Hybrid management: 9 best practices to excel

February 3, 2023
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Hybrid work includes a part of the employees who work on site, therefore in person, but also a part who work remotely, often in home office. In addition to the daily tasks inherent to the job, managers are increasingly faced with new challenges related to the management of their hybrid teams.

Companies and managers must ensure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of where they work. The goal is the same for everyone: to keep productivity high by working better together, thanks to more flexibility.

The hybrid trend is becoming more and more established and is accompanied by new opportunities:

  • Move towards more agile teams by reinventing managerial practices
  • Modernizing the role of the manager thanks to the human element and proximity leadership
  • Accelerating the company's (digital) transformation, a godsend in a context of war for talent

This article is for you, managers, who are wondering how to manage a team despite the distance. Discover our 9 best practices, approved by the best companies, with testimonials!

1. Trust your teams

In the hybrid era, managers need to bear in mind that employees who telework are just as efficient and productive as those on site, if not more so. According to Malakoff Humanis' remote work and hybrid organizations 2022 barometer, almost half of all employees would like to practice hybrid working. They are particularly attracted by :

  • The flexibility granted (86%)
  • Reduction of physical fatigue (85%)
  • Improved health and well-being (82%)
  • Greater efficiency in work (80%)

As a manager, you need to adapt and develop skills to better manage your team in a hybrid mode. Adecco's New Normal: Defining the New Era of Work study highlights the ability to trust your team as one of the key managerial skills according to employees. Employees are looking for more autonomy. The manager must therefore ensure that he/she accompanies them towards this desired empowerment.

2. Strengthen remote communication

Communication is key to the success of any organization. This is especially true when not all team members work in the office. Distance can isolate some people. You need to ensure that all members of your hybrid teams can interact and feel included in projects and in the life of the company, especially through regular communication. As the industrialist Jean-Luc Lagardère said:

"Communication is a difficult science. It's not an exact science. It has to be learned and cultivated."

So don't worry if your communication isn't perfect. To improve, you can greet the entire team each morning via an internal messaging tool like Slack or Teams. These tools allow you to keep in touch all day via instant messaging or video.

To keep your teams engaged without getting into control, don't hesitate to share your feedback and schedule follow-up points. This will keep you connected. You can opt for a collective or individual approach, depending on the needs of your missions and projects.

3. Make yourself available to your employees

Distance or not, your role as a manager remains the same. Management must be guided by the desire to promote collective success by supporting individuals in their own achievements. With hybrid work, this logic is reinforced. Beyond the hierarchical superior, the manager is a coach who encourages initiative and guides his teams towards greater autonomy, by granting them his trust.

By making yourself available, you act on commitment. Sharing calendars can help in this regard. Managers and employees have easy access to each other's availability. To go further, interactive tools exist that allow you to share your hybrid schedule.

Sirisack, Sales Support Manager at Pretto (the online real estate broker), negotiates the best mortgage conditions for his clients, and as a manager, he accompanies his hybrid teams on a daily basis with Deskare:

"This is a really good solution for me as a Manager, especially to know when my team is working in the office. I love the ability to be notified in advance about everyone's attendance. With Deskare I know when I can organize in-person rituals with my employees."
Sirisack de Pretto manages his hybrid teams with Deskare

You can take back control of team life by tracking your employees' remote work and organizing remote and/or face-to-face meetings!

4. Set aside time for each individual exchange

Being available is a good start. Making time for everyone is essential. It is a matter of finding the system that best suits each team and collaborator. Exchanges can take the form of a regular weekly review, fixed in the agenda. They can also take place more flexibly, through ad hoc meetings, depending on the needs.

It is the ideal occasion to celebrate the progress of the various projects and successes, but also to better understand and rectify any problems in the new work organization.

Not sure how to start the discussion without going directly into the operational? Simply ask, "How are you doing?" This will give you an idea of your interviewer's state of mind and how they feel. His or her personal situation may influence his or her work and how he or she communicates. Don't be intrusive and adapt to each individual. The watchword is benevolence, and the key is adaptability.

5. Establish a feedback culture

Giving and receiving feedback allows us to communicate constructive elements in a logic of continuous improvement. There are several methods for expressing disagreement or giving feedback. One of them is the DESC method for : Describe, Express, Specify and Conclude:

The 4-step-schema-of-the-DESC-method
The diagram of the 4 steps of the DESC method

Organize yourself to find the right time to give feedback: take advantage of the weekly follow-up meeting for example. Be aware of the distance. Use video-conferencing to be close enough to the person you are talking to and to build real trust.

6. Encourage socializing and informal gatherings

Social ties within the company are essential on many levels. It ensures that employees get on well with one another, that they are highly committed to one another, and therefore more motivated and less likely to become isolated. As a manager, it's up to you to play your part in ensuring that everyone can forge links with their colleagues, even from a distance:

  • Create a Slack channel or Microsoft Teams chat dedicated to informal exchanges
  • Invite teleworkers to participate in team breakfasts and virtual coffee
  • Organize a hybrid afterwork by adapting the operation for those who are present in person and those who are at a distance: add conviviality by replacing the famous table soccer with an online game such as quiz
  • Offer a team lunch when everyone is in the office at the same time

To help you in your organization, Deskare allows all the employees to declare their hybrid work week in one click. As a manager, you thus have a tool that gives you statistics on the lifestyles of the teams and a visibility on their planning. Sirisack adds:

"I use Deskare every day before I go to the office. I know who will be there and what rituals I can put in place. And conversely, I schedule attendance days to bring my teams together."

Don't limit yourself to your own team. Think of including your collaborators in the rest of the organization. This will create great synergies and strengthen the company culture!

7. Enhance skills through training and resources

Training and resources are particularly useful in a hybrid work environment:

  • For remote employees, online training and resources are an opportunity to make skills development accessible
  • In-person training can help employees develop collaboration and communication skills that may be more difficult to improve remotely
  • Group training sessions can help maintain a strong corporate culture, even when employees are working remotely
  • Mentoring or coaching helps teams to receive personal support in developing their skills

By capitalizing on training and resources, managers help their employees overcome the challenges of hybrid work and improve their skills, which contributes to better performance and job satisfaction.

8. Take care of the well-being of your remote employees

If poorly organized and monitored, remote work can quickly have a negative impact on the quality of working life and employee perceptions.

Through benevolent management, managers are genuinely concerned about the well-being of each individual and remain attentive to the signals of psychosocial risks.

The physical distance between managers and employees is not an excuse and must be considered as a real opportunity to federate a team that looks after each other.

9. Enable collaboration with the best hybrid tools

Collaboration is essential to a team's success and to achieving its goals (and exceeding them!). This is even more true when distance is involved in the organization of work.

Managers, consider the needs of your team and select appropriate tools that employees will love to use. Here are some examples:

  • For internal communication: Slack, Teams
  • For video conferencing: those above but also Google, Zoom
  • To organize collaborative work: Notion (which we use internally at Deskare), Monday
  • To track hybrid work (and organize the flex office): Deskare 🔥

To sum up, as you may have understood, hybrid management is becoming the new norm for many companies. Managers are adapting to meet the new expectations of their teams and to promote the collective without neglecting the human aspect and individuality.

Do not hesitate to contact our teams to be accompanied to be accompanied in the management of your hybrid work policy on a daily basis.

➡️ If your company hasn't yet made the leap to a hybrid organization, discover our best arguments for negotiating remote work with your employer!