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Being Effective in a Hybrid World


Where are you today? Maybe you're in your home office or in a conference room in a traditional office. Wherever you are, this is an exciting time. That's because the new world of work has literally opened up a new world for all of us. This toolkit will help you navigate the new world of work. It will provide tips and tricks to be your most effective and productive, no matter where you and your team are working. We'll organize your work week for maximum impact, make sure you're communicating effectively with your boss and coworkers, and we'll go back to basics to ensure you're set up for success with your goal setting and planning.

Organize Your Workweek for Maximum Impact

Establish a routine that works for you

Did you know that 10% of the world's population is left-handed? What does this have to do with productivity? Imagine if someone said to a left-handed person, okay, so now you're going to start using your right hand for everything, okay? That's pretty difficult. Well, this applies to how you work best and your productivity as well.

It's the same thing as telling someone who is not a morning person to become one, or saying to someone who needs complete quiet to concentrate that now they have to listen to music while they work. You could call this your productivity style, and it becomes crucial when you're jumping between offices. Knowing yourself will help you establish a routine and get to work quicker and more efficiently. Here’s how:

  1. Think about the last time you were really productive. Write down the circumstances.
    • What time of day was it?
    • Where were you?
    • Who was around you?

Write down all of it. Set a timer for five minutes and get it all out. Once you have this list of when you're most productive, what did you find?

  1. Decide when you're most productive. Review the list.
    • Where were you working?
    • Was it in the morning or was it in the evening?
    • Were there people around you or was it quiet?

All those things matter. That productivity scene is the one that you want to recreate again and again as much as possible, so you're set up for success. Notice yourself for the next few days and pay attention to when you're your most productive. Make notes, write it down. And for good measure, here's step number three.

  1. Establish a productivity style by trying it out. Now that you know what your productivity style is, use it to your advantage. Test it out this week. See how it helps you.
Do a communication preference check

Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, it doesn't have to be that way. Here's a trick to being a very effective remote worker. Overcommunicate in an efficient and super helpful way. When you're working with teams that are dispersed, it can be tough to get on the same page when you're working on a project together. The trick is knowing how your team members like to communicate.

Your Communication Style

What's your own communication style? Do you like to jump on a quick call or is an email usually fine? Maybe you like to text or use a messaging app like Microsoft Teams. Think about what your communication style is for different projects and day-to-day activities. Here’s an example:

  • If someone sends a message to a professional speaker on LinkedIn about doing a workshop or speaking to their company, they reply and ask if they can move the conversation to email. That's where they can best keep track of that kind of information. They can then loop in their team and set up a call. If they keep the conversation in a chat box, they might lose track of it and forget about it altogether.
  • When you explain that to people, they will get it and they'll comply. They want your attention after all, right? And you're telling them exactly how they can get it.

Your Coworker’s Communication Style

Next, find out how your coworkers and managers communicate best. How do you find out? Well, you just ask. It's really that simple. A great way to do it is to share your own communication style and then ask for theirs.

For instance, you can say, "I find that when we get assigned a new project, I need to have a quick call to run through all the deliverables instead of reading a long email. "What works best for you?"

When you know that your coworker will ignore emails because it's not her preferred method of communication, it will help so much when you need to get something done. Now you know that sending her a Teams message, for example, is more likely to get a response.

Communicating Across Teams

There are great tools to communicate and track your to-dos when your team members aren't in the same room. Use audio and video messages to get your ideas across. There are times when an email just isn't going to cut it. You don't want to be misinterpreted or have someone miss your point.

So, the next best thing to being there is recording a message. You can send video messages when you want to explain something fully or share your screen to show what you are talking about. Audio works just fine when there doesn't need to be any visuals. You can use audio memos and other apps to do this.

A task management tool is also extremely helpful for setting deadlines and knowing who's working on what project. It's a great way to keep in touch with your team members on projects. Plus, it's an organized way for the whole team to see everything that's being worked on. It might take a bit of trial and error to get those tools that work best for you and your team members. Have patience. This may be a new thing and will take some time to perfect.

No matter if you're all working remotely or in the office together, being flexible and resilient will help your team work effectively from anywhere.

Enhance Collaboration with Your Boss and Colleagues

Understand your role and impact

Ever know someone who would always read the last page of a book before they started it. Talk about a spoiler alert, right? Some say they did that because they wanted to know if the book was going to be worth their time or not. While you always may like to be surprised at the end, you could understand their point. Setting intentions and knowing the outcome of a work project before you start it is important. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What's the reason for doing this project?
  • What are we hoping to accomplish?

Those are the questions you should always be asking yourself, especially when it comes to your role on the team, knowing what's expected of you and using your own unique expertise to propel a project forward is key to success. So how do you do that? Well, it takes a little bit of practice. And after a while it does become ingrained in you. What is it that people often tell you that you're good at? If you can't think of anything right now, ask a few people this question:

  • What would you say my biggest strength is?

When you know exactly what's expected of you, then you can focus on those tasks and contribute to the team. This will also help you so that you don't end up working on something that someone else on your team is already doing or is better suited to do. So, make sure you're crystal clear on that before you dive into a group project.

Organize yourself for meetings

Preparation and organization are your friends to make sure you get the most out of every meeting, particularly when you're not in the same room with your team. Here are some ideas to help.

  • Before you step foot into a meeting, think about what you need to get out of it when you leave. That will inform what you do, what questions you'll ask and how you'll contribute to the meeting. Here’s an example:
  • Your team is in the event planning space, and you're a graphic designer. Your client wants to throw a huge welcome back to the office party for its employees. Before the meeting, think about all the deliverables that will likely go into this event. You'll talk about logistics like when and where it will take place and who's invited. Then there's food and beverage, entertainment, and maybe even some party favors. Remember you're a graphic designer. What do you need to do your job really well? You'll probably want to know if you have to design an invitation, any signage at the event and so on.
  • Make a list of ideas and thoughts before you step foot into the meeting. This way, you're ready to jump in when the time comes. There might be things you didn't think of before, but at least you'll have a roadmap to start with.
  • When you're in the meeting, it's also important to be listening and taking notes that apply specifically to you. It's like being a newspaper reporter where you have to listen for facts for your own story and filter out all the other stuff that's less important.
  • Make an ongoing list with next steps during the meeting. Using the party example, as you're hearing about the giant pinata that your client wants to bring in, be mindful about what will be on your to-do list when you leave the meeting. Write those deliverables down so you can hit the ground running when the meeting is over.

Doing a bit of pre-work before the meeting and thinking about what you'll need to do afterwards will help you stay organized and most productive.

Be seen even when you are not in the room

Going off-camera in video meetings isn't as acceptable as it used to be. Since this might be the only face time your team gets, it's super-important to show up and put your best face forward, literally.

  • Show up, go on camera, and be ready to engage. That means don't have distractions around you that'll be shifting your focus. If you're in a meeting, be in the meeting. Your boss will notice who's engaged and who's checked out.
  • Some people think there's a disadvantage to being remote when the rest of your team is physically in the same space. There's won’t be much of a difference, if you make an effort to have your ideas heard. That means preparing, but also speaking up when it's appropriate.
  • Find a perfect time to jump in. If you're working remotely, watch everyone's body language on the video call. You can then typically tell who's about to jump in and say something. Look for these social cues if you're physically in the room too. Noticing people will be a great secret weapon for finding the perfect opportunity to get your ideas across.

This content was adapted from the course Be an Effective Hybrid or Virtual Employee from LinkedIn Learning.