How to build meaningful team relationships in the hybrid workspace
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Companies had to adapt and go fully remote or hybrid very fast, even though they were unprepared. Now, when you are still deciding whether to keep working remotely, hybrid or shift back to in-person, it is essential to consider how to set the team communication before throwing the fully remote or hybrid work idea away.
There is no doubt hybrid work culture requires new communication strategies. Remote work comes with many benefits, but as a remote or hybrid work leader, you need to understand the challenges of building meaningful team relationships across time zones, borders, and cultures while communicating effectively and creating long-lasting relationships.
Most of us receive many daily instant messages from colleagues and clients, which can be stressful and cause the need to respond as soon as possible. Because of this, we should focus on a shift towards asynchronous communication. Leaders should rethink how to communicate in the new remote or hybrid workspace to improve employee focus and productivity. Compared to synchronous communication, asynchronous communication does not happen in real-time, and it does not require an instant response. It is time to enable asynchronous communication for your team members to reduce the chance of burnout and empower their talents to reach important goals successfully.
You can customize how you and your team communicate even from different time zones with flexible schedules and many other asynchronous collaboration options. This way, you will be able to increase productivity and confidence in your team members while you are on the clock. Start with broadcasting everyone's availability to eliminate distractions when they're off the clock or simply need time to concentrate on deep work. This will prevent the urge to respond instantly and lower the time expectation of receiving feedback. There are also many other steps towards adopting an asynchronous communication in the remote or hybrid workspace:
Sharing work location and designated availability
Enable each team member to edit and set up their work location and available working hours. This way, every team member will have general information about each co-worker's whereabouts and the best time to reach out to them.
Team members should have the option to combine half days and different locations within the same working day and set up their vacation days, sick leave, or business absence, so everyone knows each other locations`. This will enable the entire team to see each other's status in Slack and check if a specific colleague is available to avoid bothering their deep focus time.
Setting clear deadlines
Make collaboration equally easy for everyone, especially if your employees operate in different time zones. Stop reaching out to colleagues for feedback at the end of their working day, and don't schedule meetings over the designated time. Motivate your employees to transparently share their preferred way of work and their favorite time to operate collaboratively throughout the workday.
Empowering the asynchronous mindset
Train your team members to adapt to an asynchronous working style by adopting certain habits. You should empower them to plan their own workload and point out that they will not be judged if they take the time to respond to a request. Defining the enquires types can be set as urgent by teammates on an overall or per-project basis. This will create clearer expectations and an opportunity to prioritize tasks efficiently.
Creating a sense of togetherness
It's important to create opportunities for bonding. Create groups where your employees can share their personal thoughts, hobbies, and experiences or designated monthly happy hours that encourage casual, informal conversations. This will enable employees to bond and get to know each other more.
Making brainstorm sessions more effective
Brainstorming should not be a solely synchronous activity. The most effective way to create a great brainstorming session is with a combination of asynchronous and synchronous communication by:
Preparing for the brainstorming session in advance by sending three ideas upfront
Collaborating synchronously over Zoom or in-person and putting similar ideas together
Engaging in a free-flowing conversation and evaluating the pros and cons of each ideas group
This combination allows employees to be more thoughtful and prepared for brainstorming. You will most likely receive the most creative insights and widest thought diversity by leveraging this technique.
Using the right set of collaboration tools
When teams are scattered across various locations or the entire globe, effective communication is not possible without the right set of collaboration tools. Giving the employees the best possible tools and apps to successfully work together on important projects is essential.
There is no doubt that synchronous work and communication remain essential, but there are many benefits of asynchronous work that you should embrace within your organization. It creates the possibility for employees to set their deep work time, leading to better decision-making, clearer communication, and better brainstorming solutions. Altogether, it promotes better work-life balance, increasing productivity, employee engagement and retention, and talent attractiveness.
It creates an environment where everyone is informed and has an equal opportunity to respond and deliver the necessary information via internal communication channels or a pre-recorded video. Asynchronous work saves time, helps create a greater sense of owning our work, and promotes trust between team members.
You can't afford to lose great people, so accommodate their wishes for flexible work and freedom while also making sure they feel close, connected, engaged, and intertwined with everyone on the team. CULTURATE is designed for a successful switch to a hybrid workspace, helping you create, foster, and nurture company culture when working in more than one place, all inside your favorite communication tool. Sign up for a free demo here.
Harvard Business Review: What great hybrid cultures do differently