11 hybrid workforce challenges managers are facing

11 hybrid workforce challenges managers are facing

From keeping up consistent communication to encouraging cultural awareness, here are 11 answers to the question, “What are the most important challenges faced by managers leading a hybrid workforce?”

  • Maintaining Consistent Communication
  • Building a Culture that Bridges Remote and In-office
  • Managing Employees in Different Locations.
  • Balancing a Half-In, Half-out Culture
  • Getting Everyone Involved
  • Humanizing Your Culture
  • Creating Standards for Performance Evaluation
  • Not Having a Clear Definition
  • Not Excluding Remote Teammates
  • Keeping Everyone Happy
  • Growing Cultural Awareness

Maintaining Consistent Communication

When managing a hybrid workforce, communication can be difficult. Employees can have different schedules, availability, and can easily be overlooked because they are not physically there.

Keeping consistent communication with all of your hybrid staff is extremely challenging. Communication is not just about you as a manager keeping track of your employees; it’s also about giving them the positive reinforcement and acknowledgment they need from their leadership.

As a manager of this type of workforce, you need to keep a consistent communication schedule. This should comprise daily check-ins, weekly meetings, and scheduling face-to-face communication with all of your employees. The goal is to always know how all of your staff is doing. They should also welcome it and not be concerned when you are asking them for some face time.

Constant and consistent communication is challenging in a traditional work environment, so you need to go the extra mile with a hybrid one.

Mark Smith, Program Chair, University of Advancing Technology

Building a Culture that Bridges Remote and In-office

The biggest challenge facing managers in a hybrid workforce is to create a workplace culture that appeals to both hybrid and remote workers.

To create a cohesive culture devoid of silos, make the gulf between the office and distributed work as small as possible. And that means creating a virtual office space with all the benefits of an office.

Set a schedule to check in with every member of your team, be it in the office or online. Ask for feedback on how they’re finding hybrid work and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy as you go.

Be transparent about the changes and why you’re making them. Create “breakout” spaces in group chats for people to socialize outside the professional “work setting.” Organize event days where people can jump on video calls and interact as peers, rather than colleagues.

Visibility is the most crucial ingredient to successful remote work, whether you’re working from a different room or a different continent.

Benjamin Graham, Content Strategist, AnswerConnect

Managing Employees in Different Locations

The single most important challenge faced by managers leading a hybrid workforce is how to manage employees who are in different locations. This is because there are different communication styles and different work tasks that need to be managed.

For example, if an employee is working from home, the manager needs to trust that employee to get the work done and not be distracted by other things in the home. The manager also needs to communicate with the employee and give them feedback on their work.

Brandon Brown, CEO, GRIN

Balancing a Half-In, Half-Out Culture

Many team members face the struggle of having a half-in, half-out culture. Some employees are in the office while others aren’t. Specific departments should be in the office on the same days to create a collaborative work environment. The office allows employees to work as a team, and that’s the whole point of hybrid work.

It’s easy to ask a question to a colleague instead of waiting for hours on end for a response to an IM message. With that being said, it’s also possible some employees will become distracted, as the new norm is virtual working, and we’re not quite used to working with others in a physical environment.

Karim Hachem, VP of E-commerce, La Blanca

Getting Everyone Involved

In my two years managing a hybrid team, the biggest challenge has been coordinating the in-office and remote teams to ensure that we are all functioning as one team without feeling left out. But the nature of hybrid work is such that those who see each other face-to-face and share a physical location are likelier to develop stronger bonds with each other than with their colleagues working remotely.

This compartmentalization may be completely unintentional, but it can lead to remote workers missing out on things like involvement in decision-making and eventually being left out of small but meaningful interactions such as happy hour, coffee with a deskmate, or a fun lunch with a colleague.

In the end, it is easy for remote workers to be left out of major conversations that affect them personally and professionally. This fracturing of communication and collaboration can eat away at the company culture, dampen job satisfaction, and lead to undesirable turnover.

Ben Lamarche, General Manager, Lock Search Group

Humanizing Your Culture

Even before the global pandemic made hybrid workforces common, software development team managers were dealing with managing diverse teams often spread across the globe. And they learned quickly that their biggest challenge and the most important goal was to build a strong culture across their teams.

Human resources are human; community and connections motivate us. Without a strong and positive culture, communication, efficiency, and commitment suffer. And when people only interact when they proactively connect electronically, it is very difficult to establish a sense of belonging and to define a culture. Managers need to prioritize defining and building their culture and constantly experiment with ways to get people to connect both socially and over their work.

Eric Miller, Co-Owner and Principal, PADT, Inc

Creating Standards for Performance Evaluation

Where can I find trustworthy information about the performance of my team? Your initial ideas will probably prompt you to look for a single solution that can provide you with all the performance statistics at once.

You separately handle the management of your projects and the management of your team’s health. Additionally, the tools used by your software development team and marketers are quite different. Even when remote and in-office employees share solutions, nothing is ever in a single app.

Tiffany Payne, Head of Content, Pharmacy Online

Not Having a Clear Definition

Hybrid work is a topic that is frequently discussed, but there are few solid generalizations about it beyond the obvious idea that it gives workers greater flexibility and freedom in terms of where and how they work.

Working from home, working from anywhere, working virtually, telecommuting, smart working—all these are earlier, less popular terms for the same issue. Like most revolutionary concepts, hybrid work is just a new name for an old idea. If you’re looking for a scholarly study on hybrid working, you’ll need to use these more archaic terms in your search rather than “hybrid.”

Nely Mihaylova, Content Executive, Scooter Guide

Not Excluding Remote Teammates

Hybrid workforces provide several difficulties, but coordination is one that almost all firms deal with. Coordination is a necessary component of all collaborative work. However, working in hybrid teams poses much more coordination difficulties than face-to-face.

The danger is that “fault lines” between individuals who collaborate in person and those who do so online might readily appear, according to academics. They miss out on little conversations and insignificant decisions made by people working together in the office because of the extra coordination necessary to communicate with distant counterparts.

People may eventually find themselves excluded from more significant talks and choices as they grow accustomed to who is looped in and who is not.

David Reid, Sales Director, VEM Tooling

Keeping Everyone Happy

Many managers have to balance requests and schedules for our employees in a hybrid workforce. By far, the most important challenge we face is keeping everyone happy.

Everyone will not always like one decision, and we have to do what’s fair for everyone involved. This means some people may get upset, but ultimately, it’s best for the company. Hybrid workforces are here to stay, and we’ve had success by not instituting wide-sweeping changes.

Instead, our company has strived to make each employee feel valued and recognize that a happy and upbeat team is vital to success.

Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing, Highway Title Loans

Growing Cultural Awareness

Leading a multicultural workflow requires, or is at least helped by, knowing the cultural nuances of the team members for what is and is not acceptable and preferred behaviors. Unfortunately, this can be hard to know because of the phenomenon of us not knowing what we don’t know.

Kevin Carney, Principle, Organic Growth

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