As organisations consider what the post-pandemic world of work might look like, many are planning increased options for remote working. A recent survey of 100 leaders across industries and geographies reported that nine out of ten organisations will be embracing a hybrid model in which employees work both remotely and in the office. They expect that employees whose roles aren’t essential to perform on-site will be in the office for one to four days per week.
Meanwhile, many employees are feeling anxious about post-pandemic working arrangements and there’s a call for leaders to communicate regularly, even if plans aren’t yet fully formed and written into policy and guidelines. Managing employee’s anxiety during this transition will be critical to avoid deterioration in work performance, job satisfaction and employee engagement that might otherwise ensue.
So, what does this mean for teams and leaders?
As many organisations transition to hybrid working, team leaders have never been so important in supporting the wellbeing and engagement of their employees. Managers affect 70% of how employees engage, and the skills of managers has been highlighted as a key concern in a recent survey of HR leaders and decision makers.
Whilst working from home has become the norm in this past year, the shift to hybrid working will bring new challenges as some employees work from the office and others are at home. Without deliberate attention to what this change means for teams, it might be easy to assume that they continue with the same modus operandi. Doing so might severely disadvantage those team members who are in the office less often or at a different time than the boss, for example, missing out on those informal conversations about ‘what’s going on round here’ that so often lead to people connecting the dots and generating new ideas that support their productivity.
Perhaps surprisingly, some organisations have seen increased productivity during the pandemic and those are ones that have supported connections between colleagues, such as opportunities to discuss projects, share ideas, network, mentor and coach. Proactively creating space for these interactions will be key to sustained (or even increased) productivity in hybrid teams.
As such, the CIPD has identified the need to support effective team working and cohesion in hybrid teams as a key step for the successful introduction of hybrid working. As a new concept for many managers, they may not be skilled in navigating these changes alone and companies need to consider how they support managers to lead their teams as they start to return to the workplace.
How Can Systemic Team Coaching Help Leaders and Teams As They Transition To Hybrid Working?
Systemic Team Coaching can support managers and bring significant benefits for hybrid teams as they make this transition.
As outlined recently by The Leadership Coaches in ‘How To Look At Your Team Performance Systemically’, Systemic Team Coaching is defined as “a process by which a team coach works with a whole team, both when they are together and when they are apart, in order to help them improve both their collective performance and how they work together, and also how they develop their collective leadership to engage with all their key stakeholder groups more effectively to jointly transform the wider business”.
At the Leadership Coaches, we have experienced coaches with expertise in Systemic Team Coaching who can support teams as they shift to hybrid working. This might involve the following:
The Inquiry Stage
The coach holds interviews with team members and stakeholders designed to answer key questions such as:
How has the team been working in the past few months? What is working well and what are the pain points?
How does the team culture support the team in meeting their objectives? What needs to change?
What are the spoken and unspoken ways of working in the team? What needs to change as the team move to hybrid working?
Co-Creating New Ways of Working
Review of data collected during the Inquiry Stage is the starting point for team discussions. The coach facilitates a review of effective team practices and gaps identified, supporting and challenging the team to go beyond their usual ways of thinking and conversing. The coach supports the team in identifying what the challenges of hybrid working might be and developing ideas for effective team working to try out in these early stages.
Throughout these discussions, the coach objectively observes and provides feedback on the interpersonal and team dynamics that might be helping or hindering the team’s effectiveness. As an independent player, the coach can support the team to have difficult conversations, working through any dynamics that are in the way of team success, helping them to adopt and experiment with new behaviours and ways of interacting.
Hybrid working is new for many teams and it will take time to settle into a new rhythm that enables effective team working. Within the boundaries of the team agreements, individuals will also need to work out their own hybrid working arrangements, taking into account their unique personal circumstances and preferences. These early stages will be a period of individual and team experimentation, during which time the coach can help the team to reflect on what they’re learning, to integrate this into their ways of working or adapt further. The ability to be dynamic and agile as they navigate these changing times will be key to the success of a team.
Contact Us Today
Is your team moving to hybrid working and ready to start exploring how they can be most effective as they do so?
For a complimentary consultation with Director of Coaching Zoe Lewis, give us a call on 0800 345 7727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Leadership Coach Sue Gammons
Hawkins P, Leadership Team Coaching, Kogan Page, 2017