Is the new hybrid work environment a hurdle or an opportunity for project managers?

A hybrid team is one that is distributed across a number of different locations, with various tools and differing skill sets. We have seen hybrid teams increase in popularity as of late, with this trend being accelerated as a consequence of the pandemic. After all, social restrictions meant that people were forced to work from home. However, with this, a lot of business owners started to realise that a hybrid workforce could bring about a number of benefits, including flexibility and enhanced employee satisfaction, as well as lower costs. But what about the perspective of a project manager? Is a hybrid work environment an opportunity or a barrier? Read on to discover everything you need to know.

The opportunities hybrid teams provide

There are a number of different benefits associated with adopting a hybrid model. A hybrid project team is one that is flexible and enables project managers to choose team members based on their skill rather than their location. This means that you will be able to outsource tasks to remote workers if you believe that this is going to be the best solution for the project you are working on. Ultimately, you are in a much better position to have the best people working on your task.

Another benefit associated with hybrid teams is that you can lower project costs. This is because you are not going to need to spend as much money on in-office expenses. At the same time, you may be able to make the most of talent in a country whereby the costs are lower.

You also need to consider the fact that your current employees are going to be much happier if they have a flexible style of work that enables them to work from home on certain days or tailor their hours. Bosses around the world are coming to realise that there is no need to force people into doing a standard 9 – 5 pm workday. If someone is able to produce the same level of work by doing four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening, it makes sense to allow them to do so. The chances are that they will be more productive and you can boost employee retention and satisfaction rates at the same time.

Some of the challenges associated with hybrid work environments

While there are a lot of benefits associated with hybrid work teams, there are also a number of challenges that you are going to need to consider. A lot of training courses for project managers will take a look at remote work challenges, providing you with solutions to overcome any potential hurdles that can get in the way.

One of the biggest challenges that can be associated with managing a hybrid work team is ensuring that there is effective cohesion and collaboration amongst the team. You need to ensure that communication flows freely and effectively. This is where it makes sense to choose a secure and efficient software that everyone can use, enabling them to securely send files and instant message one and other whenever required.

Aside from this, keeping everyone’s motivation levels high is another challenge you are going to face as a hybrid project manager. A lot of managers are used to motivating people in person, yet you are going to need a different approach when it comes to managing a hybrid team. It is important to make sure that everyone is focused on the mission, so keep that front and centre. In addition to this, regular catch-ups are important and creating a culture whereby everyone feels like they can speak up or message when they are struggling or they have a suggestion is also imperative.

What skills do you need for hybrid project management?

In the past, project management qualifications would have focused on managing a team of people within one office. However, times have changed considerably in recent years, and hybrid teams are becoming the new norm. This is why we see a lot of the modern training courses provide advice and strategies on the sort of skills you are going to require in order to manage a team of in-office workers and remote workers.

Some of the most important skills required to be a hybrid project manager include good team management skills, good stakeholder communication, and the ability to create hybrid project management reports for your team members and stakeholders. These reports are critical in terms of providing feedback and communicating with your team, as well as creating unique reports for stakeholders that adequately showcase ROI.

There are a number of different project methodologies and styles that you may want to adopt as a hybrid project manager. Some examples include the likes of outcome mapping, PRINCE2, Six Sigma, Agile project management, Critical Path Method (CPM), and Waterfall project management. There is no right or wrong answer; it is all about determining what is going to be right for you and your team.

A lot of project managers today prefer to blend two methodologies, rather than simply following one stringently. To do this, simply identify what you do like about the two methodologies and what you do not like about each one, and this will help you to come up with your own approach that makes the most sense for you. You can continue to tweak and adapt your blended methodology until you feel it works perfectly.

Final words on the new hybrid work environment and what it means for project managers

So there you have it: everything you need to know about the new hybrid work environment from the perspective of a project manager. There is no denying that this sort of work environment brings about fresh challenges but it also brings about some great opportunities as well, so it is all about how you harvest them and ensure that remote workers and in-house workers blend effectively to bring the very best results.

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