The latest article in our series on hybrid working looks at how charities can work together as they embrace hybrid practices in the workplace
Hybrid is taking off. From events to working styles, organisations of all shapes and sizes are implementing hybrid. Mixing virtual and office working has many benefits. CharityConnect, the community platform, says that staff safety, satisfaction, and reduced costs are some of the main advantages of hybrid models.
To fully appreciate the benefits of hybrid working, staff need to be able to work together.
Here are our top tips for collaboration.
At Charity Digital, we’ve championed strategies for digital and data. Hybrid working is no different. Developing charity policies around hybrid working sets the tone for your working environment. You’ll want to address what the expectations are for work. Make sure to discuss digital communications, performance, and working patterns.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) offers online resources for charity digital leaders managing hybrid teams. When it comes to using new tech, the CIPD suggests a ‘people first’ approach. The idea is to consider mental health well-being, communication, and work objectives and then follow with suitable digital tools.
Consider maximising both your office space and staff resources. To prepare for hybrid working styles, it’s important to schedule time in the office and to know where your staff will be in advance. By organising resources, teams are able to plan, meet up, and use digital tools effectively.
Digital scheduling tools can help charities work more efficiently. Hybrid OS and Envoy make it easy for charities to map out physical workspaces and book time at the desk. Both digital tools let staff reserve desks, meeting rooms, and schedule deliveries. The software also produces metrics on space usage so leaders can make informed decisions.
One down side of going digital is the lack of spontaneity and ad hoc meetings. Forbes Magazine reports that working virtually has made it more difficult to promote innovation. The magazine says workers are losing their sense of purpose because they don’t have that sense of team camaraderie.
Leaders can still promote innovation and team spirit with digital tools. To truly make it a success, remote workers need to be included even when physical meetings take place. Adding digital participation to meetings encourages discussion and collaboration. Plan time for brainstorms, whiteboarding, and creativity sessions in both online and in-person meetings.
In terms of technology, Microsoft Teams is a big hit with charities, helping to connect staff across multiple locations. Teams supports multiple layers of communication, making it a good solution for team collaboration.
Hybrid models work best when everyone has similar access to tools. From a practical perspective, it means that charity staff need computers, printers, scanners and mobile phones.
Charities need to ensure that staff also have reliable, fast broadband and remote access to data. Our top tip is to make sure that leaders have the ability to step in and provide tools for hybrid collaboration.
Computer World magazine notes some of the consequences for IT teams. Leaders need to consider how IT support will work. This might include provisioning equipment, cybersecurity, and access to remote tech support.
Ultimately a lot is at stake if there isn’t management support for everyone to have access to work-related tools. Zoe Amar writes: “Leaders need to make inclusion a priority when initiating new ways of working, ensuring that groups and individuals don’t end up disadvantaged. If they get this wrong then it could lead to reputational blowback.”
Asynchronous working is a term receiving a lot of attention in the press. Outlining how it could transform the workday, the BBC says that asynchronous communications are “exchanges that don’t happen in real time, but rather on your own time.” When applied to hybrid collaboration models, asynchronous working means that staff are online and do work at different times of the day.
Channel-based collaboration tools take some of the stress out of asynchronous working schedules. Colleagues working across different locations and time zones can easily get up to speed on a topic with digital tools.
For Buffer, the discussion platform helps staff focus on topics at hand. Other platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams can also support asynchronous working.