How to manage a hybrid team of workers from different European countries?

Managing a hybrid team comes with a unique set of challenges, the biggest one being that not having an office where workers see and talk to each other every day can lead to a drastic reduction in communication, collaboration, and thus productivity. 

Luckily, if you’re managing a hybrid team in different European countries, you have one distinct advantage to workforces that are distributed across the globe.

And that’s the fact that your team members are more or less in the same time zone – which means that with the right tools and team strategies, your team can collaborate more or less in real time (that’s certainly easier than managing a team with members split between Europe, Asia, and North America!) So, what are the right tools and strategies you can employ to manage teams across Europe? Here’s a list of the must-haves.

Foster Real Time Communication 

The biggest difficulty in managing a hybrid team can often be communication: if there’s any doubt about that, just take a look at the number of collaborative work tools that sprouted and skyrocketed during Covid-19: there’s Slack for Chat, Zoom for Video.. But our personal recommendation is Spike, which integrates email chat, video calls, and shared documents into a single streamlined app.

One of the major advantages of Spike is that it allows communications over all channels in real time – offering live calls that don’t need to be scheduled beforehand, and live document collaboration, along with a live chat -offering you and your team instant, cross-platform collaboration. If you’re lucky enough to have a team focused in Europe and more or less in the same time zone, cross-channel, real-time collaboration is an option you should absolutely be taking advantage of. And Spike is the App you need.

Set clear expectations and accountability

Now that you know how to communicate, it’s also important to be very clear about what you communicate. Setting expectations, ensuring accountability, and making sure of alignment across company goals is key to every organization. However, it’s particularly important to have a distributed workforce – we all know that the possibility of misunderstanding and miscommunication increases when conversation is not taking place face to face.

The nature of accountability and expectations also changes in a remote workforce – you can no longer measure productivity by how long an individual spends at their desk (or depending on who is the first in and last out of the office). You simply won’t have the ability to see it, when everyone works from home.

Instead, your focus will need to shift from effort or hours, to output and success based on key performance metrics. Spend some time deciding these objectives, ensuring they are realistic but also ambitious, and communicate these clearly to your team.

Have a “Single Source of Truth” to Manage Projects 

Once your objectives and Key Performance Indicators for your team have been defined and communicated, the next thing you’ll need to do is manage them effectively. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure !

Unlike in an in-office environment, you won’t be able to manage projects offline. You will absolutely need to use a project management software to manage tasks, timelines, technical issues in a manner that makes sure that nothing “slips through the cracks”.

There’s a variety of tools you can use for project management, and the tool you choose should reflect the goals and wheelhouse of your team. For example, if you manage a development team, you’d probably want to choose something like JIRA, designed for resolving bugs in streamlined pipelines, and other technical tasks. For a sales team, you may want to use something like Zoho CRM. For more general teams, is a great all around project management option.

Consider Occasional In Person Events

If you’re managing a team across European countries, chances are that geographically you are not too far from each other, and that it’s also not too difficult or expensive to fly team members to an in person location once in a while, perhaps annually. Especially given the number of affordable airlines offering services within Europe. After all, there’s nothing that strengthens team strength, collaboration, and productivity than the chance to meet, talk to, and get to know your clients – even if it is just once a year!

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