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How are you keeping your hybrid team connected?

Connection is essential. Not just for a sense of belonging, but also for innovation.

"When you lose connections, you stop innovating. It’s harder for new ideas to get in and groupthink becomes a serious possibility." DR NANCY BAYM, SENIOR PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER AT MICROSOFT

Your team may be working from different locations — maybe even time zones — but to innovate, they all need access to knowledge, information and each other.

Here are a few ideas you can try out to make sure everyone stays connected.

✅ Centralize information

It’s important that information isn’t stored in hard-to-reach places. Use an online shared drive or space where every member of your team can easily access what they need. Regularly update your shared space so that it contains the most recent and up-to-date documents.

✅ Record watercooler moments

If you’re in the office and find yourself in an ad hoc, interesting conversation, grab your smartphone or laptop and record the discussion. Share it online so that remote colleagues can hear what was said.

💡 Pro tip: If a conversation starts to get really detailed, stop and think about taking it online. Say “this could be a really interesting discussion, let’s broaden the conversation by taking it online and sharing it with the rest of the team”.

Sales Publish GIF by @JuanBilly.

✅ Document meetings digitally

Introduce a practice of creating a shared online document ahead of every meeting. In that document include details on the purpose of the meeting, the agenda and the participants.

After the meeting, add main takeaways and what was discussed. Give everyone access — those who attended and those who didn’t. If you can, record the meeting for others to watch back.

✅ Virtual coffee room

Set up a virtual coffee room or online space. Keep the space open during all working hours, and allow colleagues to come and go throughout the day.

This will encourage random meetings and interactions across teams, and avoid colleagues spending coffee breaks alone when they’re remote or in the office.

Coffee Day GIF by @leeamerica.

✅ Set aside ‘open door’ time

In a physical workspace, an open door is an invitation to talk. But online those signals are harder to detect. Set ‘open door’ time on your calendar, or use an open door or unlock emoji (🔓) on your status updates to let colleagues know you’re free to talk.

Develop a consistent routine for your open door time. Make it part of your working rhythm and encourage your team to do the same.

💡 Pro tip: If colleagues seem reluctant to use your open door time, invite them to join you. This small tip can be particularly helpful to reassure newer colleagues or those less sure of speaking up that it’s ok to talk.

✅ Use regular knowledge-sharing sessions

That project you’re working on? Think about how to share knowledge you’ve gained from it to the whole team. It could be a virtual:

👉 Showcase

👉 Q&A session

👉 Workshop

Let others download your ideas even when they’re not involved in the project.

Third Generation Illustration GIF by @DigitalPratik.

✅ Use asynchronous communication

Instead of discussing things in real-time, asynchronous communication is about making conversations more flexible. Responses are less time-sensitive.

It means you can respond to questions when you’re next available, instead of right away. This way of working is particularly powerful for teams that work across time zones.

"Asynchronous communication can be an asset for remote teams for many reasons, but especially if you have teammates in multiple time zones … Instead of relying on everyone being online at the same time, we try our best to communicate in a way that keeps conversations and decision-making open to all teammates, no matter where they are." HAILLEY GRIFFIS, HEAD OF PR, BUFFER

One final thought. As we return to the office, the workspace might feel like the best place for communication and knowledge sharing. But it’s important to stay connected with everyone at all times with everyone — and that means a digital-first approach is often the most inclusive.

💡 Inclusion remains as important as ever in office settings too. Colleagues need to feel safe to speak up, ask questions and discuss ideas whether it’s online, in-person or through any other method of communication.

💪 Over to you

What actions will you implement this week to keep your hybrid team connected? Let us know your ideas.

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