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Bonding the Hybrid Working Team

More managers today are facing a new team dynamic to navigate – that of the hybrid working team.   Not a new concept, as Sales Managers will know, but never-the-less one that is becoming dominant in the working landscape today, and that managers are needing to find new ways of working.

As a manager you may feel concerned about:

  • your team feeling like a team
  • your teams motivation, and how that may vary as they struggle through challenges
  • your teams work life balance, especially the slippery slope of the work home divide, and
  • your team members feeling isolated, as if working in a silo

Having a bonded team will support you as you manage your hybrid team.  A bonded team will provide encouragement and morale, which in turn supports team wellbeing.  A happy team supports lower staff turnover which then supports the business objectives of increased productivity, innovation potential, agility and resilience.


What is team bonding?

Team bonding is that organic connection between (in this context) employees.  It isn’t solely a by product of a facilitiated event, although this can precipitate or re-inforce it as can be read in our case study.  Rather it is what happens through shared time with work colleagues, essentially not doing work, like standing by the water cooler, or grabbing a coffee and having a chat between meetings or grabbing drinks after work.

Even though it is organic, Team Bonding is something that can be supported by their manager or team leader.


3 ways to bond your hybrid working team

With hybrid working those candid workplace interactions are less likely to occur, therefore the environment needs to be created to enable these interactions to take place.

Technology as a tool is helping to extend the physical workplace out to the hybrid workers, however it requires more than just technology, it requires a culture of trust.

It is here, as manager, that you can work to make a difference for your teams.

1. Communication

  • Ensure all team members have access to and are confident in using the technology that helps facilitate those corridor moments.
  • Support relationship building with time planned in meetings to allow for non work related chat and getting to know you activities (especially if there are new members in the team).
  • Be open and honest, and transparent with your communication will help to build trust.  Be consistent with this, both one to one and in team meetings. And let them know if you are struggling too, that’s ok.
  • Ensure open communication with those working at home and those in the office.  Make sure that you as their manager do not fall into the trap of office bias – where opportunities are given to those present, and where those working from home are percieved as working less.

2. Meetings

  • Plan chat time!
  • Arrange virtual socials.  Bearing in mind that some introverts may find such occassions highly uncomfortable, so organising fun games like a virtual escape room could work well for all staff.
    Send home working staff a gift of some biscuits or cake and then hold a combined coffee and connect with those in the office and those working at home.  Don’t forget to provide biscuits and cakes for those in the office too!
  • Consider meeting in person as a team, perhaps away from the office space so that it is neutral territory for all workers.  Again consider team members concerns around social distancing and mask wearing at this time.
  • Be aware of in office banter when holding hybrid meetings which may exclude those dialling in.  Set guidelines that create the right environment for all staff.

3. Celebrate Successes

During communication and team meetings, bring the team together by showing gratitude and appreciation.  Try a Round Robin – let everyone have the opportunity to share their successes.

These are just a few ways you can help to support your hybrid teams and help them feel more connected despite the distance.

Get in touch if you would like to explore further development to support your teams, either through bespoke tailored team building activities, or management coaching.