As employees begin returning to the office, the hybrid work model seems to make sense for a lot of organizations and their employees. Employees experience greater flexibility, spend less time commuting, and enjoy improved work-life balance. At the same time, businesses reap the benefits of healthier, more engaged, and more productive workers and lower overhead costs. In other words, hybrid promises the best of both worlds.
But a mixed workforce of in-house and remote employees also introduces challenges.
In-office employees tend to have more opportunities than remote team members such as:
- More face-to-face time with leadership
- Organic network and collaboration opportunities
- Camaraderie that comes from working with a team in person
If leaders don’t take active steps to level the playing field, remote workers can feel out of the loop and disengaged. As businesses make the transition to a hybrid model, ensuring fair-for-all opportunities between team members must be a priority.
But building a hybrid workspace where all feel welcomed and empowered to participate requires the right tools. In this article, we will cover key challenges hybrid teams face plus discuss team collaboration apps that can level the playing field while driving performance.
Collaboration challenges for hybrid teams
Effective communication and collaboration is the foundation of a high-performing team. When people are distributed across multiple locations—and sometimes even time zones—those lines of communication break down more easily and collaboration becomes more difficult.
For instance, hybrid teams often work on asynchronous schedules, sometimes making it more difficult for coworkers to stay on the same page and move forward efficiently. Plus, employees working in-office often have more resources available to them. This includes a stronger infrastructure to support their work, such as more robust technology, equipment, and desk setups compared to their at-home coworkers.
Hybrid work models can also lead to an “us and them” mentality, where an unintentional hierarchy emerges with in-office employees at the top and remote workers at the bottom. In other words, remote workers fall “out of sight, out of mind.”
That’s why it’s so important to build the right workflows and team collaboration tools into your hybrid model. With the right resources, you can ensure your entire team has access to the tools and support they need to collaborate successfully from anywhere.
5 collaboration apps for hybrid teams
While collaboration across hybrid teams introduces unique challenges, all you need are the right tools to overcome those challenges. Here are five apps that can help you leverage the benefits of the hybrid work model and create a positive experience for your team.
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to collaborating with in-office and remote team members is providing opportunities for face-to-face interaction. Communicating face-to-face adds a level of trust and allows for real-time creativity as team members meet and discuss ideas.
With Zoom you can:
- Host regular team meetings to check in on priorities and assignments and celebrate employee wins.
- Use the chat feature to take notes, share ideas, and track multiple discussion threads with meeting participants.
- Use breakout rooms to split the team into smaller groups for specific assignments or separate brainstorm sessions before coming back together to share your ideas.
- Make presentations accessible with the share screen feature so everyone can follow along no matter where they’re located.
Slack helps teams stay connected and on track by bringing your work communication together in one place. Slack is especially useful for hybrid and distributed teams who need a communication tool that can support both real-time and asynchronous collaboration.
Slack organizes your workplace communications through discussion threads called channels. Use channels for team check-ins, project management, water cooler chats, and even employee appreciation threads. Slack has robust capabilities and integrations like automated meeting reminders so you don’t miss an opportunity to connect with your team.
Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite
Another challenge of remote collaboration is setting standardized systems and processes that everyone follows and has access to. Lucidchart offers a place to present data, document processes, and map workflows.
Teams can use Lucidchart to visualize systems and processes so everyone can quickly get on the same page. When everyone can see the moving parts of a project or process, teams can more easily align and move forward with confidence.
Plus, with added transparency comes more opportunity for team members to share input or own different parts of a process.
Lucidspark is a virtual whiteboard where teams can come together to bring their best ideas to life. With collaborative features like chat, voting, a timer, and more, everyone has a chance to share their ideas in real time and have their voice heard. Even if someone doesn’t present in front of the group during a meeting, they’ll still have a chance to join a brainstorm and impact decision-making.
Asana is a robust project management platform that allows for teams to track deadlines, view outstanding tasks, and communicate about projects.
Whether coworkers are on the same team or work in different departments, whether they work in-office or remotely, everyone can see the status of projects and chime in where needed.
Tie the hybrid workplace together with digital solutions
Collaboration works best when everyone is included in the process—don’t miss out on great ideas by excluding your remote employees.
Ensure a successful hybrid team by creating a digital-first mindset. Host discussions, meetings, information, and documentation in a digital format so everyone has equal access and a chance to give input. With the right team collaboration software, you can create a workplace that is more fair and built for long-term success.
Want to try Lucidchart with your hybrid team?Sign up now
Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidchart.com.