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On the Frontlines: Effective Remote and Hybrid Teams

On The Frontlines Beatrice Saredo Parodi Aug 23, 2023

Workplaces typically have workers from different generations (especially when the organization is large), and every generation has experiences and lifestyles that help shape their attitudes to work. 

Return-to-work policies following the looser, remote work allowances of the COVID-19 pandemic have created something of a generational divide in the workplace. Generation Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) and Generation Y or millennials (born between 1981 to 1996) tend to be more favorable towards fully remote work than the older generations.

Generally speaking, older generations are used to working at the office and working hard, sometimes at the expense of a healthy work-life balance. These older employees accepted remote working due to the emergency, but some couldn’t wait to return to in-person work, despite discovering the benefits of a reduced commute and greater daytime flexibility. This is not true of everyone because no generation is monolithic, but recent studies have borne out the fact that younger generations tend to prefer remote work.

The younger generations are digitally fluent or digitally native and believe strongly in a work-life balance. They are less likely to believe in “presenteeism” — working even when one is ill, or working long hours to prove loyalty. Often, these newer generations are hired and managed by older-generation managers, some of whom are not comfortable with so many days of remote working. They also may find it difficult to effectively manage remotely, especially when it comes to creating trust, sharing values, and training and transmitting knowledge.

Nonetheless, flexible work arrangements are here to stay, and managers and employees must adjust. At least for the moment, remote work allows us to use two senses out of five: hearing and sight. Being able to effectively manage employees and collaborate with colleagues depends on us and our ability to set rules and common etiquette for remote working. 

To increase engagement, here are a few etiquette rules for online meetings:

  • Start calls a few minutes before to say hello to everyone as they join the call. Allow a bit of time to have an introductory talk before starting the agenda.
  • Turn your camera on during the meeting. 
  • Make online meetings as interactive as possible and encourage people to participate.
  • Do not multitask during the calls.
  • Remain available for a few minutes after the call to debrief and share informal thoughts.
  • Prioritize informal opportunities to connect at the team level or on a personal level. For example, introduce a regular team call without an agenda to share general ideas (e.g., forthcoming tasks, lessons learned, personal interests).
  • Create a team chat to share a good morning message with the team at the start of the workday, and a good weekend message at the weekend, along with other messages that can be shared across the team (e.g., sharing of common deadlines, celebration of good results, identification of issues).

Additional online rules and habits may be identified and added, depending on the context and team preferences. The point is to go ahead and actively set the new rules, so that pre-pandemic behavior can be adapted to this new context and way of working. How does your team work to create effective remote and hybrid teams?

Beatrice Saredo Parodi

Beatrice Saredo Parodi is an internal audit senior manager for Euronext, based in Milan.