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1. Redefine your approach to productivity

The hybrid working model has led many to rethink views on employee productivity. This movement has been spurred on by a need for greater flexibility driven by the circumstances of the pandemic, which has redefined not just where people work, but how and when. For many leaders, this has spurred a rethink of ideas about productivity from a time-based approach to more output-based indicators.

For teams to maximise their performance, there must be an agreed understanding of the conditions needed for each person to perform at their best, as well as understanding of the corresponding elements needed for the team to collectively perform. From a leadership perspective, this may also encompass a wider view of team productivity which moves away from solely rewarding short-term successes to including broader elements, such as the fostering of social connections between teams for greater collaboration, which contributes to longer-term business success.

1.	Redefine your approach to productivity

What action can you take?

Understand your team’s ways of working preferences
Design work to maximise individual and team productivity. Understanding the preferences of how people work best is critical to maximising productivity. Have conversations with your team about how they work best individually and how this can be facilitated amongst the collective team when collaboration is required.

Set team goals
Many activities require group input and collaborative skills, so set explicit team goals which are linked to documented outputs. By doing so, there will be a focus to act to achieve the stated goals.

Read Jill Walker on writing your own leadership script for 2022
What action can you take?

2. Cultivate belonging and emphasise inclusivity

One of the main challenges that hybrid working has surfaced is how leaders and organisations can maintain a sense of belonging even as teams are often working asynchronously and in different places. Nurturing a sense of purpose and inclusion – which are inextricably linked to the overall organisational culture – is an essential part of creating belonging in a high-performing hybrid team.

A sense of belonging is rooted in three attributes, namely how comfortable employees feel at work, how connected they feel to those they work with and how much they feel they contribute to meaningful work outcomes to achieve goals. A strong grounding of culture, leadership behaviours and personal relationships are the enabling factors to create this sense of belonging.

2.	Cultivate belonging and emphasise inclusivity

What action can you take?

Invest in human moments – in the hybrid world
Human leadership moments can go a long way to creating a sense of belonging for team members. Create opportunities for team members to connect with others within the team. This could consist of setting up a meeting specifically focused on non-work topics, opening the virtual floor for team members to chat about their lives, families, or anything else that comes to mind. By investing in building team connections, group cohesion can be developed, enhancing the sense of a belonging within a group, and thus aiding in valued contribution from team members.

Read our Long Read on The Mind of a Leader
What action can you take?

3. Be resourceful to meet team needs

The performance of a hybrid team is highly dependent on enabling employees to reach their potential. To achieve this, it is important to think about the resources a team needs, both from a personal and organisational perspective, to allow them to contribute as productively as possible. These resources may include collaborative digital tools, supportive leadership behaviours, autonomous responsibilities, and digital skills training.

3.	Be resourceful to meet team needs

What action can you take?

Reassess tools to maximise performance
It is important to strategically reassess your resources to examine if they are allowing teams to maximise their productivity. Consult your team members for their opinions on how the resources and tools could be best used moving forward. For instance, with digital collaboration now deemed essential, an organisation’s current technology needs to be up to the task.

Does it facilitate the type and level of collaboration you require? Do the different technologies you’re using work together effectively? Asking these types of questions may begin the process of your organisation strategically reassessing the resources and technologies which it uses.

Learn about how to optimise collaboration in a hybrid workplace
What action can you take?

4. Optimise employee networks

During the pandemic, our professional and personal networks shrunk by 200 people. Research shows that up to 90% of learning in the workplace occurs in informal settings, something the hybrid model has so far been unable to fully replicate.

Indeed, 91% of business leaders reportedly do not understand their organisation’s informal networks. Hybrid team productivity is adversely affected if these critical networks, the ones that facilitate the dissemination of important business knowledge, are not optimised.

Read our Infographic: Creating a Culture of Inclusion in the Hybrid Workplace
4. Optimise employee networks

What action can you take?

Map out employee networks
A methodology known as Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) is used to prioritise the interactions between employees, ensuring that connection opportunities are fully optimised. Leaders should organise the in-office schedule of their own teams to overlap with that of teams they would benefit from collaborating with. Equally, interactions that are better for virtual engagements should be organised as such. A targeted approach like this will create valuable inter-team bonds that will increase productivity across the organisation.

Conduct a gap analysis
Focus on your own team’s needs and how their roles fit into the bigger picture. Ask yourself how your team is connected to other teams, where and when the best interactions occur and what more the team could do to capitalise on the power of networks. Who are the key people your team should be interacting with to excel in their roles, for example? Being aware of the gaps will help leaders to focus on ways the network could be improved.

Read Event Insights: Ciara D'Arcy - Leading the Hybrid Organisation
What action can you take?


‘Let’s Redefine Productivity for the Hybrid Era’, Harvard Business Review; ‘The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere’ Report by Accenture; ‘5 Practices to Make your Hybrid Workplace Inclusive’, Harvard Business Review; ‘How to Manage a Hybrid Team’, Harvard Business Review; ‘How Leaders Should Approach Today’s New Hybrid Workforce’, CCL; Rob Cross personal website; ‘Optimising Return-to-Office Strategies with Organisational Network Analysis’, MIT Sloan Management Review.