7 Strategies for Successful Hybrid Work

7 Strategies for Successful Hybrid Work


As organizations return to the office, many companies will use a “hybrid” method of working, with some employees working in the office and others working remotely. To avoid the common pitfalls that we may have seen over the last year(miscommunication, reduced interaction, sense of personal isolation), and optimize the benefits (increased engagement, better work-life balance, higher productivity and retention), organizations need to be proactive. Our research suggests that effective remote and hybrid work models will require reinterpreted critical elements of a traditional office environment, flexibility in developing the best answer, and a re-thinking of management styles and approaches, not only to sustain operational functionality, but to foster employee engagement and meet organizational goals.

core principles of remote work

In developing these strategies for effective hybrid work, we feel Sean Graber's 2015 HBR article, detailing three core principles of remote work, still holds up in today's post-pandemic environment. Each tactic below addresses a combination of these principles: coordination, communication, and culture. Please recognize that one size does not fit all, and customization for your individual organization and culture may be required.


1. Focus on Inclusion & Equity.
Core principles: communication & culture

Consider your workplace from staff point of view:

  • Include remote staff in meetings or collaborations with people in the office, both on a scheduled and ad hoc basis
  • Reach out regularly to remote workers to increase connection and sense of belonging

2. Promote Consistent Policies & Expectations.
Core principles: coordination & communication

Maintain and communicate consistent expectations for the availability of on-site and remote staff:

  • Create communication policies for the whole office
  • Keep status updated on instant messaging, emails, etc.

Promote interaction through policy:

  • Encourage daily communication, weekly progress reports, feedback, and monthly live-streamed staff meetings
  • Standardize video meetings and invest in the infrastructure both inside the office and employees at home

3. Develop Shared Goals for On-Site & Remote Staff.
Core principles: coordination, communication, and culture

Make on-site and remote staffers aware of what each other are doing:

  • Utilize a digital medium for tracking tasks
  • Ensure the entire staff is aware of successes and good work; use messaging channels to communicate accolades, such as #OnTheFridge

 Define strategies to be employed on a project-by-project basis:

  • Set the stage with kick-off meetings where communication and remote policies are defined
  • Select days of the week when team members are encouraged to be in the office; discuss expectations regarding teammate time zones

4. Ensure Equal Ease of Access to All Information
Core principles: coordination & communication

Provide the tools to support social communication and effective work:

  • Ensure your server is fast enough for industry standard applications
  • Coordinate remote tech expectations with IT
  • Maintain cloud-based anywhere-access to the server (eg, Sharepoint)
  • Maintain infrastructure needed within the office (ie, video cameras with accessible accounts, white board sharing, etc.)

5. Provide Value in Coming to the Office.
Core principles: culture & communication

Make the office a destination for meeting and gathering:

  • Directly invite remote staff to in-person events and meetings
  • Host in-office retreats or working sessions with your team
  • Design venues and features that are useful and engaging to all staff

6. Create Shared Experiences. 
Core principles: culture & communication

Develop techniques to reinforce belonging by creating a digital environment that reflects on-site experience and culture:

  • Provide opportunities for shared knowledge: consider messaging channels such as #IJustLearned #HowDoYou
  • “Invite” your remote colleagues to digitally join lunch and happy hour via video chat
  • Provide a live stream or portal of an informal gathering area in the office, where your remote staff can drop in and chat with on-site staff

7. Foster Strong Social Relationships.
Core principles: culture & communication

Build trust by encouraging interaction among on-site and remote staff:

  • Create a digital “water cooler,” where staff can chat about things other than work, eg, #LaughOutLoud
  • Define the frequency of all-hands meetings; remote and on-site workers need to meet and get to know each other

 Modify management styles to accommodate remote workers:

  • Keep mindful of stress and burnout and hold open discussions with employees 
  • Consider building a wellness program that both remote and in-office people can share
  • Schedule predictable, consistent, recurring check-ins.  Make sure work isn’t the only topic
  • Tailor communication styles and channels to each employee

If you find these tips helpful, click the link below to download a PDF version!

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