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5 tips to make your hybrid working model more effective

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With today’s workers seeking greater control over where they live and work, hybrid work models are becoming increasingly popular. So, how can you make a hybrid workplace work for both internal and external team members?

Hybrid has its challenges: it costs more money, it takes a conscious effort to build relationships, and you have to be strategic when spending resources. For some organizations, these investments may feel priceless. If that’s the case for you, you might be better off with a model that’s completely personal or completely remote.

But hybrid is possible…if you approach it and invest in it the right way to make it work. Here are five ways you can leverage hybrid work and make it work for your team:

Related: Managing a Happy and Healthy Hybrid Workforce

1. Consciously design social experiences

Be purposeful when creating social activities that transcend locations. Design rituals that promote a sense of camaraderie, belonging and community. Bring team members together in the office and remotely by:

  • Random combinations, mimicking the office water cooler experience (try donut!)

  • Virtual happy hours and games/competitions (we are big fans of GeoGuessr)

  • Team Call Introductory Questions or in Slack (know your team has great)

2. Choose remote-first tools and systems

When an organization chooses tools, systems and software based on cost savings, they often sacrifice ease of use. These types of economical products often make simple tasks more complex for the people who ultimately have to use them.

Now throw the reality of remote work into the equation, and remote team members end up with even more hoops and hurdles to jump through. The consequences? It robs them of time, mental space and energy. Choose third-party tools designed for remote teams. Get started by checking out top-notch tools and services, such as:

  • Gusto: an easy-to-use HR platform for payroll, benefits and more

  • flaccid: a communication platform designed to help teams work together

  • Loom: a screen recorder that simplifies collaboration and presentations

  • brex: a financial platform for payments, cards, expense management and more

3. Give bonus benefits to external staff

There is no doubt that remote employees have a very different work experience than team members in the office. That’s a reality you need to address. Find ways to offer perks that offset some of the personal benefits that remote workers miss out on.

Need ideas?

  • Have a stipend to cover the cost of co-working spaces.

  • Design and send exclusive swag for remote collaborators that enhance your brand.

  • Give gift cards that approach the value of snacks and meals in the office.

  • Send Sonos speakers to remote employees so they can rock out with the office employees.

Related: Success In Your Hybrid Workplace By Following These Rules

4. Encourage remote work sessions

While some employees thrive on working alone all day every day, other remote team members lack the camaraderie and easy collaboration that come with the office experience. Help them overcome this disadvantage by encouraging and facilitating remote work sessions.

In your team calendar, schedule optional blocks of time for team members to jump on Zoom and work “side-by-side”. This can facilitate friendly chatter and opportunities to ask random questions.

Some leaders might be tempted to write this off as counterproductive. do not. Many people are wired for increased productivity when surrounded by other working people.

5. Use your space

Office spaces are great for getting work done, but they’re also expensive, especially if some of your team isn’t using them. For a hybrid environment to work in, you need to leverage your space to go beyond just working in the office. Reformulate it as a resource for selling and expressing your brand. Think about how you can transform your office into a multifunctional space. At my company, we use our space to host live design sprints with clients. Here are some other ideas for you below:

  • Social content: Use your space to create social media content.

  • Studios: Transform your office into a temporary studio where you create content with and for customers.

  • Meetings: Design your space to accommodate get-togethers and parties for all employees.

When designed properly, a hybrid model can lead to faster productivity, more creative innovation, and better collaboration. To launch a hybrid model for your team, start small and pick one strategy to tackle at a time. Pick the idea that delivers the greatest return on investment for your remote workforce and get started.

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