When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in early 2020, many employees who could perform their jobs (or parts of their jobs) from home began working remotely either all or some of the time. As hybrid work continues in 2022, leaders are looking ahead and trying to imagine what the future of the hybrid workplace might look like.
In a recent study of 133 unique organizations with hybrid teams, ATD asked particpants why their organization had chosen to incorporate hybrid teams over fully traditional or fully remote teams. The number 1 response was safety precautions (75 percent) and the second was improved employee satisfaction and retention (67 percent).
The study also examined the challenges with hybrid teams, with the concern of potential loss of collaboration and teamwork (75 percent) as the top barrier and concerns about potential productivity drops as the second (43 percent).
Key FindingsSeveral key findings emerged from this research:
- The top driver of hybrid team use was the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, only 20 percent of managers oversaw hybrid teams, while today the number is 69 percent.
- Hybrid teams are expected to continue in the postpandemic future. Among the participants, 47 percent expected their use of hybrid teams to stay the same five years from now.
- Providing teams with basic tools to succeed in the virtual environment is crucial. About a quarter of organizations did not provide employees with virtual meeting room software, and those organizations were less likely to be high performers.
- Organizations that provided hybrid team managers with manager training that covered both traditional and virtual employees were more likely to be high performers. Training for managers on team building in a hybrid setting was associated with better organizational performance, which was consistent with the finding that the biggest skills gap for hybrid team managers was in team building.
- Training employees in hybrid teams on how to collaborate and communicate in a hybrid setting was associated with a higher likeliood of being a high peformer as was training on leveraging technology tools to work more effecitvely in a hybrid setting.
- Keep asking questions and remain flexible. Policies regarding hybrid teams tend to be extremely new at most organziations and are subject to change. Therefore, organizations should monitor employee feedback and be flexible to changing their policies.
- Don’t leave teams to figure out technology on their own. Organizations that provided hybrid teams with virtual meeting room software were much more likely to be high performers.
- Focus on team-building skills. Organizations were more likely to be high performers when providing managers with training on building hybrid teams and providing employees with training on how to collaborate in a hybrid setting.