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5 team collaboration tools to boost hybrid work productivity

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Author photo: Katrina Oko-Odoi

Katrina Oko-Odoi

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

The 2020 pandemic forced plenty of organizations to go remote — up to 35% of all jobs, according to estimates by NCCI (2021). But now that your team has had a taste of remote work, some of your employees want to keep it that way.

87% of US adults want to work remotely at least 1 day a week while 48% of workers want permanent remote work, Apollo Technical (2021) found. That’s all well and good, but some of your employees might want to return to the office, too.

How do you make everyone happy?

If you can swing it, the best approach is to let some workers stay remote and others to return to the office. This hybrid work model is a great way to meet employees halfway, allowing them to work in a way that makes them the most productive.

That may sound great, but it makes things tricky from a management perspective. How can you possibly manage your team when half of them are across the country and the other half are at HQ?

It isn’t easy, but with the right tools, you can create an equitable, productive experience for your entire team.

What does team collaboration look like in a hybrid workplace?

Very few organizations invested in remote (or hybrid) models before the pandemic. But hey, necessity is the mother of invention.

You’ve probably stumbled your way through remote work, and now that your employees want hybrid work options, it’s time to make your hybrid model official.

In a hybrid model, both in-office and remote employees have a seamless experience. That means employees should have the same quality of experience, whether they’re working at HQ or at home.

Hybrid team collaboration looks different from company to company. Depending on your customers, your processes and your employees’ needs, you might try a model like:

  • Staggering a schedule so some employees are remote while others are in the office.
  • Allowing employees to choose a 100% remote or in-office schedule.
  • A 50/50 split between time in the office and remote work days for everyone.

That sounds like the holy grail for employees who are craving flexibility, but on the management side, hybrid team collaboration is tricky.

A hybrid model isn’t easy because:

  • It makes it difficult to get together: Scheduling can be a nightmare if your team switches between in-office and remote work. Culturally, it can also cause disconnects between your employees. It’s no wonder that 32% of managers fear that a hybrid model will hurt their culture.
  • In-office employees could get more opportunities: Look, it happens. Employees who get more face time with leadership often get more opportunities. It’s your job as a leader to make sure everyone has an equitable experience, no matter where they work.
  • Water-cooler exchanges don’t really happen: Socially, break room chats are a must to give your employees a break from work. It also makes it a lot easier for employees from different departments to collaborate and exchange ideas, too! But in a hybrid model, you don’t get the benefit of traditional water-cooler talk.

How do we define hybrid work productivity?

Aside from concerns about connection and innovation, managers are pretty worried about hybrid work productivity, too. You certainly can’t approach productivity KPIs the same way when you switch to a hybrid model.

The good news is that hybrid workers maintain — and often exceed — their productivity standards. The bad news is that this is usually because they feel tempted to work longer hours, which is bad for morale and can lead to burnout in the long run.

So, how can you know that your hybrid team is hitting the mark?

It comes down to looking at productivity in terms of broader metrics. How effective is hybrid work at your organization? Look not only at an employee’s output, but also their experience.

You might consider KPIs like:

  • Connectivity: How often are employees online? Are they having any issues with connection or downtime? Use these stats so your IT team can keep everyone connected no matter what.
  • Feedback: Quantify feedback from management and employee self-assessments to understand hybrid work productivity.
  • Completion rates: How often are workers completing their SMART goals? Track their individual goals in your HR software so each person is accountable for results. This might mean tracking sales quotas for your sales team and tickets completed for your IT team, for example.
  • Time management: How much time is each employee putting into their work compared to their output? The right time tracking tools will give you an unbiased answer.
  • Employee well-being: Do employees say they feel stressed or burnt out? How much of your workforce feels this way?

As you can see, hybrid work is about treating employees as humans, not robots. Track a mix of productivity and employee experience metrics to know if hybrid work is actually working for your business.

5 team collaboration tools for hybrid work productivity

These 5 tools will help your team thrive together, wherever they’re working.

Workplace productivity tool #1: Asana

Asana is a hybrid-friendly project management tool that will keep everyone on the same page.

With Asana, you can create workflows for different teams, projects and businesses. Make a Kanban-style board or just a simple to-do list, and share your team’s to-dos across users.

Asana will also alert your team about the tasks they need to accomplish for the day, so missed due dates will hopefully be a thing of the past. Best of all, it makes it a cinch for managers to see what employees have on their plates.

Workplace productivity tool #2: Copper CRM

Leads, customers, vendors — your team deals with a dizzying number of people. If your sales reps are crossing wires and dropping the ball, try Copper CRM.

Copper is the Google-recommended CRM, so it’s a must if you’re working in Google Workspace in a hybrid environment. The Copper Chrome extension allows your employees to manage their contacts within Gmail and Calendar, so there’s no need to switch between different tabs or tools. It also integrates with a smorgasbord of remote work tools, too.

Finally, a little sanity.

Workplace productivity tool #3: Miro

Does your team like to brainstorm with sticky notes? You can digitize the brainstorming process with Miro’s whiteboard tool. It’s great for planning marketing campaigns or for mapping out your customer journey.

Instead of losing all of your brilliant brainstorming ideas on sticky notes that end up in the trash, Miro saves and shares them with your team. This is the best way to ensure no one across your hybrid workforce misses out on your next big idea.

Workplace productivity tool #4: Zapier

If you really love your hybrid tech stack and some of your apps don’t play nice with each other, you can use Zapier’s connections to fill in the gaps. We like to think of Zapier as the glue that connects all of your different applications together.

Zapier comes with triggers and automations that allow your hybrid team collaboration tools to do really cool stuff. It’s the perfect way to customize how your different tools work with each other — without hiring a developer. Use Zapier to automate a ton of tasks so your hybrid team doesn’t worry about dropping the ball.

Workplace productivity tool #5: Google Workspace

Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) is a must if you want to put all of your work in the cloud. Workspace makes it super easy to unify your team’s folders, work, presentations and more in one intuitive platform. It doesn’t hurt that it comes with some pretty affordable per-user pricing, too.

Workspace can streamline your hybrid productivity tech stack with solutions for:

  • Email
  • Video conferencing
  • Chat
  • Presentations
  • Documents and storage
  • Surveys and forms
  • And more

It’s one of our favorite tools and honestly, it’s the best way to connect remote and in-person employees with less hassle.

Maximize hybrid workplace productivity

We aren’t sure what the future of work will look like, but it’s clear that flexible hybrid models will be the norm going forward. Don’t let hybrid work just happen at your business: make a plan so your team is productive and satisfied, whether they’re doing data entry at home or meeting with clients in the office.

Honestly, you can’t make hybrid models work without the right tech. Try these 5 tools to keep your team on the same page no matter where they’re working from. Don’t be afraid to rethink and iterate your hybrid model as needed. This is definitely a new approach to work, so change your tools or processes as things evolve.

Need a little help getting your hybrid team on track? Copper helps hybrid and remote teams stay on the same page while building lasting client relationships. Try us free for 14 days (no credit card needed).

Try Copper free

Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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