There are some relatively straightforward actions companies can take to help successfully embed hybrid working. Here’s just one we feel is important, yet 70% of companies are missing.
Flexibility in time and location of work has resulted in more profitability for companies, greater employee satisfaction and often lowers operating costs too. It can be a win – win all round if implement correctly.
But hybrid or dispersed teams need to operate in different way to those based in-office.
Why is that?
Because those (often dubious) in-office work norms established over decades, such as dropping by desks for a quick chat, managing by presenteeism, bumping into someone at the coffee machine or simply turning around to ask team members a question now requires some kind of structure to be successful.
Without some kind of agreed arrangement teams can feel disconnected, or over communicated, at risk of being micro-managed and frustrated with team members as expectations around meetings, communications and in-person events do not align.
The accepted approach to deal with these challenges and improve the working environment is by means of a team charter, working arrangements document or our preference is for co-created Team Agreements.
Yet we have found that over 70% of companies do not have formal team level working arrangements in place.
We’ve already written on the challenges of letting employees decide how, when and where they work - while they are highly knowledgeable about their own tasks and activities, often the implicit benefits of their role for themselves, team players and the company are overlooked.
Over the decades of helping organizations transition to more flexible ways of working such as hybrid, we have seen varying team manager approaches, with their decisions on how and where to work often influenced by personal circumstances.
The classic one being that manager ‘A’ lives closer to the office than manager ‘B’, it is easy for them to get there, so they decide on more frequent in-office work as that suits them. Meanwhile, manager ‘B’ has a longer commute, and so decides that their team does not need to come together so frequently. Both managers not properly considering what is best for the team players, the department, company and clients.
And as for company mandates….. the most unpopular of them all – no one size fits all solution is ever popular, and even less likely to be the best solution for company as a whole. Mandates tends to drive resentment which lowers morale, increases attrition and impacts on productivity, yet companies with flexible arrangements such as hybrid have seen bigger growth in recent years than companies with a full time in-office approach.
Back to Team Agreements.
The process of creating these, and the structure of the agreement, means that team players have their say, implicit role benefits are surfaced, discussed and considered, the manager is involved in the process and orchestrates the co-created outcome along with collaborative peers, which is then approved at a higher level.
This provides a joined up solution that has everyone’s ‘buy-in’ and helps to successfully embed hybrid working in the organization.
Where did we get 70% from? We recently polled FM leaders here on LinkedIn to ask them if they have Team Agreements in place that define working arrangements which have been co-created/agreed with team employees. We found that, out of 353 votes, only 29% had formal Team Agreements in place at team level. 9% essentially have a ‘free-for-all’ approach where employees decide; for 40% the team manager decided, and worse still 20% had company mandates.
Let’s have a chat if you’d like more information on how to implement Team Agreements across your organization.