As the world continues to adapt to the realities of a post-Covid era, so do hybrid work teams. When it comes to IT, it doesn’t matter whether you support split work weeks or fully remote work setups. What’s important is realizing that some form of hybrid work is here to stay, and in order to remain competitive, organizations must be prepared to digitally support the networking needs of hybrid work in a way that is agile, scalable, cost-effective, and secure.
Moreover, leadership must go beyond aligning on company policy and invest in developing hybrid protocols that support different types of hybrid roles within their organization. Bottom line: while we know hybrid teams can be incredibly effective, managing them effectively is essential to ensure they reach their full potential.
Enter Teridion’s NaaS platform – a solution designed to improve communication, application flow, files, and workloads for hybrid and remote teams. In this blog post, we’ll explore the rise of hybrid teams, the benefits and challenges associated with them, best practices for managing them, and how Teridion’s NaaS platform can help.
What is a hybrid team?
First things first: definitions. A hybrid team is one that combines both remote and on-site workers or workers that alternate between remote and on-site work throughout the week. It is a type of distributed workforce, in which team members are located in multiple locations, often across different countries or even continents.
The rise of hybrid work teams has been enabled by the advancement of modern technology and skyrocketed by necessity during the Covid pandemic. This type of global team management requires tools and platforms for effective remote collaboration and is achieved through the use of cloud-based storage and other online services which allow companies to easily connect and access the data and software tools they need.
There are many notable examples of companies with hybrid work teams. Some went all-in on hybrid or remote work at the height of the pandemic but then tightened up their policies. Others have retained their flexible policies. Microsoft is one of the more notable examples of a multinational corporation that has adopted a hybrid work model and is very open about its plans for the future of work. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that he believes the future of work will be “hybrid first,” and the company is investing heavily in its hybrid work infrastructure.
Other companies with successful hybrid policies include AirBnB, Slack, Zendesk, Spotify, and Zoom.
The benefits and challenges of hybrid and remote teams
Hybrid teams offer a range of benefits for businesses looking to expand their reach, tap into new talent pools, and increase productivity. By providing access to talent from around the world who may not be available locally, hybrid work structures allow companies to capitalize on skills and resources that would otherwise be unavailable and maximizes the potential for innovative solutions and creative problem-solving.
Working with remote employees is also cost-effective since organizations don’t have to physically relocate staff and can save on costs associated with office space, as well as travel expenses. Additionally, working with remote employees often leads to increased efficiency and productivity due to reduced commute times, more flexible working hours, and the associated morale boost which these benefits bring to the work environment.
There are, however, a number of challenges that come along with managing hybrid teams. Poor communication is still one of the most common issues that arise when trying to coordinate multiple remote workers in different locations. Without regular face-to-face contact it can be difficult for managers to ensure tasks are being completed according to deadlines or expectations. Technology issues such as poor internet connection or inadequate hardware can further impede collaboration.
From disparate communication platforms to varying levels of technical knowledge among team members, managing hybrid teams requires a nuanced approach that takes into account both remote and in-office employees alike. Communication must be easy and efficient; workloads must be balanced appropriately among all members; files must be shared securely between locations; and applications must flow smoothly between these various branches of the organization.
Lastly, while access to talent from around the world is an advantage in itself, cultural differences between team members may also present challenges by causing misunderstandings or lack of clarity during conversations. Building and sustaining trust in hybrid team environments requires deliberate and dedicated effort.
Best practices for managing a hybrid team
If you are considering adopting a hybrid work model for your company, these are some of the things you can do to make it successful:
Communicate effectively with employees. As members are separated geographically, it can be difficult to stay connected and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Keep employees updated on the company’s hybrid work policy including periodic insights that evolve over time. Make sure all team members have the information they need to be successful.
Customize hybrid protocols to match the needs of different roles and teams. While everyone requires reliable, secure connectivity, regardless of where or how they work, hybrid is not a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, strategic work demands longer stretches of uninterrupted focus that are less tied to a specific location and product innovation requires more in-person collaboration.
Invest in the right technology and infrastructure. This includes providing employees with the latest laptops, tablets, and smartphones, as well as access to reliable, secure, high-speed internet to and from all locations where team members are dispersed. You will also need to invest in tools for collaboration, including smooth voice and video connections.
Create a culture that supports both remote and in-person work. Managers should facilitate trust-building between remote and onsite employees by encouraging frequent feedback sessions and providing opportunities for open dialogue. Focus on creating a culture where everyone feels heard and valued regardless of their location or role within the organization. This includes investing time in getting to know remote employees by scheduling regular check-ins via video calls or virtual meetings in order to build relationships.
Evaluate performance to track progress over time and identify areas that need improvement. By utilizing metrics such as project completion rates, customer satisfaction ratings, employee engagement scores etc., managers can gain insights into how well their teams are performing against established goals and objectives set out at the beginning of the project cycle.
Be patient and flexible. It takes time to transition to a hybrid work model. Be patient with employees as they adjust to the new way of working, and be flexible with your expectations.
What will hybrid work look like in the future?
As remote work becomes more prevalent, companies are recognizing its potential for cost savings and improved efficiency, while also recognizing that hybrid teams require additional tools and strategies for successful management. In the future, hybrid working will look a lot different than it does now as technology continues to evolve.
One of the most significant changes in hybrid team management will be an increased focus on automation. Automation can help to streamline tasks, improve communication, and foster collaboration, all of which are important for successful hybrid teams. For example, automation can be used to manage project tasks and deadlines, collect and analyze data, and track employee productivity so managers can free up their time to focus on more strategic and creative work. In addition, automation can help to improve communication and collaboration between hybrid teams.
Furthermore, AI-powered technologies such as facial recognition software will become more commonplace in hybrid working environments. These technologies can be used to detect the emotions of remote workers during meetings or presentations which can help managers better understand their team members’ mental states and uncover any hidden issues or concerns that may need to be addressed.
Finally, in the future we expect to see advances in virtual reality (VR) technology being used for collaboration between geographically dispersed teams. VR will allow members of a hybrid team to meet virtually with realistic simulations of office spaces providing a more immersive experience than traditional video conferencing solutions currently available. This could help bridge cultural differences between remote workers from different countries while also creating a sense of camaraderie among employees who may never have met face-to-face otherwise. As new advancements in technology allow us to overcome many of the challenges associated with managing distributed teams, hybrid working looks brighter than ever before!
How can Teridion help?
No matter how hybrid work will adapt to match the evolution of technology, one thing is certain: keeping up will require powerful and reliable connectivity across the global internet backbone.
Teridion’s Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform is a cutting-edge solution that can help global enterprises effectively manage hybrid teams by enabling high-performance internet speeds for efficient collaboration and communication between members regardless of geographic location—including to and from China. With Teridion, IT teams can easily monitor, manage, and analyze the performance, availability, and security of computer networks in real time, without integrating any expensive hardware or changing their existing network infrastructure.
As a cloud-native solution, Teridion’s AI-powered route detection allows businesses to accelerate to the cloud seamlessly and connects hundreds of points of presence and 25 cloud service providers such as Amazon, Azure, and Google, through an agile network architecture.
Real world case studies show how effective Teridion’s NaaS platform is in providing reliable connectivity for globally dispersed teams. Take for example network performance for a Teridion customer with teams in India and Europe, measured against Teridion’s service level agreement for latency, packet loss, and throughput optimization.
Latency is the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from one point to another in a network. It is measured in milliseconds (ms) and is also known as “ping time.” It is an important factor in network performance, as a higher latency can lead to slower connections and increased timeouts.
In our India-Europe example, Teridion delivered a maximum latency of 190ms compared to 250ms without Teridion.
Packet loss is measured as a percentage of packets sent across the network that fail to arrive. Packet loss can have a significant impact on the performance of network applications, particularly those that rely on real-time communication.
In our India-Europe example, Teridion reduced the monthly average packet loss from 0.3% to 0.01%.
Throughput optimization improves the speed and efficiency of a network or system by making adjustments to the architecture, protocols, or algorithms used. This is done to ensure that the network or system is able to handle more tasks and data at a higher rate in a shorter amount of time. The goal of throughput optimization is to maximize the amount of data that can be processed within a system or network at any given time.
In our India-Europe example, Teridion increased throughput optimization by a scale of 10.
With powerful network performance regardless of geographic location, it is no surprise that more and more companies are turning to Teridion’s innovative solution for managing their distributed workforce.