Seven guidelines for happier hybrid and remote teams
The team dialogue around ground rules can help your team feel more invested and in control over their remote and hybrid work conditions.
Here are seven examples of the kinds of common-sense guidelines you can set to make remote and hybrid team members more comfortable.
Encourage team members to determine their own work/life harmony, creatively blending personal, family and work obligations as long as desired outcomes are met. Allow team members to negotiate the sharing of work obligations as needed.
Be flexible on virtual dress codes and appearance. For example, allow individual preference to dictate each team member’s choice of video background — as long as those preferences are appropriate to the meeting objective and mood.
Prioritize empathetic communication and listening. This applies to both team managers and executive leadership. Keep team members well-informed about matters that affect them. Actively look for signs that someone is struggling or suffering from remote work fatigue.
Allow team members to set their own work hours and workplace — as long as they fully participate in team activities and maintain appropriate work outputs. For example, team members can specify specific times for collaboration vs. individual work, but may need to prioritize overlapping time zones for collaborative work.
Let the team collectively determine response times with various collaboration modalities. For example, agree to respond within two hours to voice or chat but up to one business day for non-urgent emails. Agree that team members need not respond to nonemergency work matters outside of published working hours.
Set limits on meetings. Team members should agree on the need for, timing, duration, and location of team meetings. Meetings that include both remote and in-office team members should strive for equal-opportunity participation.
Agree on remote collaboration standards. Make sure everyone has access to, and utilizes, endpoint devices, internet connectivity, and adequate sound, lighting, and video capabilities to participate productively in virtual collaboration. Agree on the use of common features such as hashtags and @mentions.
The pivot to hybrid work environments is just beginning, and most organizations are figuring it out as they go along. These rules of the road are part of this journey, and enable individuals and teams to set their own paths while adhering to organizational guidelines.
Not only do the guidelines enable co-creation and grass-roots innovation of hybrid work, they also help new team members quickly ascertain and embrace team cultural norms.