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InsightFeb 26, 2024

Managing hybrid teams and the future of work

Written by Ian Chalmers RGD, Pivot Design Group Inc, and Pivot Design Group Inc.
Illustration of woman working in the office and at home Design by Freepik,

Ian Chalmers RGD, Design Director and Principal at Pivot Design Group, shares notes on the future of the hybrid work model from the latest Firm Owners Virtual Community meet-up!

The hybrid workforce model is here to stay despite more companies returning to the office. Creative Niche adopted a hybrid work model well over a decade ago and continues to refine its own ways of working to reflect the current landscape, tools and needs of their team. In a recent discussion with the RGD’s Firm Owners Virtual Community, Creative Niche’s Managing Director, Theresa Casarin, shared insights on managing hybrid teams effectively in today's evolving work environment. 

The hybrid work model, largely born out of the COVID-19 pandemic's constraints, offers employees flexibility, increased job satisfaction and improved work-life balance. Theresa emphasizes the importance of understanding what employees seek in a hybrid working relationship, typically revolving around flexibility. By creating flexible work environments, we have the unique opportunity to attract and retain top talent. Below are some of the key strategies for success while working in a hybrid environment:

Defined communication methods:

  • Establishing set times for daily huddles or catch-ups, whether in-person or virtual, is crucial.
  • Communication tools like email, instant messaging or video conferencing ensure team members stay connected and engaged.

Clear expectations:

  • Clearly communicating expectations is vital for both remote and hybrid team members.
  • Establishing guidelines around work hours, practices and deliverables helps build trust between employers and employees.
  • Update your company policies and employee handbooks to reflect these expectations and guidelines.

In-Person meetings for specific goals:

  • Recognizing situations where in-person meetings are essential, such as professional development, training or strategic planning, is a key to success.
  • Balancing remote work with occasional in-person interactions ensures effective collaboration.

Integration of AI and automation:

  • Assessing the value of AI tools for your organizational needs and if and when to use them.
  • Updating company policies to address the appropriate use of AI is essential in the evolving business landscape.

Creative hiring approaches:

  • Embracing creativity in hiring, especially for smaller firms, can attract candidates seeking remote or hybrid work options.
  • Offering unique flexibility, such as a four-day workweek, requires clear communication with clients and an understanding its suitability for the organization.
  • Offering remote opportunities can tap into top talent nationwide and increasingly offers flexibility for your employees to live in more affordable cities.
  • Creating more flexibility in your workplace means you have more access to a more diverse talent pool.

Leadership, mentorship and team development:

  • Providing clear boundaries and expectations ensures that everyone is happy.
  • Be mindful that some younger employees who entered the workforce within the last few years may have never worked in an office environment.
  • Understanding what your employees need by asking questions and staying curious.
  • Adapting leadership approaches accordingly is crucial in today's dynamic landscape.

The statistics* below is a clear indicator that the hybrid work model is preferred by employees and here to stay:

  • 98% of workers want to work remote at least some of the time.
  • 93% of employers plan to continue conducting job interviews remotely.
  • 57% of workers would look for a new job if their current company didn’t allow remote work.
  • 71% of remote workers said remote work helps balance their work and personal life.
  • Research shows that employers can save $11,000 per employee when switching to remote work.
  • 32% of hybrid workers report they would take a pay cut to work remotely full time.

*All sources from different publication are listed in this article.

Ian Chalmers RGD

Pivot Design Group Inc

Ian Chalmers is a design entrepreneur and principal of Pivot Design Group, an experienced design agency in Toronto. He’s also the driving force behind DesignMeets. This event platform promotes the sharing of information, ideas, and different points of view on critical design topics, and a founder of ARCTRN Group, an experimental initiative exploring the process of uncovering human stories and insights in data. With more than 25 years of experience in design and design research, Ian is acknowledged as a business leader, mentor, creative director, and solutions provider across Canada’s business landscape and in the academic community. His recent project work has focused on the healthcare vertical, applying people-centric design solutions for researchers, scientists, physicians, and institutions. Through DesignMeets, he has explored the relationship between design and topics such as climate change, artificial intelligence, and the circular economy. Ian is also a committed community member. He serves on the board of Pencils for Kids, a charity that provides scholarships, farming programs, and sewing programs for girls in a small community in Nigér, West Africa. He’s a former member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) and teaches service design at the George Brown School of Design. He is a graduate of the Design & Visual Communications Program at OCAD University.

Pivot Design Group Inc.

PIVOT is a strategic experience design agency in Toronto. We create exceptional digital products, innovative services and gratifying experiences that brighten people’s days and improve their lives. 

PIVOT’s experience design is a mix of empathy, intuition and ideas. Our approach takes you further, exceeding client expectations by satisfying the needs of our users and growing their business value. Through our transformative Informed Design process, we partner with our clients and their users to co-design engaging experiences with the power to enrich people’s lives.


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