6 Ways to Enable Collaboration in the Age of Hybrid Work


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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

In the age of hybrid work, our approach to team collaboration and motivating and engaging employees must change.

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6 Ways to Enable Collaboration in the Age of Hybrid Work
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The Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index shows overwhelming positivity towards hybrid working, with 73% of respondents wanting great flexibility in their work and employers adopting hybrid models to satisfy this. However, with hybrid work comes a new challenge.

Managers today contend with increasingly disparate teams running on different platforms and technologies. WeWork found working from home has led to a decline in employees’ ability to meet and brainstorm by up to 15%, and employers need to find solutions to this. Collaboration is more difficult, but it’s an challenge you can face head-on with the right approach.

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Improving collaboration in your hybrid workforce

Supporting a hybrid workforce relies upon you fully committing to the hybrid approach. The hybrid working model isn’t based on some people working from home for a while and then returning to the office. Instead, the remote work element of their working week is as formalized as the time they spend in the office. Let’s look at six effective ways of boosting and enabling employee collaboration with a hybrid workforce.

1. Provide a platform for success

The hybrid working model is hard to implement without an effective communication and collaboration platform. Employees should be able to log in and access their work—wherever they are. This creates a seamless experience between remote and in-office periods.

Likewise, wherever they may be, team members know there’s a single location for all work activity, from meetings and informal chats to filesharing and document management.

RingCentral MVP allows hybrid employees to work from anywhere, with team messaging, video conferencing, businesses phones, and integratiosn with third-party apps—all in a single platform.

2. Encourage social and informal communications

When working on-site, your employees have ample opportunity to chat, engage in small talk, and socially interact throughout the day. Whether it’s two minutes at the photocopier or sitting down for lunch, the opportunities for social communication are ever-present. In distributed and hybrid teams, these opportunities are lost.

For an engaged and collaborative workforce, it’s important to be proactive and create opportunities for casual and social communication throughout the working day. Management can facilitate this in a number of ways, such as:

  • Arriving slightly late for and leaving video meetings early, giving employees a chance to chat with each other
  • Schedule fun, informal team-building activities such as quizzes and competitions
  • Opening a group chat channel solely for social and casual purposes, a place where employees can chat, share personal stories or even memes and other fun, everyday communications

Hybrid workers can quickly disengage and feel isolated from the office, so it’s important to give them the tools to remain connected.

3. Rethink meeting formats and strategies

Team meetings should always have a video element, ensuring any employee not present in person can still be involved. Meetings should be designed to be fair for everyone, and this involves rethinking aspects of your traditional meeting setup. Digital platforms should be used for sharing ideas and content rather than whiteboards, and many organizations also ensure there’s a virtual meeting coordinator or leader managing any technical problems.

There may be some initial problems, but with the right technology and time set aside to properly understand and utilize it effectively, remote employees can feel fully involved and connected rather than isolated from important meetings.

4. Foster inter-team communications

Maximizing the creativity and collaboration within your hybrid workforce means helping to inspire and stoke their ideas. Strengthening inter-team communications is a powerful way of adding more perspectives and possibilities into the mix. In addition, encouraging inter-team communications shows your employees how other departments may have amazing ideas they can work with and build upon.

Practical measures for driving inter-team communications include regular whole company-wide meetings or actively getting certain teams together in group chats for brainstorming and idea scoping sessions.

There is, of course, the challenge of pinning down a time when everyone is available, but this leads to our next point, leveraging the power of asynchronous communications and collaborations.

5. Leverage asynchronous collaboration

Asynchronous work simply relies upon workers completing tasks to their own flexible timetable. It may not align with their colleagues, and while this can seem counterproductive for collaboration, it can be very successful. Asynchronous communication allows for more diverse and inclusive input into any given project. It ensures employees’ voices are heard even if they aren’t present in the workplace or can’t commit to specifically timed meetings.

Reliable communications tools and platforms are vital to maximizing the potential of asynchronized communications and collaboration. Deadlines are also important to make the most of asynchronous collaboration and work. Everyone can get involved by a set end date, with no pressure to be available for specific meetings, times, or dates.

6. Trust your people

Hybrid working models are built upon trust, so firstly, you need to trust your employees. Once you have provided them with the toolkit they need and offered easy access to communication and support, they need to feel you trust their abilities to be proactive and productive in their work. Random, casual workplace chats aren’t quite so straightforward with remote employees, so trust is very important for your hybrid model to succeed.

To build trust, you need a system of accountability within your working model. This means ensuring you schedule regular check-ins with your employees. These chats should relate to their work but also their general well-being. It’s vital to ensure you’re available and responsive. This sets a standard and shows your employees that you expect the same from them.

Hybrid work is still in its infancy for many organizations. Adapting and transitioning should be a gradual process. Your focus should be on ensuring your people feel connected, confident in their work, and able to communicate and collaborate effectively, both on-site and from remote locations. You can optimize the hybrid work environment as it evolves and find the most effective methods of collaboration for your team. The first step is showing you’re committed to this new approach to work.

Further reading


RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG) is a global provider of cloud enterprise unified communications and collaboration solutions. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise systems, RingCentral empowers today’s mobile and distributed workforces to be connected anywhere and on any device through voice, video, team messaging, collaboration, SMS, conferencing, online meetings, contact center, and fax. RingCentral provides an open platform that integrates with today’s leading business apps while giving customers the flexibility to customize their own workflows.


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