Communicating in a hybrid workplace is littered with unique challenges not seen in a traditional office environment. From information gaps to scheduling challenges, employees unprepared and under equipped for hybrid work will quickly become confused and overwhelmed. In a study by Canon USA, many introverts cited lack of feedback or communication as their biggest daily hurdle (32%), and many extroverts struggled with too many channels of communication (21%).
The results demonstrate the need to provide the right tools and resources to improve the hybrid work experience. In its Future of Work Study 2022, Accenture emphasizes that “what separates those workers who are productive from those who are disconnected and frustrated is not stress, but whether they have the right resources on an individual and organizational level to help them be productive anywhere.” Since employees split their time between in-office and remote work, organizations must leverage tools that enable seamless communication, equitable access, and effective teamwork.
“What separates those workers who are productive from those who are disconnected and frustrated is not stress, but whether they have the right resources on an individual and organizational level to help them be productive anywhere,” the Accenture Future of Work Study 2022 report emphasizes.
For instance, finding the balance between synchronous and asynchronous work can be challenging, and deciding on the best tools for each can add confusion. With productivity on the line, ensuring that your organization’s work environment is primed to support and promote effective collaboration is important.
To provide clarity, we explore a range of tools that can empower teams to work together effectively and share recommendations for essential tech to incorporate into hybrid work.
What Communication and Collaboration Tools Can Hybrid Teams Use?
A flexible work environment calls for changes in where and how we work, and presents unique challenges and opportunities for collaboration and communication. To navigate these challenges successfully, organizations must leverage the right tools to enable seamless teamwork, whether synchronous or asynchronous.
Use video conferencing platforms like Google Meet and Zoom to better connect with dispersed teams through virtual meetings, brainstorming sessions, and team-building activities. Video allows for visual cues and facial expressions that enhance the sense of connection among team members. According to Canon, 58% of respondents said seeing who else is in the meeting helped them interact better with their co-workers.
Chat and Messaging Tools
Encourage using chat platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams for quick and informal communication among teams that work in different locations. They are great ways to achieve almost real-time collaboration while offering flexibility. These channels and video messaging tools like Loom allow team members to share ideas, seek input, and create an inclusive virtual environment.
Project Management Software
Utilize project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com to facilitate transparency and keep everyone on the same page. In a hybrid environment, employees must be able to contribute and work productively, no matter their location. These platforms help facilitate the concept of ‘productivity anywhere’ by enabling task assignment, progress tracking, and document sharing.
Space Management Software
Hot desking, or hoteling, and office space utilization in a hybrid workplace can pose challenges. Desk booking software streamlines the process of reserving workspaces, ensuring that teams can collaborate effectively when needed while maintaining flexibility and accommodating different schedules.
What Tools Are Best For Synchronous Communication?
Synchronous communication is crucial for real-time interactions, immediate feedback, ideas generation, and relationship-building. These tools include video conferencing platforms, instant messaging tools, and even desk booking software.
Leverage these tools for discussing complex topics, brainstorming sessions, and solving time-sensitive issues. Interacting with each other in real-time builds trust, especially with the addition of social cues and tone of voice, which leads to a more engaged workforce.
Here are some top tools to facilitate synchronous collaboration:
- Google Meet & Zoom: Google Meet and Zoom meetings provide video conferencing capabilities, allowing teams to connect face-to-face virtually. With features like screen sharing and chat functionality, these tools enable real-time discussion, brainstorming sessions, and team meetings.
- Slack: Slack is an instant messaging platform that facilitates quick and efficient team communication. It allows teams to create channels for different topics, share files, and collaborate on projects in real-time, improving coordination and fostering seamless communication.
- Microsoft Teams: Teams offers workspace chat, video conferencing, file storage, and application integration. Employees can collaborate on documents, hold meetings, and stay connected through chat, ensuring effective communication and collaboration across the organization.
- Skedda: Skedda offers simple tools to easily schedule and book desks and rooms, simplifying hot desking and office space management. Using Skedda increases employee engagement and productivity in the office, and helps organizations manage space utilization for maximum ROI.
What Tools Are Best For Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication tools, such as email, video messaging, project management platforms, and shared document repositories, are essential for flexible work arrangements and global teams.
Leverage these tools for sharing updates, project documentation, and feedback, especially when encountering time zone challenges. Team members can review and respond to messages in their own time, reducing interruptions and allowing for deep work focus.
Here are some async tools to help teams stay connected and collaborate effectively:
- Loom: Loom provides video communication and collaboration technology, including screen and camera recording, video editing, transcription, and the ability to share the recorded video link with others. Its recording features help global teams connect across different time zones and can serve as an information hub.
- Trello: Trello is a visual project management tool that allows teams to create kanban boards, cards, and checklists to track tasks and progress. It provides a visual overview of projects, enabling team members to collaborate asynchronously, assign tasks, and monitor progress.
- Monday.com: Monday.com is a versatile platform that helps teams manage tasks, workflows, and projects. With customizable boards, teams can organize and track work, collaborate on projects, and streamline communication.
- Asana: Asana is a task management solution that allows businesses to manage, collaborate, communicate, and organize their tasks and projects. Its task assignment, project organization, team collaboration, and communication capabilities allow hybrid teams to stay organized, track progress, and meet deadlines.
Best Practices For Utilizing These Tools In a Hybrid Office
The true strength of collaboration lies in integrating these tools to create a cohesive hybrid work ecosystem.
To break down distance.
In a dispersed team, communication barriers can hinder collaboration. Video conferencing features enable real-time communication, allowing team members to connect face-to-face despite their locations. It helps bridge the gap created by physical distance, promoting more transparent communication and fostering a sense of togetherness.
In a hybrid environment where employees go into the office some days of the week, utilizing desk reservation solution ensures that employees will have a workspace when they come in and encourages in-person collaboration. Getting a workroom brings teams physically together for better idea generation and innovation and also stronger relationship-building. Additionally, holding 1:1s and performance reviews are better in person, as these meetings may touch on sensitive issues. Seeing visual cues and hearing each other’s tone and intent can help lower the chances of miscommunication and promote better understanding.
To bridge time zone differences.
Time zone variations can complicate scheduling and real-time collaboration. Loom’s capability to record, store, and share videos acts as a data repository and makes it an excellent way for global teams to access the same information and stay up to date. Additionally, organizations can leverage Loom videos to introduce new team members and provide essential onboarding information.
Microsoft Teams’ unified platform for team communication (videoconferencing, chat, and file sharing) is also a great tool to connect your global teams. With features like calendar integration and channel-based conversations, it helps teams coordinate effectively and overcome the challenges posed by different time zones.
To build team cohesion.
Building rapport and strong relationships is vital for effective collaboration. Nothing beats working with your team members in the office to build team cohesion. In a hybrid office where employees come into the office only on certain days, using Skedda’s desk booking software is the easiest way to ensure your team comes in on the same day and has a workspace to collaborate.
Slack is also a good tool to help teams build cohesion virtually. Its instant messaging platform allows teams to communicate close to real-time, fostering camaraderie and trust. Slack promotes efficient collaboration while nurturing team cohesion by facilitating quick exchanges, file sharing, and integrations with other tools.
To streamline project management.
With hybrid work, managing tasks and projects can be challenging. Trello’s visual interface and customizable boards simplify project management, enabling teams to track progress, assign tasks, and collaborate asynchronously. It helps overcome time constraints by providing a centralized platform for organizing work and facilitating transparency.
To set clear communications and expectations.
Clear communication and expectation setting are crucial for asynchronous work success. Asana’s cloud-based task management solution enables teams to collaborate, communicate, and organize their work effectively. It provides features such as task assignment, due dates, and progress tracking, ensuring everyone is aligned and informed about project goals and responsibilities.
Team leaders can also designate certain days of the week to be team collaboration days in a hybrid office. The purpose can be to set or revise expectations, update everyone on significant changes, and ask for feedback on what’s working and what’s not. By bringing all team members together to meet in person, you can ensure that everyone receives the message, gauge responses based on facial expressions or body language, and answer employees’ questions immediately.
To promote productivity and accountability.
To maintain focus and productivity in a hybrid environment, teams need a tool to streamline workflows and enhance accountability. Monday.com offers customizable task boards, automation features, and integrations, providing teams with a platform to manage projects, collaborate, and track progress asynchronously. It helps ensure that everyone stays on track and delivers their best work.
Promoting productivity and accountability also requires teams to be on the same page regarding expectations and responsibilities. Face-to-face time is best to set the tone for your team and to clear up any confusion. While meeting virtually using a video conference platform suffices, being in person can ease conversations about potential conflicts.
By connecting platforms that support synchronous and asynchronous work, organizations foster effective communication, file sharing, and project management that work for their hybrid teams. No matter when or where an employee works, teams have the resources to collaborate and work more productively and effectively.
Utilizing Loom, Zoom, and Office Rooms Effectively
Embracing the power of these tools will enable organizations to thrive in the evolving landscape of hybrid work. Synchronous tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams facilitate real-time interactions and immediate feedback, while asynchronous tools like Loom, Trello, and Monday.com enable flexible task management and virtual collaboration.
Yet even with all these digital tools that improve the work experience, face time in the office is still essential to building trust and camaraderie with your colleagues. Using desk booking software like Skedda streamlines desk management, allowing hybrid teams to easily meet in person and fit in-office days into a work schedule that prioritizes flexibility.
For best practices on creating a collaborative workspace in a hybrid office, read Teamwork or Hard Work? Get 5 Steps Closer to a Collaborative Hybrid Office. If you’re ready to start scheduling and booking desks and rooms, create your free Skedda account today.