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Everything You Need to Know About Working With Blended Teams

Ceylin Güven
August 5, 2022

For your company to ensure efficiency and productivity, employees should be dedicated and committed to work effectively. Since various departments work differently, there is a need to ensure they are all working to achieve a common goal. Additionally, the current business world has shifted to employers hiring remote employees to work for them.

However, it can be challenging since there is no supervision to ensure they work effectively. So, what is a blended workforce? What are the ideal practices to use when managing a hybrid team? This article will discuss the benefits and practices you can use to ensure productivity within blended teams.

What Is a Hybrid Team?

A blended team refers to a diverse group of workers who work using different schedules but wish to achieve a common goal. A business can employ various kinds of workers, both full-time and part-time. Additionally, there are times when a company needs seasonal, permanent, temporary, or zero-hours workers. Your business needs will facilitate the kind of workers you wish to employ.

The benefits of blended teams

There are many reasons why many businesses are opting for the blended workforce model. Let’s review some of these top reasons to make the shift towards blended teams:

An agile workflow

Blended teams give organizations the ability to form a more agile and responsive team, and consequently, a more productive workforce. You’ll be able to quickly eliminate time restrictions by hiring freelancers or contingent talents. You can also fix specific problems by onboarding people with varied skill sets and specializations. For example, you can quickly outsource a project and hire freelance SEO or marketing professionals if you require extra support in that department. This agile workflow and environment are bound to inspire every talent as well, whether they’re a part of your team contingently or not. Once they witness the work efficiency you manage to produce, they might be even more motivated to contribute something of their own!

Increased diversity

There’s no denying that certain work arrangements work better for people with disadvantaged backgrounds, and blended teams can lead to increased diversity in your staff as a result. Of course, a blended working model doesn’t automatically guarantee more diversity within your staff. However, opening up possibilities to integrate different types of employees and work relationships can increase your access to a much more diverse talent pool. Keep in mind that this possible increase in diversity is just that: A possibility. If you want to truly achieve a team that’s blended, your company will still have to make an extra effort to establish an environment of equality in the workplace.

Better employee retention rate

Perhaps one of the best parts of blended teams is that they lead to a rise in adaptability and flexibility at work. And when you arrange your team dynamics to be more flexible, it leads to a better employee retention rate. After all, you will be creating a work environment that accommodates your talents’ needs better, which will make your company much more desirable in comparison. This will also ultimately build a stable core team for your business. A flexible work culture can be key in creating a productive workforce.

Financial convenience

The financial benefits of blended teams are undeniable. It can be so much more cost-efficient for businesses to work with contingent talents for certain projects. Hiring remote workers, whether international or local, will ultimately work for your budget. The costs for sourcing, the hiring process, training, etc. will be lowered when you work with contract-based staff. If you feel like this would benefit your finances, you should also consider taking the step towards a blended workforce.

Fresh perspectives and ideas

Outsourcing and including contractors in your team is a great way to bring in fresh perspectives and ideas, which can significantly help your business skyrocket. Since they have different backgrounds, skills, and expertise than your in-house team, they can offer unique insights to aid your projects–which makes blended teams a great way to forge a multivocal business environment. To be able to properly take advantage of this, you should be encouraging everyone to voice their opinions without judgment. After all, your staff’s wide range of ideas would be of no use if they feel unwelcome to speak them.

The Significance of the Blended Teams

Nowadays, most businesses prefer using blended teams for their operations. The hybrid work models have evolved how businesses achieve their objectives by increasing productivity. Below are some of the significances of using a blended team:

Increased Staff Retention

There are many reports of employees leaving their employment due to a lack of scheduling. Another reason why these businesses are losing employees is due to available freelancing opportunities. Therefore, having a blended workforce enables you to retain more employees at your workplace, increasing employee retention.

Saving on Finances

Having a hybrid workforce ensures that you save on costs in your business. This is because there are employees whom you require permanently while others seasonally. Therefore, when the season ends, you will not need services from the seasonal workers, leading to increased savings. Additionally, seasonal workers require a specific income that lacks benefits, unlike a permanent employee. Therefore, moving to a blended workforce puts the business on a budget.

Enables Flexible Scaling of Your Business

When there is a rise in the demand for products in your business, you will need a diverse team to work together in response to it. Using the hybrid work model guides you on when to increase and decrease the number of employees depending on demand and supply. The model creates a threshold level to prevent you from hiring too many employees or recruiting fewer freelancers. The ability to scale up and down ensures your business stays up in the competitive marketplace.

Transitioning to a Hybrid Work Model

Business owners have adapted to hire individuals to work remotely in this business world. Still, offices need offices that will help cater to both in-office employees and freelancers. The kind of hybrid work model to transition into also depends on the type of model as well. There is a workplace with fewer or more remote workers and a place with more on-premise workers. Therefore, there are a lot of factors to consider depending on the kind of model present in your workplace.

Best Practices for Effective Blended Hybrid Work Teams

Typically, your business will require effective practices to bring about equity and productivity in the work environment. These practices ensure that remote and on-premise employees have access to the right resources. Below are some of them:

  1. Recognize How Your Employee’s Preference for Hybrid Work

Ensure you understand your worker's conditions. For instance, if 50 employees prefer working from home, ensure that you deduct the resources they use at work, like a desk or a chair. Since employees have different preferences that suit them, analyze the team into common groups to ensure you save on costs. Some prefer coming to work physically, while others prefer working remotely.

Overall, the reason why employees have a preference is to ensure flexibility. Understanding the hybrid work paradigm your employee wishes to use influences the work's operations. For instance, if more employees prefer working remotely, conducting an online meeting and vice versa can be advisable. You can also opt to have each leading hybrid team member act as their spokesperson. This will enable you to get solutions directly through the spokesperson.

  1. Come Up With Policies That Will Guide the Hybrid Work

It can be challenging to manage a department that works remotely with the one where employees come to the offices. Therefore, developing policies that will help integrate the two working styles is crucial. Ensure that these rules don't favor one side more than the other; they should be fair. Additionally, hybrid work depends on the kind of career or position you are in. For instance, store attendants need to be present in the work environment to work physically. However, it is optional for graphic designers to attend the work environment, and they can work remotely. Other instances to consider when making policies include:

  • Data security
  • Benefits for both in-office and remote work
  • Communication requirements between the two work styles
  • Situations in which you will allow employees to be remote workers or work in the offices

Answering the above guide will help you develop fair rules and regulations favoring the hybrid work model.

  1. Have a System of Accountability

Having policies in place doesn't guarantee that every employee will follow them to the core. Therefore, you will be required to have an accountability framework to ensure that every staff gets the consequences of their action. An accountability structure can also help to put employees to their usual working standards. Having an accountability framework creates a firm business foundation and increases responsibility among these employees.

  1. Implement on the Right Kind of Technology

Consider using the ideal kind of technology favorable to both the in-office and freelancers. If your business has 30 employees and half are working from home, consider using a technology that will bring them together regarding communication. Typically, there is a blended team approach known as collaboration equity. This approach ensures that every member of your workforce receives equal opportunities and resources regardless of location. If employees wish to work remotely, you can instruct them to input CCTV cameras and share their screens during an online meeting. This helps to maximize management.

  1. Create Training Sessions for the Team

Typically, individuals like freelancers and other independent contractors leave a business once their contract is done. Therefore, you may form short-term relationships with them. This can cause collaboration issues between these two categories of employees. The best way to counter such a scenario is to create training sessions to upskill every member of the blended team. Ultimately, the training sessions will integrate your team and influence the productivity of your business.

Hybrid Team Technology Solutions

Technology is very crucial when it comes to having a hybrid workforce. Employees will need appropriate technological solutions to step to the top of the market chain for the practices to be effective. Below are some of the technological solutions to help sustain the hybrid team:

Implementing Communication Tools

Various communication tools should be in place to ensure effective communication between hybrid teams. In-office and remote teams should collaborate effectively by sharing ideas and thoughts through communication tools. There are tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams for individuals to share information.

Use Document and File Management Tools

Typically, employees will require an efficient platform to store and share documents efficiently. As the manager or owner, you will also need a platform to let you keep the records in an area all the employees can access. With the right tool, you can filter what the different teams need to work for, leading to efficient document management.  

Use of Video Conferencing Tools

There comes a time when the hybrid team needs to meet. To ensure everyone is active in the meeting, you can use video conferencing platforms to enable them to work or catch up on projects. There are popular video conferencing tools like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom that make tasks more manageable. As long as the internet connection is stable, the hybrid team will discuss efficiently creating success.

Use of Tools that Increase Security

Since there is an exchange of data online, there should be security software tools that will help protect data against theft and breaches. You can implement tools like VPN to restrict non-employees from accessing data. Popular tools like NordVPN and Express VPN will help cater to data security.

Choose Tools that will Maximize Collaboration

Hybrid team collaboration is essential to hybrid teams that wish to work together. Since remote in-office employees work in different environments, collaboration tools will be available. Well-known tools like instant messaging, file sharing, and online whiteboards allow hybrid teams to discuss the assigned project. Additionally, the management can keep track of the progress of the project.

The Takeaway

Your employer expects you to be loyal and productive while working as a freelancer. Similarly, you will need your employer to be trustful and accountable for ensuring that your business needs are catered for fully. Even though the majority of businesses pay remote workers, some of them end up scamming them. Therefore, a platform that monitors crucial things like invoices is essential. Ruul is one of the platforms that will enable you to receive your invoices on time and in actual payment. The blended workforce works effectively when you use the right approach and practices.

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