Written by Heidi Wadsworth | 21st June 2021

hybrid teamsMany businesses have made the shift to hybrid working. When properly implemented, hybrid teams can bring benefits such as increased productivity and a happier, more engaged workforce.

But having staff working in the office and at home comes with some challenges – one of them being managing your hybrid teams’ performance. How can you keep track of where people are and what they are doing if they are working between locations or have flexible hours?

Here are a few tips from our team:

Make goals and expectations clearer

Every employee of the company, whether they work remotely or in the office, will need clarity around their roles and responsibilities, and their working schedules (when they should be in the office or at home) to avoid confusion and conflict.

From the start, make sure you set very clear expectations about the standards of work expected and the timescales for completion.

Your team also need to understand and agree when they should be available for team catch-ups and client contact – and how. Are they expected to be monitoring their emails during office hours, or at certain times of the day? Should they be available for in-person meetings and video calls during certain hours, or just at pre-arranged times? Use online tools for workflow management and task lists, so that everyone is clear about what needs to be done and who by, and make sure everybody keeps them up to date.

Measure outcomes – not hours worked

It goes without saying that merely being present in the office does not necessarily mean you’re more productive, but research shows that 64% of managers are more likely to give office-based employees a promotion or higher pay rise than remote workers because they see them as higher-performers. It’s important that everyone’s work is monitored in the same way to avoid a “them and us” mentality developing.

Create a culture in which you meet team members regularly, either face-to-face or virtually, to review progress and update goals, and ensure you measure (and celebrate) outputs and achievements rather than time spent on tasks. Some people will naturally work at different speeds and in different ways – most of the time it’s the result, not the process, that’s important.

Gain an insight into your team

Performance management and development is more effective when you understand your employees and their differences.

Our clients are using Insights to understand how they think, communicate and work with one another, and how that may have changed as a result of Covid-19.

Our upcoming Insights Discovery workshop, on 28th September 2021, will help you understand yourself and your teams so that you can develop stronger, respectful, productive and positive relationships, even across virtual boundaries. You will receive an accurate personal profile and participate in a fun and engaging workshop to help equip you for the challenges of change ahead, such as hybrid working.

Use productivity tools

With some of your team working from home, it may be harder to keep track of work as you can’t see what they are doing every minute of the workday.

An easy route around this is to use online tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and task list apps, which can help you set expectations and monitor progress wherever your teams may be.

This will also benefit communication and collaboration – employees will be able to keep track of shared tasks when they are working on projects together.

Managing poor performance

Part and parcel of being a manager is tackling poor performance, and with a hybrid team this can be challenging.

Before discussing a performance issue with an employee, check that you did everything you could to set expectations and communicate the task effectively. Then consider if there were any external factors – illness, stress at home, anxiety about changed ways of working or IT problems – that may have contributed to the poor performance.

Once you have been through this thought process, schedule a time to discuss it with them. Consider whether this is best done in person at the workplace, or via phone or video call, but don’t delay. Agree a way forward – including a new deadline and a review date to catch up and check that the issue has been resolved. If the poor performance persists, then look to your formal procedures to address it, and seek external HR support to guide you in conducting them correctly.

Our performance management course will help managers to identify poor and under-performance, along with practical processes and techniques to resolve poor performance informally. Managers will learn when and how to escalate issues and take HR advice.

Visit our Managing People training page to find out more.

A hybrid team thrives when productivity is measured by results and not by the hours spent at a desk. Focus instead on the results, and less on the process — that will be different for everyone. By taking into consideration the needs of remote workers and in-office staff, you can find a balance that helps all workers do their work the best way they can.

For more advice, download our guide for managing hybrid teams or send us an email at info@realityhr.co.uk.