New Rules for Successful Hybrid Teams

New Rules for Successful Hybrid Teams
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The rules have changed. What used to work for you as an employee, as a manager, or as an organization isn’t going to work anymore. 

Today on the podcast we have Vice President of User Experience at RingCentral, Michael Peachey. Michael has been at the forefront of Human Centered Design, especially looking at how teams collaborate from anywhere. In this episode, we explore the rules that change and your new responsibilities as an organization, a team leader, a team member.

If you’re remote, or if you’re on a hybrid team in the office, you need to go out of your way to connect to your team. It’s always been an obligation, but it’s now more crucial for you to take on that responsibility so that you can thrive as you Team Anywhere. As teams continue to evolve, follow these simple rules to help you succeed as a hybrid team.

Fully Appreciate & Design Around Reality

Great designers begin by fully appreciating reality. When it comes to designing the dynamic of teams and jobs, the more realistic you can be, the better. The reality is that many people have tasted remote work, and don’t want to go back into the office. Also, there are some people who will always want to work in the office full time. The reality is that people are different, they have different needs, desires and excel in different ways. Sometimes that’s a remote position, sometimes that’s an in-office position. 

Leaders need to fully appreciate and design around that reality rather than saying things like, “If you want New York salary, you need to be in NYC.” A great designer will figure out how to make a hybrid environment work. With this in mind, companies have an economic advantage to hiring from anywhere. The companies that appreciate and design around reality are going to get better employees and outcompete their competitors. 

Focus MORE on Strengthening Relationships

Michael believes that collaboration doesn’t matter. Connecting matters. If you connect, you’ll automatically collaborate. His connection-first rule for hybrid teams is focused on three levels.

As a Leader:

A leader’s main focus is getting their team members to perform at their best. And to get the most out of your people, you need to connect. 

Successful leadership today has more to do with focusing on outcomes rather than worrying about what everyone is doing. If someone is not connecting, leaders need to reach out. For example, in meetings, some people are not comfortable with sharing ideas. If the leader can connect with their team members and ask people to share their ideas who are typically hesitant, they are going to get the most out of their team. This is especially true if they are remote employees. Giving your employees the right tools to connect and collaborate is going to set them up for success.

As a Team:

In a hybrid meeting, particularly a larger one, assign a specific person on the team in the office who is responsible for making sure the remote people are engaged. This person has the authority to interrupt and advocate for the remote employees. This keeps remote attendees connected, engaged and participating. 

As a Team member:

In today’s work environment, most people don’t get work done all by themselves. Most of us have to work with other people. Folks don’t necessarily love attending meetings, but well-run meetings increase engagement, collaboration, and communication. 

As a team member, you need to recognize that you need connection for social and emotional nurturing. Work relationships are important. The people you work with are an important part of your social and emotional systems. 

Think about how you are nurturing yourself, your relationships with your remote team members, and your team members who are in the office.

Foster a Remote-First Culture

A common belief is that remote workers have to work harder because of the very reason that they are remote. But the reality is that the entire hybrid team has to work harder. The rules of working have changed, and what worked in the office pre-COVID, isn’t going to work right now. 

The team members in the office need to remember that their team isn’t just the people in the office. All team members also need to recognize and appreciate that they are not as smart by themselves as they could be with their team. 

It’s the responsibility of all team members to connect with each other and especially important to create a culture that recognizes and values remote workers equally. This could mean that in-office team members have to work just as hard to create connection between them and the remote team members. One of the best ways to foster a ‘remote first’ culture, is to create and follow a strong hybrid meeting etiquette.

Create and Follow a Strong Hybrid Meeting Etiquette

Your hybrid meetings need to have a clear purpose and an agreed upon agenda. This allows all stakeholders to understand what the meeting is about, and also opens the floor for all members to contribute to a relevant agenda. Hybrid meetings need to still be virtual meetings by using a video conferencing system and virtual collaboration tools. 

And most importantly, after the hybrid meeting is over, if you’re in the office, Don’t have a meeting in the office after the virtual meeting . That’s the dangerous trap that creates inequality on a hybrid team. If you’re going to communicate about the meeting after the meeting, it’s important to communicate where all the team members are present in your team chat area. 

About Michael Peachey

Throughout his career, Michael has created value for investors and enterprises by bridging the chasm between excellence in design and excellence in development, in the real world of prioritization and business trade-offs. Over the last 20 years, Michael’s focus has been on building (or rebuilding) enterprise scale, consumer grade, global design and product teams.

Michael is currently VP UX for RingCentral in Belmont, CA, where he leads a global team responsible for their complete line of CPaaS products. At RNG, Michael built a global team of 80+, starting with a handful of designers. Michael introduced Research, Design Operations and Content strategy practices, built web and mobile design systems shared by UX/Dev, rebuilt the core desktop Message+Voice+Video app on a modern UI architecture, and rebuilt the iOS and Android mobile applications, both of which enjoy a 4.5+ user rating.

Prior, Michael was VP UX and Executive Producer at Sumologic, delivering centralized log management and cloud-based unstructured data analytics at scale for developers, DevOps, IT Ops and SecOps teams.

Previously, as VP and Executive Producer of UX for TIBCO, Michael built a +80 person global team responsible for TIBCO products and customer mobile applications including the Golden State Warriors and the Oakland Raiders. Michael led several product teams, including Formvine, a cloud PaaS initiative he built from concept to revenue in 18 months.

To learn more about new rules for successful hybrid teams, download this episode now.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

Hybrid Work Quotes:

  • successful hybrid teams
  • successful hybrid teams
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