Effective Virtual Collaboration for Hybrid and Remote Teams (Video & Podcast)

8 min read

It’s important to adapt your organization’s culture for virtual collaboration in order to thrive after the pandemic. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes best practices for effective virtual collaboration for hybrid and remote teams.


Video: “Effective Virtual Collaboration for Hybrid and Remote Teams”



Podcast: “Effective Virtual Collaboration for Hybrid and Remote Teams”



Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today we’ll talk about making the wisest and most profitable decisions on effective virtual collaboration for hybrid and remote teams. Now, as you might know, the future is hybrid, that’s a phrase that’s used pretty often right now, given the impact of the pandemic, pretty impactful, pretty powerful. We’ve spent over 18 months working the vestment, those who can work from home, have spent that time working from home, especially with a Delta surge, more recently, have people who went to the office are coming back home. So we’ve seen that remote work has definitely been around for a long time, and companies are overwhelmingly planning to go hybrid. So up to 75% of employers plan to have hybrid schedules. This is led by large companies making the shift, you might think that oh, this is innovative, smaller, middle market companies are making the shift. Now we’re seeing large companies making the shift to traditional companies that simply are tech companies. I mean, I understand, you know, companies like Facebook and Dropbox are saying we’ll have remote work for as long as we want. And the rest will be for as many people as you want. We’re from the workforce. And we’ll have plenty of people working hybrid who want to come to the workplace, how much time they want. But we also have traditional companies, large companies making the switch like nationwide, a major insurance company where permanently there’s a switch to remote work for many workers, some divisions have up to 75% of their workers working full time remotely. The rest are coming in the hybrid schedule. We have manufacturing companies like Applied Materials, which have a high mostly hybrid schedule for the workers with some people working full time remotely. And we have plenty of other traditional companies targeted for example, its back office employees are coming in on a hybrid schedule. So we are seeing large companies making these permanent shifts, and where they have the large majority of their workforce coming in. On a hybrid schedule one, maybe two days a week, something like that. And the rest of it being fully remote, so a minority but a significant minority being fully remote. Now, a number of company leaders don’t want that they don’t want a hybrid schedule. They don’t want especially they don’t want the new employees fully remote, because they feel that their company culture really suffered. During the pandemic. It was really hard. It was a big problem. And they want everyone back together. They want teamwork. They want that collaboration. They want the company culture, that connection. Well, here’s what happened during covered lockdowns, the leaders of these companies forced office style collaboration on remote work. So office style collaboration. Now it’s natural that that happened in the lockdowns because people didn’t know any better, right? There were the lockdowns, the sudden, abrupt major. And so what happened? Well, you naturally used what you know it’s a there’s a cognitive bias called functional fixedness, where we impose the ways that we know how to do things on the rest of our contexts, new contexts or new solutions and new problems, we seek the same old solution, also called the hammer nail syndrome, with everything when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right? It’s natural for it to happen early onwards. But it’s very surprising that it continued to happen throughout the pandemic, that companies then figured out how to adapt strategically to virtual work. They kept imposing their enormous culture on virtual work, which of course leads to poor results of relatively few companies strategically advising the culture to adapt to the new normal of virtual work of full time remote work for these eight for 18 months when the pandemic was raging, and still continue with rage. So they achieved much better retention of employees and much better engagement of employees. Now, the reason we can use these old methods, these traditional methods in virtual collaboration, so why is that? Why can’t we use them? It seems natural, right? We know this way. That’s in office culture. Why can we use them? Well, because we crave connection, we want to feel connected to each other to have a community and office style collaboration is not really great for that sense of community. Now you’ve had those zoom happy hours, right? That is not great. If you’ve experienced them, usually managers force employees to come to them. There are only very few employees who actually enjoy zoom happy hours, managers force employees to come to them. And that’s because managers don’t have any other way of having social interaction. team building. And even those weekly meetings, you know, lots of employees are disengaged in those weekly meetings. And again, managers are trying to use the same techniques that they used in the office in the virtual workspace, and that just does not work very well. So layouts, team weekly meetings mostly don’t work well, those especially those zoom happy hours don’t work well. There’s a lot of problems with such dynamics. That’s why they often lead to telework burnout and zoom fatigue and people complaining, there are way too many meetings. Now there are surveys showing that over 80% of people who work remotely complain have way too many meetings. That’s because they just don’t work these zoom happy hours, these team meetings, that’s a big problem. So you need to figure out other ways of collaborating, effectively adapting your culture to this post pandemic normal, where it will be mostly hybrid with some fully remote. So that’s a hybrid first model, that’s what’s hybrid first, working on site once or more weekly, for most, mostly one day a week, that’s kind of will be the default for most people. Some people who need to do more collaboration will be coming in more often. But one day a week for most people, that will be the default, that’s going to be 70 to 90%. So I consulted for 16 companies and helped them adapt strategically to the future of work arrangements post pandemic. And that’s the word 15 of them adopted this schedule, this hybrid first model with 70 to 90% of the people being in the office, one day a week or something like that, and the rest, full time remote. So 10 to 30% are full time remote. And the percentage depends on what kind of company you are, you know, large manufacturing company. So there’s a fortune 200 company that’s a large high tech manufacturing company, they have much more of a culture of being present. I mean, some people have to be present because of manufacturing, right? Other people, but just because of this culture, tend to orient toward more of a tendency to come to the office, they have closer to 90% of the people coming being hybrid and 10%, fully remote. Other companies that provide more services or more software, high tech, they have more that I consulted for, they have more closer to the 70% figure. And one company out of that 15 chose to be a home centric company, meaning that the large majority of time that are working remotely, and then just if there’s a need for collaboration, a specific project collaboration that can have employees who choose to come to the office. So that’s going to be a home first model set remote first model. And again, people can there’s an office that people can still come to if they feel that they need to. So what do you need to do for that for both hybrid teams. So whether you’re coming into the office for a day or two week, or fully virtual teams, you’re not coming into the office, except me once a quarter for a team building retreat for both of those on for hybrid teams, and the days that they’re not coming to the office again, the days of they’re not coming for office, if you’re coming in one day, a week on Wednesday, it’ll be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and then the remote employees for everyday, you want to establish effective virtual format collaboration. So in a virtual format, you don’t want to use traditional office culture, and impose that on people’s collaborative activities in their own way, they bond with each other through teamwork and collaboration. So you want to discuss these changes and get by on three key points of virtual collaboration, which we’ll talk about. But again, you don’t want to just impose these, you just want to talk to people about it and say, here’s what we want to do. This seems like this is a best practice that has been adopted by a number of top companies, and you want to get their buy-in on these steps. But generally, here’s what you want to do. So there are going to be three techniques that I’ll talk about: three techniques for effective virtual collaboration, good for hybrid teams, on the days that they’re not in the office and remote teams all the time. So everyday, one is going to be water cooler conversations, water cooler conversations. So you want to replace those water cooler conversations, what managers try to do with the you know, with the zoom happy hours, you want to replace them, instead of using office style culture activities, you want to replace them with native virtual activities. And again, it’s important to do that to build that trust, maintain that person to person collection, and create good teamwork. You want to create a morning update for teams using collaboration software. So let’s say your Microsoft Teams, your Slack, your Trello, Asana, Monday’s, whatever you use, say Microsoft Teams, most new companies, the large majority of companies with which I worked, use that what they do is they create a channel So Microsoft Teams has channels, Trello has cards, whatever you have, for each team, each team that has six to eight people team, that sort of team arrangement. Each team has its own channel marked personal. So using a collaboration software, and then that channel, each team member responds to prompts on their work and life in the morning. So that prompts would be the general prompts were adopted is, how are you feeling right now? How is your personal life going? We’ll share something interesting about ourselves or the world that other people don’t know. And finally, what do you plan to focus on this day, and that’s going to be a morning check. So that’s a morning update. Now, the team members also respond to each other. So free other team members after they share this, this is a pretty brief activity, it takes five to 10 minutes, so it doesn’t take much time. And it’s very contributing to their engagement. Can people really like learning about these facts about the world or each other? They want to know what other people are doing. And it helps them to know what other people are doing with their personal life, and also helps them to know what they’re focusing on to work in case they want to collaborate in case they want to coordinate on things. You know what, it’s also very helpful for managers, because I’ve seen managers, those team leads, the supervisors get very anxious about whether their employees are even working at all, because they don’t necessarily know that they can see that and, you know, that employee might be sick or might be offering but it might be something weird going on. So it helps them address that and helps them leaders also get to know what’s going on with the employees in their personal life. And kind of reveal things, talk about things that might be issues, work life balance, stress that the employee might reveal, and they do reveal from our experience, consult my experience consulting for these companies in those chats. And that the manager can then talk to them about it through really very helpful, then. So that’s point one. The second point, you want to address diversity, equity inclusion, minorities tend to want more remote work than through white males. So there was a survey of white knowledge workers that found that 80% of white knowledge workers want substantial remote work, either hybrid or full time remote work. So 20% of them wanted to go back to the office Monday through Friday, nine to five. Now what about black knowledge workers, black knowledge workers, 97% of them wanted full time remote work, only 3% of them want to go back to the office full time. Why is that? Well, because they’re still facing microaggressions and discrimination back in the office. So that is very much a benefit for your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives to have some full time remote work. And the rest being fully hybrid that’s much more conducive to minorities of all sorts, and we’re talking about black people, we’re talking about all sorts of people, and especially people with disabilities who physically it’s much more difficult for them to come to the office. So you want to address as part of this, you do need to address digital discrimination, things like interruptions and privilege, lack of responses where those who have privilege tend to respond less frequently, or no longer time period for people who are minorities. So you want to assess that issues for service and then provide training to help address these issues of digital discrimination. And finally, you want to facilitate work-life balance, so you want to encourage people to have a good work-life balance while they work. That is why I strongly recommend for employees to be able and encouraged to take physical and mental breaks, not sit down at nine o’clock and get up at five o’clock, which unfortunately, some people tend to do without realizing how damaging it is for them. So you want to encourage employees to take those physical and mental breaks after 3330 to 60 minutes of remote work depending on how intense the work is. and supporting to include physical activities. Walking around your setting has been shown by research to be quite problematic for sitting all day, very bad for our health. So breaks that’s going to be helpful for collaboration for productivity, and it will reduce burnout mistakes and conflicts. Alright everyone. So I hope this presentation of why it’s very beneficial for you to adapt native virtual formats for effective collaboration in hybrid and remote teams has been helpful for you. So check out other episodes of the wiser decision maker show on whatever you check me out the wise decision maker show, subscribe to us on whether you’re checking down on video casts on YouTube. Whether you’re checking out podcasts on the podcast through Apple, iTunes, or plenty of other venues where the podcast is distributed. Send us your thoughts. Leave a comment with your sharing your thoughts click like if you like it, and email me with any feedback at Gleb at disaster avoidance experts.com galab at disaster avoidance experts have come please share it with your friends on social media. That’s the best compliment and the best thing you can do for a podcast and videocast. So please do that. Alright, I hope this has been helpful to you and I look forward to seeing you next time and in the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends. 


Transcribed by https://otter.ai 


Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a world-renowned thought leader in future-proofing, decision making, and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace” and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules