Unsaid Expectations in Hybrid or Remote Teams
Expectations are often conveyed subtly. Hybrid and virtual teams lack the indirect communication that carry these gently-stated expectations, informal feedback, and social rewards and punishments. Formal structures like meetings and one-on-ones are often contain only direct communication. Because we want to be respectful of time, focus, and Zoom-burnout, we manage remote employees use tools such as agendas and short/direct emails. Unfortunately, these tools often diminish our communication of subtle interchange elements. To be effective in a hybrid environment, we have to identify clearly what we want to communicate before we do so.
Reflect on your discussions with in-person team members as compared to virtual or remote team members.
What have you said to the in-person members about accomplishment, success and failure, direction, etc. when the virtual members were not present?
What thoughts have you had about these topics that you have not put into a formal meeting?
What topics come up in informal in-person conversations that have not been addressed in a formal meeting? Who else needs to know these?
What emotional words or statements have crossed your mind but you have not actually said?
What feedback or reactions have you had to the work product of virtual members that you have not put into words? Would you provide this feedback to an in-person member, and if so in what setting and manner?
Imagine yourself in the shoes of each of your remote employees.
How does the lack of communication affect the performance of work?
How does the lack of communication affect each members’ connections to others?
What kind of self-directed thoughts might each member be having about his or her work?
Are these experiences different from in-person members of the group?