, it’s time to consider how a cloud-based phone system can help you achieve this. If you’d like to learn more about how moving your business phone system to the cloud can help keep your hybrid workers connected and collaborating effectively, download our eBook, The Top 5 Reasons to Move Your Business Phone System to the Cloud.