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Remote Work vs Hybrid Work: How to Foster Team Collaboration and Communication

Remote working Apr 24, 2023

With the advent of the post-Covid era, there is great emphasis on hybrid vs remote work models. Companies are quickly adopting these new trends that provide advantages from both ends - employees get more freedom and a decrease in the investment in office infrastructure.

However, both the remote as well as hybrid working models face challenges when it comes to collaboration and communications. The process is not as smooth as it would be in a proper office.

With the implementation of certain tools and software into your daily work routine, remote as well as hybrid working models can be improvised.

This article provides you with all the necessary information necessary for establishing an effective remote working set-up.

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Understanding Team Collaboration in Remote and Hybrid Work

Remote and hybrid working have a number of positive impacts on the employees. Spending more time with family increases their performance  significantly. They are able to focus on their tasks more efficiently.

Video calling and instant chat messages are methods through which collaboration is possible. The simple way to collaborate also lowers the effort in the onboarding process.

Let's see little in-depth details of the advantages of remote and hybrid work

  • Effective communication

Remote and hybrid work models provide you with the option to not only communicate effectively from literally any place. You could interact with your team while walking your dog, or attend a video conference while gazing at the stars.

In simple words, communication becomes very simple. There are literally no barriers between team members staying poles apart.

  • Enhanced productivity

A survey found that employees working in hybrid vs remote work models have 13% more productivity in comparison to employees working in a traditional office.

One of the prime reasons for this boost in productivity is the fact that the employees work in an environment that is comfortable for them.

They are able to choose their work environment themselves. While a traditional office will not be able to provide the aesthetics or the comfort which each individual employees prefer.

  • Lower operational cost

With employees working from their homes, there is no need to invest in office space. Office Infrastructure and Facilities in hybrid work models are minimum.

With a lower number of printers, computers, and other electronic equipment at the workplace, utility bills are low. Also, the employees save on daily commuting costs.

Differences between collaboration in remote and hybrid teams

There are a few key differences between hybrid and remote teams. The primary difference lies in the fact that remote teams work from entirely different locations. There is literally no chance for the team to meet physically.

However, hybrid teams work from different places, but they can plan a physical meeting as per the work requirement. Hybrid teams can even plan a meeting just for socializing and knowing each other.

When it comes to remote teams, there are possibilities of different employees working from different parts of the world. So the collaboration depends more on language as well as the time zone. But the hybrid team does not have such limitations.

In the hybrid model, there is a need for employees to work during specific periods, however, remote working allows employees to work completely on their own schedule.

Key challenges faced by remote and hybrid teams

Just like every coin has two sides, hybrid vs remote work models also have their own challenges. This includes

  • Culture and interaction

When it comes to remote and hybrid working, there is always a sense of low communication among the team members. Team bonding is low in comparison to traditional office-based working.

Lower interaction among workers results in a lack of team bonding. This affects the performance of the team. Remote and hybrid work models also require a proper work culture with an exchange of ideas and opportunities.

  • Work-life balance

Working from home makes it very difficult to have a proper boundary between work and home. With the onset of COVID, these boundaries started disappearing. However, there have been a number of attempts to streamline the process.

HR policies implement the need to establish a proper difference between work and life. Actions like avoiding emails and calls after office hours, limiting meeting hours, etc. help employees have a proper work-life balance.

  • Motivation

Remote and hybrid work models sometimes go through a phase where the employees do not proper motivation. When working in office models, co-workers or managers help employees get the necessary motivation to complete the tasks.

Motivating workers becomes a key part in order to ensure that they remain on track.

Importance of Communication in Remote and Hybrid Teams

Communication is the key when it comes to having a successful team. In order to complete any task, the employees should have proper communication. The managers should facilitate a proper team-building process by organizing regular interactive sessions.

Communication barriers in remote and hybrid teams

The barriers in remote and hybrid teams vary to a big extent. When it comes to hybrid teams there are a number of physical as well as virtual interactions which happen among the team members. However, it is not the same when it comes to remote teams.

Remote teams have members working from entirely different parts of the world. This makes it very difficult to have regular interactions in the form of virtual meetings. Communications through emails and chats provide effective methods to interact with remote team members.

Benefits of clear communication in remote and hybrid work

Work progression in remote and hybrid work is successful only when communication is clear. Let's have a look at how clear communication benefits the work progress.

  • No misunderstandings

Clear communication helps in quick and easy understanding. There are no confusions which result in minimum delays and errors.

Quick and effective communication through tools helps in completing various tasks on time as well as ensures higher productivity of the employees.

  • Higher productivity

With better communication, the efficiency of the team increases. By conveying information effectively, the team is able to achieve high productivity. The team members take responsibility for their tasks and ensure timely completion as well as a smooth flow of the work process.

  • Increased engagement

With effective communication, the team members feel more engaged at work. This is because they understand their responsibilities and have complete job satisfaction. Employees have the urge to work better for the overall success of the team as well as the company.

Strategies for Fostering Collaboration and Communication in Remote and Hybrid Teams

As managers, we need to inculcate the habit of collaboration and communication into our teams. For overcoming the challenges of these work models and fully exploring the potential of remote and hybrid work models, try implementing the strategies that I have mentioned below.

A. Establishing clear communication channels

The primary step while working in remote and hybrid teams is establishing clear and proper communication channels.

This is necessary for avoiding confusion and improving productivity. There are a number of tools and technologies that are available for improving communication methods.

Types of Communication Tools and Technologies for Remote and Hybrid Teams

There are a number of tools and technologies available which will ensure the smooth functioning of a remote and hybrid team. A few of the most commonly used tools include

  • Video conferencing tools (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet)
  • Instant messaging tools (e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp)
  • Project management tools (e.g. ProofHub, Asana, Basecamp)
  • Cloud storage and file sharing tools (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive)
  • Virtual whiteboards tools( e.g.Miro and Mural)

By using a combination of these tools, remote and hybrid teams can stay connected and collaborate effectively, no matter where they are located.

B. Encouraging regular check-ins and feedback sessions

Check-ins or video sessions help in building team rapport. Regular sessions help in establishing a strong base for team collaboration as well as for sharing work updates, discussing any issues or concerns, and also for providing feedback.

Tips for Conducting Effective Virtual Meetings

Having a proper agenda and conveying it to the team members before the start of the meeting is one of the best tips for having a smooth virtual meeting.

The time selection for the meeting should be convenient for all members. The option to view a recorded video of the meeting should be available for the members who could not participate in the meeting.

C. Providing opportunities for socialization and team building

Socialization is one of the biggest challenges in remote and hybrid teams. The best way to overcome this social isolation is by having virtual events such as fun games or any other activities that include member participation.

Examples of Virtual Team Building Activities

Online games, Virtual Fun hours, and random topics of interest for discussions are methods for team-building activities. Fun activities help in bringing the team together, the members get to know about different team members and instill a sense of togetherness in the team.

Games like Two Truths and a Lie, Wordle, and Virtual Charades are great options for engaging members working in remote and hybrid roles.

D. Establishing a culture of transparency and trust

For having a strong and efficient team, you need to build a true culture of transparency and trust. Team members must have trust in each other. They should be able to convey information to each other without issues.

Strategies for Building Trust in Remote and Hybrid Teams

For building trust and transparency, encourage your team members to be open and honest when sharing feedback. Hybrid and remote teams should take responsibility and accountability when it comes to work schedules. This will help all the team members to stay motivated and encouraged. The team members should have the feeling of working towards the same goal.

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Conclusion

On the whole, the success of hybrid vs remote work models depends completely on collaboration and communication. These two terms act as a pillar for the smooth functioning of the teams.

It is essential to come up with policies for ensuring that these models are effective for the employees well. You do not want your employees getting overworked and having very little time for their personal life.  

As remote and hybrid work models become prevalent, more and more companies are adopting these models. Therefore it is essential to ensure proper collaboration and communication for the effective working of the team.

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Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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