Remote work has gained traction over recent years, leading many employees to wish for any form of at-home work. According to the U.S. Career Institute, 54 percent of people prefer having a fully remote job, 41 percent want a hybrid arrangement, and the remaining five percent would instead work full-time in the office. The emergence of new work setups has also changed colleague relationships.

Fostering good relationships in hybrid workspaces creates a cohesive and productive environment. When the current work arrangement splits the employees between the office and remote locations, the sense of unity within the team might be challenged. After all, we all know strong work relationships serve as the foundation for harmony within the team.

So, what else makes fostering good relations between hybrid teams crucial? In this article, we’ll explore more of it in depth.

Hybrid Workforce

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Importance of Promoting Work Relationships

Making conscious decisions and actions to establish good relationships within a hybrid team benefits the company. Not only does it bridge the physical gap by establishing trust, but it also connects distant colleagues through communication and shared goals. Together, everyone gets to come up with innovative solutions and support each other.

When managers and department heads try to connect remote and on-site employees, they encourage engagement and belongingness. This sense of community increases job satisfaction, leading to high retention rates and a positive company reputation. Cultivating positive work relationships in hybrid settings forges a harmonious and resilient work dynamic.

How To Create Valuable Bonds in a Hybrid Workforce

Hybrid settings have become a cornerstone for promoting productivity and team collaboration. With the blend of in-office and remote work, the value of building strong bonds within teams cannot be overstated. 

Here are effective strategies to create meaningful connections and a cohesive work environment across all locations. These strategies are designed to bridge the gap between digital and physical spaces.

Make communication intentional

Intentional communication is the foundation for fostering positive and healthy relationships between team members. It’s easy to exchange a casual greeting in the hallway or break room when you’re in the office. However, doing the same thing is challenging when colleagues share different spaces. This is where intentional communication comes in.

Creating opportunities for office workers to interact with their remote and rotating counterparts can change the game. You can make these opportunities possible by practicing the following:

Plan routine meetings

Making it clear that anyone and everyone on the team can contact each other creates a communication baseline. Establishing that conversations aren’t just limited to formal work chat can make the team more open to casual discourse with each other.

Regular meetings and events can help colleagues bond. The initiative to do so must always come from the heads of each team. They’re the ones who can set an example that constant communication can become the norm for the team.

Shared communication spaces

What’s one of the best ways to connect on-site and remote employees? You can create shared spaces where they can communicate with each other. Providing your team with different communication channels allows everyone to convey themselves effectively.

People who prefer video meetings can emulate the expression and real-time exchange of real-life conversations. Others would instead leave comments on a group channel. Having various communication channels is vital for your team to reach out through a method they’re comfortable with.

Place importance on listening

Clarity in communication should always be observed with any team, and it’s even more crucial in hybrid settings. That’s why it’s vital to prioritize listening and understanding each other. Create a culture where you are expected to ask for clarification and confirm matters with each other. This approach ensures that all of your team members are on the same page.

When colleagues have good relationships, any miscommunication can be cleared up. Team members must be heard and understood to achieve common work goals.

Promote a community made for hybrid teams

Because of their hybrid work, on-site and remote employees tend to separate themselves from their counterparts. Even if member rotation is part of the routine, this distinction of “us” and “them” still occurs. As such, content heads and managers must reconcile this fundamental difference.

Separation in communication is the root of this distinction. You can counter this by establishing work relationships that break down this border. Promoting a sense of belonging and community between team members is imperative. This allows them to connect and avoids communication channels exclusive to on-site or remote workers.

Make socializations exciting

Socialization is fundamental to unity within the team. Encouraging your members to socialize can foster this sense of camaraderie. You can do so by initiating topics unrelated to work, making a joke or two, and suggesting hanging out outside of work. These social interactions can act as the glue that binds your group together.

Create a virtual water cooler

Before introducing the hybrid work setting, sharing lunch during lunch breaks was the norm for employees. Its absence means missed opportunities to form friendships. You can remedy this by creating a space where on-site and remote team members can hang out together. Consider this a virtual water cooler.

What topics can they discuss during breaks? They could get to know each other better by asking about what concerts they’ve gone to recently. They could even swap stories and strategies about fitness, such as the effects of intermittent fasting or visible carnivore diet results. Their discourse can be about anything and everything that connects them.

One of the main communication channels widely used nowadays for this purpose is Slack or Discord. On these platforms, colleagues often share memes or tidbits about their weekends. Promoting a casual and safe environment for socialization will encourage people to open up easily.

Aim to have in-person meetings

Although it’s not necessarily a requirement, attending in-person team events can help colleagues bond quickly and easily. Meeting in person allows team members to build genuine human connections and friendships. This creates a ripple effect on the department since the team dynamic improves significantly, allowing your members to work together seamlessly.

Tapping Into the Potential of a Hybrid Workforce

Active collaboration combats the isolation created by a hybrid work setting. By strategizing how your team members can interact beyond the virtual realm, you can establish trust and forge a bond that commonly occurs within office spaces. The hybrid workforce doesn’t have to dampen the team spirit between colleagues. You can even make the most of it with the right tools and strategies.

Valuable relationships can blossom even across the digital divide. Initiate the conversation and create spaces for the team to know each other and work together. You’ll inevitably see how these simple steps can result in lasting friendships and a work environment that fosters an unparalleled sense of community.