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Hybrid How-to

Remote work emerged from recent workforce adaptations as one of the key changes that businesses are planning to keep moving forward. While this can drive significant improvements in productivity and employee satisfaction, not all positions can or should be done remotely. Creating a hybrid environment requires significant thought for the needs of onsite and remote workers, so leaders are taking this opportunity to revisit rushed systems to ensure processes are optimized for the future

66% of HR leaders reported that hybrid work optimizes employee performance3

63% of workers would prefer a hybrid or fully remote arrangement2

Employers are preparing for half their workforces to be remote some or all of the time1

40%

of CHROs say managing a hybrid workforce is now a top priority4

Leading Hybrid Teams

Over the years, we have developed Six Steps to Remote Team Leadership Success. This infrastructure and cultural guide provide a roadmap that will help staff succeed in a hybrid or full work-from-home (WFH) structure so you can thrive as the market continues to evolve.

U.S. companies that allow remote working have a 25% lower employee turnover rate13

STEP 1: Determine Remote Eligible Roles or Tasks

STEP 1: Determine Remote Eligible Roles or Tasks

Most employees (63%) would prefer to work remote some or all of the time2, and employers agree that remote work, where possible, makes sense. Two thirds of leaders say that enabling remote work optimizes employee performance3 and 40% of CHROs say managing a remote work force is a top priority.4

However, not every task can be done remotely, and not every employee is temperamentally suited to succeed in a remote environment. Companies that are succeeding in building hybrid teams start by carefully reviewing each task, job and employee to develop a clear plan for how best to support the work and the employee.

If this is something you are working on or considering, then scheduling a Benchmarking Consultation and Determining WFH Relevant Roles Consultation with an AppleOne Hiring Advisor is a great option.

For those employees or jobs that aren’t well suited to remote work, develop a plan to:

  • Make sure employees feel safe and valued, with frequent communication about company happenings
  • Provide more flex time and autonomy where possible so that people continue to benefit from some of what they have enjoyed while working remotely
  • Consider enticements such as childcare expenses, compensated commute times or one-time clothing allowances to attract people back to the office
  • Use team building and open communication to avoid people losing team camaraderie resenting those who do get to work from home
STEP 2: Accountability and Structure

STEP 2: Accountability and Structure

Hold Accountability + Worksite Policy Meetings Regularly

Once you have all the players in place, it is essential to regularly check-in with your teams to ensure everything is going as planned. Regular meetings are a great way to stay in touch, review company values, set daily/ weekly expectations, and reaffirm policies.

Ready to get started? Here are some tools that will help you create a thriving hybrid environment:

If an employee is not performing as expected, our Coaching Sandwich tool will guide managers through compassionate enforcement.

STEP 3: Workplace Setup

STEP 3: Workplace Setup

Ensuring your employees have the tools they need to be successful at all times and in any location is a big part of creating a winning hybrid strategy. As you are making your list of what employees need, consider:

Equipment and Tools

Will partially remote employees take a laptop from home to the office, or will you provide workstations in both locations? Many successful companies are taking a layered approach where the answer is dependent upon the nature of each employee’s work and how often they will be remote. For a closer look at what your remote teams might need, check out our Home Workspace Setup Checklist.

Do you need more flexible equipment plans for temporary or project-based remote workers? AppleOne can connect you with a rental company that can help you set up cost-effective, efficient workstations for your remote teams.

Onsite Cameras and Microphones

If your standard onsite equipment didn’t include cameras and microphones on workstations or in conference rooms, don’t forget to add that now to support the portion of collaborative work that will now be happening online in virtual spaces.

Private vs Shared Workspaces

Many employees have expressed a strong preference to have private as opposed to shared workspaces when onsite. However, if your company is reducing office space as part of your hybrid plan, that may need to involve some shared workspaces and resources. Try to limit this to employees who are remote more often, and be sure to speak openly with employees, so they feel included in the decision making.

File-Sharing

As employees move between remote and onsite environments, they need consistent access to tools and files. Use an office suite that supports cloud-based collaboration such as Office 365 or Google Workspace, and use a centralized intranet site such as SharePoint to control access and streamline communications across all employees.

Project Management Tools

There are many tools on the market designed to help teams collaborate on projects, no matter where they are based.

STEP 4: Collaboration Schedule

STEP 4: Collaboration Schedule

Good communication requires purposeful practice. If you want to make sure your teams function well in a hybrid environment, you will need a plan to get there. Add your work activities to your calendar and resist the urge to bump them when things get hectic.

Make sure to set aside time for:

Anniversaries and Milestones

Schedule anniversaries and milestones and celebrate them together online and/or in person. Be sure to integrate any virtual employees as much as possible in onsite celebrations and onsite employees as much as possible in virtual celebrations so nobody feels left out. E-cards signed by the team make a great impression.

Weekly Huddle

Staying connected requires a minimum of one team huddle per week. Make sure your remote workers use their webcam whenever possible so you can make eye contact and see each other’s body language.

Daily Check-Ins

A great way to stay connected is to have everyone post a chat/message to the team at the start and end of the day. It is a great way to kick off the workday and allows the team to share their most important task of the day. At the end of the workday, encourage your teams to share their accomplishments or any new task that arose. You will be surprised how much little habits like this will cultivate a spirit of cooperation within your team

One-on-One Conversations

Managers should have weekly, documented, one-on-one calls in person or via webcam with their remote staff.

  • Use the One-on-One Form to document these interactions
  • Employees complete the form after the meeting and send to the manager
  • Send a copy to H.R. or save it to a secure department folder

Need help making sure everyone is on the same page?

AppleOne has created a Collaboration Schedule that can help you get the most out of your teams.

STEP 5: Sustaining the Mission

STEP 5: Sustaining the Mission

Motivate with compassion:

A united vision can be the rallying cry that aligns the team and keeps them motivated. These inspiring sentiments work best when they start at the top and are frequently reinforced.

To make sure your message is heard, it is crucial to balance your high expectations with a healthy dose of compassion. Managers and supervisors should check in regularly, and communication should be practical (i.e. productivity updates, job-related Q&A) and engaging (interpersonal starters, sharing highpoints, meet my dog). To build a strong team, it is imperative that remote workers feel like their work matters and is appreciated.

"We’re not just going through this, we’re Growing through this… together!"
– Janice Bryant Howroyd

To keep your communication on track, AppleOne has created a Recognition Planner to help you personalize engagement and make it count. Our Accountability Checklist is another excellent tool that defines personal responsibilities and what being accountable looks like to the organization.

Here are some things to keep in mind when communicating with your remote teams:

Sincere:

Be an active listener and be present. If you do not ask, they may not tell. Ask questions such as “What is working and not working to stay focused?” “On a scale of 1-5, 5 being highest, how would you score your week? Why?”

Mission Focus:

Meet as a team on camera to reinforce your mission and values. Make sure to include the team rally-cry and explain to everyone what it looks like in action.

Organized:

For team meetings, use detailed agendas. Send clear, written log-in instructions in case you’re unavailable to answer questions.

Engaged:

Encourage chat communication and webcam lunch breaks. Implement team chat rooms and encourage team members to share highpoints, solutions, and tips throughout the week.

Healthy:

Promote self-care strategies, including when to log-off, take breaks, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and have fun.

Here are examples that you can do to add an element of fun to your WFH teams:

  • What is that on your head day?
  • Sunglasses Day
  • Wear Your Brightest Shirt Day
  • What’s on your neck day?
  • What happened to your hair day?
STEP 6: Being the Coach

STEP 6: Being the Coach

Eight out of 10 managers say they’re supporting their employees’ physical and emotional health, but only 46% of workers believe their organization is doing enough to help them with their well-being.15

Creating a coaching mindset can help keep your team focused on the game. What does it mean to be a coach? It means focusing on pushing your team to raise the bar on their performance, pushing them to stay in top shape, encouraging them to use the best equipment, and pushing them to the finish line every single day.

Be the coach your team needs to succeed. Make sure to:

Pay It Forward

Be extra kind. Thank the team for what they do to support each other and the company.

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

Motivation Matters

  • Connect with purpose. Tie purpose back to growth, customers, and quality. Invite a client you’ve served to join a meeting and share their experience.
  • Give recognition liberally. Let everyone know how important they are to you and the organization.
  • Be timely, specific, proportional, sincere, and make it visible.
  • Talk about what you can control, not what you can’t. A crisis has many components you can’t control. Listen to problems, doubts, and fears, but focus on creating solutions and moving forward.

Want some more ideas on how to be a better coach for your teams? Check out our remote team Fun Kit and Focus Kit.

Invest In People

Continue to track professional milestones and accomplishments. Encourage the team to seek out courses that will deepen their existing skill sets or motivate them to reach higher. If your company has a Learning Management System, recognize team members for taking advantage of its library of professional development and upskilling courses.

Together, let’s sustain thriving focused teams

Together, let’s sustain thriving focused teams

AppleOne focuses on the productivity of every assignment. That means we have proven protocols in place for supervising remotely, keeping talent engaged, and interviewing for workfrom-home and onsite caliber candidates.

This includes:

  • Workstation and WFH feasibility review
  • Attendance check-ins
  • Accountability checklist
  • Team building activities
  • Staying focused kit
  • Manager satisfaction QC process
  • Documented 1-on-1’s and coaching

We’re experts at hybrid and remote team leadership practices. We’d be happy to share the ways we lead and support hybrid teams.