NEWSLETTER
Guidance
Hybrid working – teamwork between home office & office: is it possible?

Table of contents

Hybrid working is here to stay. The obligation to work from home has been lifted. Some want to work from home, others prefer to work in the office. Can the two go together? How can hybrid working work? And above all: how are you supposed to work together as a team if everyone works somewhere else?

Hybrid working – what is it?

The current situation: office or home office? – What happens next?

Lockdown and contact restrictions are over. Didn’t we all just want to be able to carry on as before? Yes, actually, but some things have changed fundamentally. While many companies used to say “Working from home? Nope, we won’t do it!”, in times of crisis, home office options have been created out of necessity, where it has been argued for years that this is completely impossible. And we see: Voilá, it does work! And it doesn’t even work that badly. We have all expanded our work opportunities and now the question is how we want to continue to use them.
Home office, presence or hybrid working – the topic is hotly debated. Many companies are currently turning to us for solutions: What do we do now?

Hybrid working – the definition

You work hybrid if you can work 25% – 75% of your working time on the move or from home and the rest in the office. Hybrid models, i.e. when and where people work and how often colleagues meet in person, are very different.

 

 

Hybrid work Teamwork

 

 

Hybrid working – why?

Angela, Malte and Mareike, three friends, are sitting together. At last! They did not meet during the years when contact was restricted. The three of them sat together once via Zoom, but it wasn’t half as fun and relaxed as live. Now they can do what they like again: eat together at an Indian restaurant once a month.
All three have been struggling with an incredible number of online meetings recently. But it wasn’t just exhausting; it also opened up completely new perspectives:

Hybrid working for work-life balance

Angela, 39, Team Leader Media at a banking association is not amused:
The time in the home office was not easy. Angela has been working full-time, stoically clicking through endless Zoom meetings, enduring rickety internet connections and dull-sounding microphones, while in the background her two children have turned the apartment into civil war-like conditions. After all these months, she has adapted.
And then: the obligation to work from home is lifted and her employer now expects the workforce to return to work. But Angela doesn’t want to. In the meantime, I’m managing to take care of my job and children quite well. She and her husband are coping better than before, not least because they each save an hour and a half on their daily commute. That’s 15 hours more time each week that parents can spend with their families. It relieves the family’s time account and also the climate and wallet. So why change it? – Just because the boss wants it that way?
What regulation can she find that works for everyone? Hybrid working would be ideal for them.

 

 

Hybrid working Startup

 

 

Hybrid working for growth

Malte 33, runs a company that has created an internet-based business model on a platform basis.
Malte’s company is a start-up. It’s going really well. Even in times of lockdown, his company has grown: he has hired new people. So many, in fact, that he can no longer accommodate his employees on the factory floor. Not even when the kicker is thrown out and nobody is allowed to lean their racing bike against the heating. Even the two giant monsteras have made way for desks. It’s all so full now and looks like a normal open-plan office. That’s not what he wanted!

– He wanted to do everything a little differently… Malte wonders how he’s going to manage it: Some of his people are now working from home because it’s full – and because they’ve simply got used to it. Until now, they were a tight-knit community that ordered pizza and beer on Friday evenings. The foosball championships were legendary. The times are over – not everyone fits into the office anymore. But if some of the colleagues are working from home and some are on the factory floor, how is teamwork supposed to work? How are all the newcomers supposed to be integrated if they can’t even meet their colleagues?

Hybrid working for better employer branding

HR manager Mareike calls us: Her employer has announced that the home office era is now over. As a HR manager, she enjoys being in personal contact with people and is looking forward to seeing her colleagues regularly again. However, she is fully aware that she will not be able to find any more employees if her company refuses to work from home. After all, this is standard today. She has therefore often received uncomprehending rejections, especially from young people. How can this be solved?
What arguments can she put forward to management in favor of hybrid working? Which models do you suggest?

 

As you can see, there are many situations in which hybrid working could be a good solution. However, there are still a whole series of questions to be answered. In this article, we take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid working, what studies are available and what options you can use to implement it.

 

 

Video: Home office versus face-to-face work

Christian explains the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, face-to-face work and hybrid working.

 

 

 

Hybrid working: What do employees want, what do companies want?

Before the lockdown, employees and managers were more or less in agreement: “Working from home definitely doesn’t work in our company!” But now it has worked after all. 90% of employees still want to be able to work from home at least part of the time.
However, only 25% of managers agree with this. They argue that working from home is significantly less efficient. Our customers tell us the opposite: there is no noticeable loss of efficiency. Many of the employees could even work much more undisturbed at home than in the open-plan office.
We suspect that this is an issue of trust: as a manager, you suddenly have to trust that your employees are also working diligently at home. However, this cannot be controlled.
Before we allow ourselves to be guided by assumptions, let’s take a look at current studies:

 

 

Studies on hybrid work: office versus home office & mobile working

What is the current situation of employees and companies?
Links and information on the studies mentioned can be found at the end of our article.

 

Teleworking, home office, mobile working

 

 

Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid work

The examples above have already given us some arguments in favor of hybrid work.
We would like to refer here to the results of the current representative survey of working people in Germany. It was surveyed by Bitkom in March 2022.

Advantages of hybrid working

85% feel less stressed because they no longer have to commute to work
82 % are happy about the time saved
74 % report a better work-life balance
62 % enjoy the time flexibility
40% see more opportunities for a healthy lifestyle (sport and nutrition)
32 % experience less disruption from colleagues

Disadvantages of hybrid working

44 % lack contact with colleagues
27 % have difficulties separating their professional and private lives
25 % have the impression that they do not receive important information
19 % would need more contact with their line manager
15 % have worse working conditions and equipment on the move than in the office

 

 

Disadvantages of hybrid working

 

 

Hybrid working before lockdown versus during lockdown

Hybrid working before the lockdown

The “D21 Digital Index 2019/2020” study by the D21/Kantar initiative asked working people before CoVid whether they use home office, teleworking or mobile working in their current job. Only 15 % answered yes. Of the 84% who answered no, 90% stated that this was not possible in their profession or company.

 

 

Hybrid working in lockdown

Bitkom Research has conducted several surveys on the subject of working from home.
If bitkom’s results vary by a few percentage points compared to others, such as Initiative D21, this could be due to different questions or different points in time:
Before CoVid, 18% (cf. 15% Initiative D21) stated that they worked from home.
At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 49% worked from home. Only 41% said that working from home was not possible in their profession/company.
And the figure remained relatively stable: in October and November 2020, Bitkom Research found in another representative survey that 45% of respondents were working from home all or part of the time.
In the graphic below, assumptions were made in the pandemic year 2020 as to how home office and mobile working could be after the pandemic. Only time will tell what the actual situation will be. As a lot of time is now spent working from home and many companies have embraced this option, it is quite likely that these figures could be exceeded.

 

 

Corona power home office

 

 

Hybrid working after the pandemic

Another representative survey commissioned by the digital association bitkom found that 9 out of 10 employees want to be able to work from home at least part of the time after the pandemic. 71% think that mobile working should be used more; 56% are in favor of everyone having the right to at least check whether mobile working is possible.

 

 

New Work Homeoffice

 

 

Hybrid working in international comparison

In May 21, Accenture published the “Future of Work global Report”. 9000 people were surveyed. 58% of them have already gained experience of hybrid working through CoVid; 83% consider this to be the most desirable way of working in the future.

However, it is also interesting to note that 74% of respondents from Generation Z would like to be able to work more personally with their colleagues; this figure is only 66% for Gen X and 68% for Boomers.

According to this study, 13% of people in Germany are frustrated and unable to concentrate because the conditions for mobile working are not met.

 

 

Hybrid working models in Germany

Working from home out of necessity is all well and good, but how many companies have developed viable hybrid working models for them?
This does not look very rosy so far:
The 2021 YouGov study “Hybrid working models in German companies” commissioned by HIRSCHTEC found that only 24% of companies have a hybrid working model. Large and medium-sized companies have hybrid working structures twice as often (36%) as small companies (18%).
Only 30% of respondents were involved in the design of their hybrid workplace.

 

 

Study on hybrid working

 

 

What options are there for hybrid working?

Angela has the best ideas when she goes for a walk in the morning. At the edge of the forest, she dictates e-mails into her cell phone and plans projects. Malte’s employee Torben goes to the gym during his lunch break and is so enthusiastic afterwards that he sweeps everyone off their feet. HR manager Mareike knows some employees who want to work in peace and quiet in their office and for whom the pencil drops at five o’clock.
As long as the result is right, the way there is fine. What are possible paths and how can they be reconciled?

The basic factors are location, time and the degree of flexibility:
What mix of office, home office and mobile working is ideal for your company?
When do you want to work? – At fixed times, whenever everyone likes, or with working hours within a certain framework (core working hours)?
Where do you work? at home, mobile, on site?

 

 

Hybrid working models

 

 

What hybrid working models are there?

  1. Office first

    We work in the office; if we work from home at all, then only in exceptional cases.
    Time management: Fixed working hours, flexitime models, etc. or free organization of working hours are possible

  2. Synchronous hybrid working

    The working hours for home office and office hours are defined, for example Tue – Wed are office days.
    Scheduling: Either the working hours are synchronous or partially flexible.

  3. Static hybrid

    The employees have either a home office or an office workplace.
    Schedule: Everything between 9 to 5 and free time management.

  4. Fully flexible

    Employees decide every day where they want to work.
    Time management: Here too, it is possible to work with fixed working hours, partially flexible or completely free.

  5. Home office first

    Work is primarily done at home or on the move; presence in the office is the exception.
    Time management: All working time models are possible.

 

What is the best way to work hybrid?

None. At the very least, there is no hybrid working model that would fit the needs of every company.
But there is one tip that every company should take to heart: Let the team decide and create! There are so many aspects that need to be considered.
Every company must design its own hybrid working model!

 

 

Video: Appreciation and closeness in the home office

The four of us talk about how human interaction can work well at a distance.

 

 

 

Time-Stamps:

0:00 Current trends

2:06 Pay attention to the people

4:37 Show face and reaction!

5:07 Watch your posture

6:00 Ask for!

6:28 What can go wrong?

8:04 Exaggerated appreciation

9:02 Say thank you!

 

 

 

Designing a hybrid working model: What do you need to look out for?

If you want to create a hybrid working model for your company or invite your team to create one, there are many aspects you should consider.
We have listed some aspects for you in the graphic:

 

 

Values Hybrid working

 

 

Keeping an eye on people

How do you manage to be close to the people in the company when they are not there? Do you know how your colleagues are doing? As a manager, how do you find out what’s on employees’ minds?
If you only see the small video window, you can’t see whether the other person is slumping their shoulders or clenching their fists. In a live meeting, we naturally learn a lot more about our counterpart through body language, interaction and atmosphere and can therefore communicate with each other on a much more personal level.

Sustainability

Of course, it is more sustainable to stay at home instead of wasting fuel. Less commuting, less congestion – good for the climate! And that’s not all – spending less time on trains or in cars is also good for your personal work-life balance. This time can be used instead for family or relaxation.
Minimizing travel not only saves money and CO2, it also conserves personal resources.

 

Enable flexibility

When the children are at school, Angela goes for a walk in the morning to clear her head and start working while walking. Then she works at home until lunchtime, entertains the kids after school, spends time with them and then gets back to work. Sometimes she sits at her desk with a glass of wine in the evening when the children are in bed because it’s so nice and quiet then.
At Malte’s, everyone decides spontaneously whether to come to the office today, work at home or prefer a café.
It turns out that people who make their own decisions are happier to do so.
Even if there are guidelines such as two days working from home, three days in the office – this self-determination creates significantly more motivation!

 

 

Home office

 

 

Personalities

Mareike’s way of balancing life: out of the costume, feet up. – Then she gets off work and wants nothing more to do with work. The work cell phone stays off.
Malte sees things completely differently: he prefers to sit in the courtyard in the evening with a few of his employees and have a beer.
Angela feels most comfortable at home, where she feels she can get everything under one roof. Her husband uses the time on the train to wind down for the day; no family, no chores; he can just read a book.
Some people need to get away from the family to concentrate; others find their colleagues constantly asking “Can you just…?” too much and prefer to be able to withdraw for a few hours.
As you can see, everyone has different needs. You should definitely take this into account for your hybrid working model!

 

Team spirit & networking

Our experience: if a team meets in person from time to time, it can cope well with online meetings for a while. But face-to-face meetings cannot be replaced by permanent online meetings. Team time, informal exchanges, joking around, chatting a bit – none of this happens online on its own.
During the lockdown, people have been missing out and many have tried to remedy this: virtual coffee breaks, digital Christmas parties. It all worked out quite well and was fun, but ultimately it’s not the same.
Especially when someone new joins the team, it becomes difficult to get to know each other and connect. New employees who only meet their colleagues digitally often don’t get a feel for the company. It would be completely different with a corridor radio and coffee kitchen: you could spend breaks together, eat together, make first bonds, help each other, introduce other employees…

 

Corporate culture

Corporate culture grows and flourishes primarily through personal interaction.
In lockdown times, we, the berlin team, had a lot of virtual contact with new customers. When the measures were relaxed, we were on site for the first time. And lo and behold – the little things and gestures were the best way to tell whether the corporate culture was funny or stiff, relaxed or hierarchical. We actually thought that we were already very well informed about this online, but we got a lot more information on site.
Conclusion: good cooperation requires personal meetings.
Zalando advises its employees: meet up after work, have a beer together, come to the office, go to networking meetings, because there’s no substitute for that.

 

 

Corporate culture

 

 

Creativity & Collaboration

There are online tools such as Mural, Miro and Deon to get creative together.
These digital whiteboards are perfect for virtual collaboration. However, creative work works much better in presence.

Most of Dropbox’s offices have been closed during the pandemic. In return, there was an upgrade in terms of conference rooms and seminar rooms. These are colorful and inviting, making them a wonderful place to work creatively. Dropbox invites employees to the office for everything they need to work together, such as meetings and creative collaboration. Otherwise, however, employees are expected to work from home. The company even pays a bonus of € 6000 per year for working from home.
How much creative work do you need in your company?

 

Efficiency & productivity

Ask yourself how you can be more efficient and productive as a team. What kind of communication do you need? What silent working hours do employees need?

Beware of interference!

The so-called sawtooth effect undermines productivity: whenever work has to be interrupted for a disruption – for example for a colleague who asks something – productivity with regard to the task we are working on goes to zero. And then we need time to think our way back into the task at hand. If you add up all the warm-up time, it costs a whopping 25% of working time if we allow disruptions.

In one study, two groups were observed: one was permanently disturbed, the other was completely stoned. It turned out that those who were stoned were still significantly more productive than those who had to interrupt their work again and again. It should also be mentioned here that smoking pot in no way made people more productive, but that the frequent disturbances made them even less productive than the THC high.

 

Talent & employer attractiveness

For young people today, being able to work on the move is standard. If your company only offers on-site work, many young talents will jump ship.
On the topic of finding young talent / employer branding, read our article Employer branding guide: How to find & retain employees!

 

 

Video: Generation X,Y, Z

The new generation, young talents – Oliver explains what this is all about.

 

 

Time-Stamps:

0:00 Hey, Oliver!

0:37 Why this video?

1:23 Different approaches

2:38 How does the collaboration work?

3:38 Getting the best of both worlds

5:16 How can we learn from each other?

7:08 Virtual exchange

9:35 Optimization in bt from the Gen Z perspective

 

 

What mindset and skills do managers need for hybrid working?

Trust

The most important thing for hybrid working to work in your company is a trust mindset. If time recording still plays a role, this is not possible. If you as a manager are constantly asking yourself whether employee Celine has worked seven and a half hours or eight, then it becomes difficult. How are you going to control all this? And why?
“Trust is good, control is better?” – Yes and no!
Your goal is not for someone to do their time, but to provide the service that your company needs. This means that you need some kind of performance indicator, for example by using key figures to recognize whether your team is productive and whether you can be satisfied with its performance. However, you also needed this beforehand, because attendance is no guarantee of productivity.

Hewlett-Packard already had trust-based working hours in the early nineties: you could go to the gym in the morning and not come in until lunchtime, or you could sleep all day and work at night. It doesn’t matter – the main thing is that you do your job!
And this only works if you have agreed targets and check whether they have been achieved.

Empathy

As a manager, you need the ability to approach people and ask questions. This skill is even more important in virtual interaction: you should be very emphatic and be able to invite your employees to reveal their inner lives. You depend on them to tell you what’s on their minds, because as described above, you don’t get to know how others feel as well in the virtual world.
At the beginning of online sessions, it is helpful to have short rounds of questions about how everyone is feeling at the moment. You also need more one-on-one conversations than in normal office life to maintain the interpersonal level.

 

 

Empathy

 

 

What mindset and skills do employees need for hybrid working?

 

 

Awareness of communication and networking

We have already described it above: Communication within the company often falls by the wayside in the digital environment. – Employees meet less. Even if communication within the team works to some extent through meetings and online communication interventions, there is still a lack of connections to colleagues outside the team. These are the people you bump into in the office; the ones you always have a chat with on site.
People who work well from home almost always have a good sense of who they want to talk to and who they can network with. They have the ability to approach other people, they ask questions, they are curious and open. You are able to network independently.
Employees need this ability to become active themselves so that they don’t disappear completely behind their computer and gradually isolate themselves at home.

 

 

Being able to set boundaries

Being able to set boundaries is extremely important both in the office and when working from home. As already described, it is not conducive to productivity if your colleagues interrupt your work several times a day. It’s the same with the people at home.
What is particularly important when working from home: drawing boundaries between private life and work. Because you very quickly go beyond your own limits and work far more than necessary. Here, the end point is no longer leaving the office; you have to set it yourself.

Ability to self-organize

If the working day is no longer kept in shape by the processes and impulses in the office, but on the contrary can be disrupted by private events, then you need the ability to organize yourself.

  • When do I have silent working hours?
  • How do I divide my day between my different areas of responsibility?
  • How do I make sure I stay in contact with the other employees?
  • What exactly do I need to accomplish task X smoothly?
  • And so on and so forth.

 

 

Video: How does self-organization work?

If management does not plan everything through, then self-organization is needed. The world of work is changing in such a way that many people are working from home or hybrid – how does that work with self-organization?

 

 

 

Time-Stamps:

0:00 Intro

0:26 What is self-organization?

0:41 Story

1:18 It needs someone to take the initiative

1:40 How to lead with self-organization?

2:11 Leadership roles without hierarchy

2:57 Why is it useful?

3:50 Outro

 

 

Hybrid working – the most common mistakes

Prescribing a hybrid working model from above

Under no circumstances should management dictate from above how the hybrid team should work together! So spare everyone announcements along the lines of: “No more home office from now on; everyone back at their desks!” or “So! We’re now meeting twice a week in the office and working here.” – Unless you don’t care about the working atmosphere and employer attractiveness.

Solution:

Decide together! Find solutions together that meet all of the above needs!

 

“I don’t need social interaction”

There are colleagues who say: “Oh, I don’t need all that social stuff. I work much better on my own. I am now working from home.”
That is not possible! It has been proven that teams that take time for each other work much better. It also eliminates many conflicts in advance. It’s important that there are get-togethers, that the team also talks to each other in private and thus develops a team feeling.

Solution:

Cooperation within the team must find room in the joint solution!

 

 

Social interaction

 

 

Office without reason

You should insist that people in the company come together, but not for no reason! If everyone just comes into the office and tears down one video conference after another behind their closed door, then no one is helped, especially not the team spirit. You need a reason to be together in the office.

Solution:

A weekly get-together, a monthly jour fixe or going out to lunch together. We will go into this in more detail. It is important that employees say: “It makes sense for me to go to the office. It benefits me.”
Zalando, for example, does not require employees to be present if there is no real reason for them to be there. This means that there are binding attendance dates for the employees and the rest can be organized by the people themselves. This working model is called “Office with a purpose”.

 

 

Hybrid working model

 

 

How to find a hybrid working model?

What does everyone in the team need to work well as a hybrid?
It’s best to organize a workshop to discuss everyone’s needs with your team. You can then work out a solution together on this basis. Depending on the size of the company, this does not have to be a huge workshop; a meeting lasting 2 hours may well suffice.

One example: Zalando goes hybrid

Zalando has launched its own hybrid working project. The project team worked with a design thinking process. As part of this, they asked many employees what they need and think. They also asked other companies how they deal with the problem of “hybrid working” and incorporated this into their solutions.
The project team then published the requirements and developed possible solutions. However, no binding, company-wide solution was specified. Rather, each team was free to find a solution for itself. An important requirement was that each team should also work together live on site. That worked very well.

 

 

Definition of hybrid leadership – What is hybrid leadership?

Hybrid leadership means combining leadership in two different worlds – the virtual and the physical world – and responding to employees in both worlds. Some also use this term when classic and agile leadership meet.

 

 

Hybrid leadership

 

 

Practical tips: How does hybrid working work?

10 tips for actively shaping hybrid working

As a manager, what can you do specifically to make hybrid working a success in your company? Here are a few tips:

 

1st round of questions: How are you?

When people meet at work, it’s completely normal to ask “How are things going with you?”. This happens organically. But when we meet virtually, it doesn’t just happen in passing. In other words, you have to consciously initiate this type of interpersonal communication!
What is useful in online meetings are rounds in which everyone can express how they are feeling. Of course, we talk more openly when we only meet one person in person than when we share our feelings with everyone in a digital group. But at least that’s better than nothing.
Make sure you allow time for emotions!

 

2. actively ask the employees: What’s on your mind?

We’ve already mentioned it above, so we won’t go into any more depth here: treat your employees with empathy and ask too much rather than too little about what’s going on in their lives – be it professional or personal.
Everyone has become more tolerant when it comes to mixing private and professional life. Sometimes a child runs past in the background, sometimes we see the trophies in a colleague’s cupboard. This can be used as an introduction to ask: how are things going with the child in the home office? Ask your employees to do the same among themselves.

 

3. more 4-eyes conversations

Have more one-to-one conversations with your employees!

 

 

4. invitation: get together!

It is important that colleagues are also aware that it will not work without face-to-face meetings. So suggest that there are also unofficial meetings for drinking beer, having lunch, going for a walk etc. to network!

 

 

Team event

 

 

5. invitations to team events

It’s great when colleagues sometimes get together in small groups, but the big group shouldn’t miss out either. Occasionally invite the team to lunch or on an outing. It is a good idea to do this on days when everyone is in the office anyway.

 

 

6. dailies

Some teams meet for 10 minutes in the morning and everyone says what’s going on:
1. what am I doing today?
2. what did I manage to do yesterday?
3. where am I having difficulties right now?
These so-called dailies are short daily meetings. It’s not about talking at length, but just keeping up to date and exchanging information. This way, the colleague knows who is working on the same topic and who he/she can contact if necessary.

 

 

7th Weeklys, Jour fixe

The team meets once a week to gain an overview of the resource situation. The Weekly makes particular sense in teams where tasks can be swapped. The weekly get-together is something like the team’s marketplace; the team members keep each other informed:

  1. Where am I this week?
  2. These are tasks that I see coming our way, and we still have to distribute them.
  3. My workload: I can still accept tasks or not. This can be easily visualized with red and green.
  4. How am I doing? This could be visualized with smileys.

Dailies or weeklies?

Both are possible: The weekly meetings take place instead of dailies or supplement the dailies, so that the upcoming topics can be dealt with more intensively once a week.
In principle, all meetings can take place virtually, especially the dailies.

But: ideally, the Weekly takes place in the office so that everyone can meet up. A joint appointment on site is conducive to team spirit.

 

 

Learning together

 

 

8. learning together

In the office, we might just go into the room opposite and ask our colleague: “How do you do that?” We get suggestions, tips and experience from others and thus make progress with our work. The hurdle of having to make an appointment or call for such a question is greater than suddenly appearing in the doorway.
That’s why some teams have set aside extra time for this: They meet for learning meetings. The question is asked there:

  1. What is challenging you this week?
  2. What tricky topics do you have?
  3. What insights have you gained?

This allows colleagues to contribute to solving problems and share what they have learned with others.
There must be regular learning meetings for this!

 

 

9. schedule breaks for virtual meetings

Yes, we are all bombarded with online meetings. One after the other. This has increased significantly in recent times. In the past, i.e. in live operation, it was easier to take a breather: you had to walk from conference room to conference room or even have to travel. Today, there is no longer a break between online meetings. The meeting is scheduled from 14:00 to 15:00 and the next one starts at 15:00 sharp. If you’re lucky, you can quickly make it to the coffee machine in between.
That is problematic!
This will certainly not increase our efficiency. People increasingly have to go into meetings unprepared, can’t follow up on them, don’t even have time to go to the toilet.
How many times have we started meetings and realized that many people haven’t eaten lunch and have been looking at their computers for hours without a break? Then, of course, we first give it 5 minutes of air so that there is a break at all.
We think it makes sense to schedule meetings for only 25 minutes or three quarters of an hour so that a break is possible before the next meeting.

 

 

Time management

 

 

10. adjust time management

Efficiency is not everything

The question arises: why has it actually become so much? The answer: Because it works. – Many topics can be driven forward much more quickly because you no longer have any travel times, because you can stay on the ball. This is of course extremely efficient.
One of our customers has a field service team that normally always had a lot of travel time. Not during the contact restrictions, of course. He says: “I don’t even know how we should deal with it if we want to visit people again now. – Because then efficiency will go down again. How am I supposed to explain that to my bosses?”
Even if we can work more efficiently, we still want to meet our customers. After all, it’s not just about the quantity but also the quality of the contact. And meetings are also more connecting than online meetings when it comes to customer contact.

Save time

At some points, time can be distributed differently:

  • In virtual meetings, 30 minutes are often scheduled for topics that would otherwise have been quickly discussed across the hall in 10 minutes. In this respect, there are also empty periods.
  • It is better to end an online meeting 5 minutes early than to start something new. You are then no longer productive in the last 5 minutes. So it’s better to take a break.

Very important when it comes to time management: make sure that you don’t clutter up your entire diary. So block appointments for focus times when you can work undisturbed and, of course, for your recovery breaks. That is important!

Video: Your optimal time management for work-life blending

Susanne explains how you can best approach time management in our video.

 

 

 

 

Hybrid working needs preparation!

In a meeting where everyone is sitting around a table, you can quickly throw in a topic, you immediately hear the comments of the others, and sometimes neighboring topics also come up. In other words, communication in the office can be relatively unstructured. Sometimes it’s a few sentences across the desk, then you get back to work, then you have a coffee together and discuss the topic further.
However, when parts of the team are not present, communication needs to be much more thoughtful and structured. You have to think about it in advance!

  • What kind of meetings do we want to have? Information exchange or more of a workshop?
  • Weekly or daily? Or twice a week?
  • Which period makes sense for my team?
  • In which constellations?
  • Where in the office does communication normally take place across the desk?
  • What do we need for this type of virtual communication?
  • Sometimes you also need people from outside the team – when?

Notes for the moderator

You definitely need a good moderator for a virtual meeting!
This is far more important than in face-to-face meetings. The appointment should be well prepared and clearly structured:

  • What exactly do we do?
  • In what order?
  • Are we collecting ideas?
  • Or does everyone say something?
  • How do we reach decisions?
  • What are the measures?
  • How is this visualized?
  • How do we ensure that everyone has their say and that everyone participates?
  • Do we perhaps need breakout sessions or a flash in which everyone says 2-3 sentences on the topic?

In face-to-face meetings, there is usually room to reflect briefly or to discuss things briefly with those present. Unfortunately, this does not work in a virtual setting.
Therefore: make the process clear to yourself in detail!

 

 

Meeting moderation

 

 

Hybrid working needs transparency

To ensure that everyone has access to all information in hybrid working, you need a protocol and a place that is accessible to everyone, where your team can read everything. There are numerous options here: some teams work with Confluence as an information repository and collaboration program. Microsoft Teams or Google G-Suite also offer many options in this regard.
So instead of flooding your employees’ e-mail accounts with e-mails, you need project-related online information collections.

 

Tools for hybrid working

There is a saying: a craftsman is only as good as his tools. And the same applies to hybrid working. – You need good tools to be able to work together optimally!
Which tool do you use for your video conferences? Teams or Zoom or would you prefer WebEx?
Do you have common planning tools? For example Trello or Asana?
Are there ways to communicate with each other on specific topics? For example, Confluence, Google G-Suite or Microsoft Teams?
There are also virtual whiteboards such as Miro, Mural, Deon, on which creative work can take place.

We have a detailed list of such tools in our article Zoom Meeting & video conferencing: how it works, alternatives, tips

 

 

Video: Co-Creation Online, successful virtual collaboration

In this video, Christian explains how collaboration can work best online.

 

 

 

Time-Stamps:

0:00 Intro

0:30 Communication

3:55 Cooperation

5:38 Collaboration

6:21 Co-creation

 

 

Legal aspects of hybrid working

Employees can claim a home office allowance of up to €600 for working from home or on the move. You can deduct €5 in income-related expenses or business expenses per working day at home. A maximum of 120 days per year may be accumulated. So far, this regulation applies to the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

 

Hybrid working yes or no?

A resounding yes to hybrid working!
Hybrid working gives employees the greatest possible self-determination and thus demonstrably increases their motivation. Everyone can work in the way that is most productive for them. Employer attractiveness increases. At the same time, it is important that the manager keeps the individual and the sense of unity in mind. If there is enough room for emotions and the team can also meet live on a regular basis, then we can highly recommend hybrid working.
If you’re thinking about whether your team could also work hybrid, then get in touch with us – we’ll be happy to help and advise you.

 

 

Hybrid work positive

 

 

In a nutshell: How can managers manage a hybrid team well?

Finally, we have summarized an overview of all the points you will need as a manager to be able to lead your team well in hybrid work:

  1. Kick-off online meeting with a round of questions: How are you?
  2. Actively asking employees: What’s on your mind?
  3. More 4 eyes conversations
  4. Require meetings and creative work together
  5. Invitation: meet for beer, lunch, walks to network!
  6. Invitations to team events: inviting employees to a meal or outing
  7. Dailies
  8. Weeklys, Jour fixe
  9. Learning together
  10. Schedule breaks for virtual meetings
  11. Adapt time management
  12. Detailed preparation of digital meetings
  13. Transparency: making it digitally accessible
  14. Suitable tools

 

 

Studies Hybrid working

 

 

Studies and reading on the topic of hybrid working

Hybrid working is an exciting topic, isn’t it? If you would like to read a little more on the subject or take a look at related topics, we have put together a reading list for you here. Here you will also find the studies we referred to in the article.

Studies and articles

 

Hirschtec study: “Hybrid working models”

The study “Hybrid working models” 2021 by Hirschtec, conducted by the market research institute YouGov, for which 508 employees without management responsibility in Germany were surveyed.
Here is a video of the Yougov study Hybrid working models 2021:

 

 

 

 

Study Fraunhofer Institute

Josephine Hofmann and her team from the Fraunhofer Institute published the study “Working during the coronavirus pandemic – performance and productivity in the new normal” in December 2020. The study showed that the productivity of companies has remained the same or even increased slightly. The team explored many other issues in the area of hybrid working: organization, leadership, measuring performance, designing new offices, etc.

 

 

A matter for the boss

“New careers and diverse leadership – What companies should do now. The annual report.”
In February 2022, 1,688 professionals between the ages of 18 and 69 were surveyed on the topics of leadership and careers in transition. Here as pdf.

 

D21 Digital Index

The “D21 Digital Index” social study provides an annual picture of the level of digitalization in German society. Almost 20,500 German citizens were surveyed.

 

 

Bitkom: Working from home in times of the coronavirus pandemic

A representative survey of 1,503 employees in Germany on behalf of the digital association Bitkom.
At the bottom of the website you can also download the presentation: “Home office for everyone? – How Corona is changing the world of work” as a pdf.
You’ll find lots of charts on surveys about working from home. Worth it!

 

 

Accenture study “The Future of Work: Productive anywhere”

9326 employees were surveyed in: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
Download the Accenture study “The Future of Work: Productive anywhere” May 21, as pdf in English.

Here is an article on the above-mentioned study “The Future of Work: Productive anywhere” by Accenture

 

 

Ivicos: Hybrid work guide

Also interesting: an English-language Hybrid Work Guide

 

 

Article on hybrid working

 

 

Own articles

Zoom Meeting & video conferencing: How it works, alternatives, tips

8 tips on how to make virtual collaboration fun!

Self-organization: How does self-organization work in a company?

Design thinking explained simply

 

Our podcast programs

Self-organization in the company – why & how?

What will mobile working look like in the future?

Digital leadership – the most important tips!

Change over time

 

 

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The authors

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Oliver Grätsch
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Michelle Templin
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Christian Grätsch
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Matthias Beikert
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Susanne Grätsch
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Monika Steininger
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Kai Hübner
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Philipp Andresen
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Anna Isabell Arendt
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Dr. Claudia Schmidt
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Inga Kühn
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Kassandra Knebel
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Claudia Lehmann
Komplettes Team

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