It is absolutely essential that it is set up well with everyone getting a chance to have their say and clear parameters being set. Without this happening, there will be many negative consequences – resentment, reduced productivity and negative behavior cycles – to name but a few. If you manage a team, it is your responsibility to make sure any overall company/firm guidance is used as an input for a team discussion; it is rare that there is one set approach that will work for every function, department or practice. If you aren’t responsible for others and no such discussion has been had then it would be a good suggestion to make to your manager.
As a team you need to discuss what each wants to do and discuss what you will use office time for. It is pointless to go to the office to be on video calls all day. Most people I know are using office time to collaborate with colleagues and to meet external people.
Agreeing communication channels is essential. It would be very easy for a manger to make an announcement in the office thinking everyone was up-to-date, forgetting the person who is at home that day.
Hybrid working shouldn’t mean hybrid meetings. Where possible important meetings shouldn’t take place with half the people together and half online. It is only if the key participants/influencers are online that the people online will get equal attention.
There is a challenge for managers to make sure they don’t rate those they have seen more in person more highly at performance review time. It is important to be visible and getting airtime with who you need to, requires planning.
Now is a good time to review the team systems and processes in terms of what needs improving to cope with hybrid working. A good starting point is what could have worked better when everyone was at home.
Where hybrid working starts is not necessarily how it will continue. So agreeing that you will review how it is working as a team is important so you can all try it and see. People will also then feel they can have more input as it is work in progress.
There is no handbook for hybrid working but it is essential that you personally think through how you translate the agreed team approach into your working life:
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Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it.