To thrive as Hybrid teams we need to ensure clear communication, make great use of technology, be flexible and adaptable, generate trust and autonomy for our colleagues, foster wellbeing and ensure continuous learning.

What the Research Says

Hybrid work models have gained significant traction since the pandemic, promising to blend the best of remote and in-person collaboration. According to research by the University of Leeds, hybrid work benefits include increased job satisfaction, engagement, and commitment.

No wonder employees like hybrid working so much that, according to Stanford research, people value the opportunity to work from home as much as an 8% pay increase. In tech and finance, employees value hybrid remote work at up to 11%.

While most managers have adapted to these new ways of working, effectively managing hybrid teams presents unique challenges and opportunities that require a fresh perspective.

The good news is that a few years into this ‘experiment’ of flexible work, there is much more research than when we started. We can now lean on studies highlighting the key factors contributing to successful hybrid management. By leveraging these insights, managers can navigate the complexities of the hybrid work environment and create a thriving hybrid team.

Clear Communication

In a hybrid work environment, clear communication is essential to keep everyone on the same page. In fact, research shows that communication is one of the key challenges hybrid and remote employees face: 30% of employees say that communication with their manager is a challenge. This is not due to a lack of platforms: according to 2023 Owl Labs research, over half of employees say their company uses too many communication tools.

To solve these challenges, managers should:
  • Establish guidelines for communication channels, such as email, instant messaging, or project management tools. Avoid people having to keep tabs on too many platforms.
  • Clearly communicate expectations regarding response times and availability.
  • Regularly schedule team meetings to foster collaboration and ensure that important information is shared with all team members.

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Technology Mastery

A lack of the right technology is the number one issue employees want support from their company. Choosing the right tools and platforms and being proficient in them is crucial for hybrid managers.

Managers should:
  • Discuss or run a simple technology needs survey with their hybrid or remote team. Ask them if they have the necessary tools and technology to perform their jobs effectively and enjoyably – chances are that they don’t.
  • Invest in video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom and project management tools like Asana or Trello. Every team is different, so go beyond the standard technology stack of your company.

Learn how to effectively lead virtual meetings, share documents, and facilitate seamless communication among team members using these tools. The GitLab “How to Manage a Remote Team” course has great pointers.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Hybrid work requires flexibility and adaptability from both managers and team members. But while the ‘where’ of work may have been largely settled, the ‘when’ to work is not. Recent research shows that having more flexibility in when to work is employees’ number one request from their managers and companies.

And where this is possible, we see great and positive benefits. For example, recent Brookings Institute research shows that the number of working moms has risen sharply with the introduction of flexible work.

Managers should:
  • Embrace different work styles and schedules, allowing for a healthy work-life balance. Just because you’re an early riser doesn’t mean the whole team is like that.
  • Be open to adjusting your management approach to accommodate the needs and preferences of your team members.
  • Be responsive to changing circumstances and adjust approaches as needed.

Trust and Autonomy

Trust is the cornerstone of successful hybrid teams. Trust builds psychological safety, which Google research found is the most significant driver behind high-performing teams. As discussed in this World of Work episode, psychological safety is the “shared belief held by team members that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” This allows tea members to collaborate effectively and be more innovative.

Managers should:
  • Work on a ‘trust-default’ basis. Trust your team members to deliver results and give them the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
  • Work with teams to build inclusion safety, the first stage of psychological safety. Writing and sharing personal user manuals is a great way to do this.
  • Provide clear goals and expectations, then step back and let your team members shine.

Employee Well-being

The transition to a hybrid and remote work model has brought to light concerns about employee well-being, especially in an “always-on” work culture that impacts work-life balance. One of the biggest challenges that hybrid workers face is maintaining this balance.

Longer work hours, tasks completed after work hours, and increased communication can negatively affect mental health and productivity. In fact, recent Microsoft research shows that 64% of employees don’t have the time and energy to do their jobs due to constant communication and meeting overload.

Managers should:
  • Encourage work-life balance by setting boundaries and promoting self-care practices.
  • Regularly check in with your team members to gauge their well-being and provide support when needed.
  • Be mindful of potential burnout and offer resources and tools to help your team members maintain their mental and physical well-being.

Continuous Learning

While we are starting to understand better the core drivers of successful hybrid and remote teams, the world of work is changing faster than ever. As a hybrid manager, staying updated on best practices for hybrid work and investing in your professional development is important.

Seek resources, training programs, and educational materials to enhance your skills as a hybrid manager. Stay curious and open to learning from others’ experiences and adapt your approach as new insights emerge. This doesn’t need to be a solitary exercise either; involve your team and learn together how to best operate in the reality of work.


These six points are just the tip of the iceberg, but they should be a helpful start for managers looking to level up their hybrid leadership game.

It’s also important to note that these findings indicate areas for improvement rather than a blanket statement about all managers. No one knows it all; we can learn and improve as we go.

That’s a world of work we can believe in!