Technology Tip
Scott Orlosky has over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, and application support in a B2B environment. Scott’s career has involved the application of technology solutions to a variety of manufacturing and customer support issues. Scott is passionate about customer service as a strategic core value for business success.

Get the Most from Your Hybrid Teams

Get the Most from Your Hybrid Teams

By now everyone is familiar with working as part of a hybrid team. Some members are working from a home office. Others are in a physical office or maybe in a conference room. Regardless of the configuration, the goal is to develop a highly collaborative team. Properly done, you can run a very productive session in a hybrid environment.


The one consistent productivity hurdle is at the very beginning of a remote team meeting. That’s when people are getting settled, logging in, getting their settings right. This bit of chaos can devour as much as 15 minutes. To avoid this, just make it part of the meeting. Start your 10:00 AM meeting at 9:55 AM and call it setting up and logging on. Then start the meeting promptly at 10:00 AM. Participants will quickly get the idea that the five minute “head start” is to get the meeting to start on time. If at all possible, it is helpful if all attendees are on the same platform. Zoom, Teams, Webex, and GoToMeeting are all popular and the best way to ensure compatibility is to standardize on one platform for the whole group.


Very rarely should the moderator need to “approve” an attendee. So set the default to allow people to automatically join when they log on with the video active. As the moderator, you will log in a couple of minutes early to make sure the link is working, so you can be prepared to issue an alternative meeting notice quickly if necessary. A special note on self-presentation; unless you know that the cultural norm within the group tends toward a loose style, don’t do anything dramatic for your backgrounds and please avoid using an avatar. These turn into excuses for side conversations. Getting these details right sets the tone and makes sure the meeting starts off on the right foot.


Hybrid Teams

If you have an ongoing project that requires essentially the same group to work together to achieve the project goals, it’s best to set up a regular cadence meeting day and time. Ask everyone to mark that time and date on their calendar for the duration of the project. The day before the meeting, early in the day, send a reminder and include the logon code in that reminder. You should also include the particular agenda for that meeting. If there are materials that will be shared, or presentations, then include copies of these in the reminder email. That way if there is any difficulty in screen sharing then each attendee will have the ability to open up their copy and follow along. This eliminates wasted time fiddling with the screen share function.


The best way to illustrate responsibilities and track progress is to build the project around specific project management software. Microsoft Project is popular and easy to work with. Other tools include Asana, Trello or Jira. Pick one that works best for your needs and the size of the project. The advantage of these structured programs are that they allow everyone on the project to see which activities are in the critical path and they help the team to make decisions on the fly to avoid schedule slippage. In cases, where a slippage is unavoidable, the project software will allow the team to highlight that issue to management well in advance. Maybe a workaround can be tested or management may need to authorize additional resources.


After the first few meetings, it should start to feel as if this project is part of your regular work cadence. Participants should have developed a rapport. Good team leaders encourage this sharing of ideas and make sure that during the course of the meeting everybody contributes something. Participants have different degrees of verbal participation that they are comfortable with.  However, everyone will get the most out of the meeting if everyone participates. Make sure that the meeting isn’t closed until each participant has had an opportunity to ask any additional questions or add comments.


Early on it is important to establish what type of information needs to be retained and how it needs to be structured. There may be drawings, conversations, concepts, competitive information, data and so on. Most project management software allows saving snapshots of the project as it moves forward. It is important to build a file folder structure that is backed-up regularly to store all of the miscellaneous records that support the evolution of the project. As a minimum, the project data and the minutes of the regular meetings should be captured.


Communication is one of the most important elements for a successful project. Aside from the regular meeting cadence it is highly likely that there will be a need to have side conversations in between the regular meetings. Records of critical conversations should be kept and shared. Some software products are well designed to keep those records. Microsoft Teams, HubSpot, Monday, and Slack are some examples. This is a means to capture and track email threads that happen outside of the regular group meeting.


Remember that the effectiveness of these tools and practices relies heavily on how well they are adopted and integrated into the team’s workflow. Don’t fall in the trap of “we’ll learn the software as we go”. If you need to use a tool you should get trained on it to be most effective. Regularly evaluate their usage and solicit feedback from team members to identify areas for improvement. These few simple tools and rules will make a big difference toward meeting the team goals for performance, time and cost.

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