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How to Make a Request to Work Hybrid/Virtual
There are three Work Approaches (On-Site, Hybrid, Virtual) which a teammate and their manager may select as appropriate:
- If a teammate works on-site 4-5 days per week, they are considered “On-Site”
- If a teammate works on-site 2-3 days per week, they are considered “Hybrid”
- If a teammate works on-site 0-1 days per week, they are considered “Virtual
These may change for a teammate over time as business and/or personal needs change. Once you and your manager have determined and agreed upon your work approach, your manager will initiate the process to complete the Virtual Agreement (link coming soon). (Note: Access to the Virtual Agreement is only for leaders). Additional information may also need to be collected for ISD with regards to the equipment needed for a hybrid or virtual work space.
Managing Virtual Teammate Performance
Every teammate, regardless of where they work, deserves to be managed in a fair, thoughtful and consistent manner. The following strategies can be utilized to help manage virtual teams which reflect the new way in which they are working.
The first step is to identify what outcomes are expected. Regardless of the job being performed, clear outcomes must be communicated. These outcomes could include easily measurable outcomes such as email response time, timely response to inquiries (using SLAs as a guide), the number of charges posted, the number of invoices paid, achievement of department productivity metrics, etc. In other cases, the outcomes may be less tangible. Clear communication of expectations and outcomes becomes even more important when outcomes are more subjective. It is necessary in these situations to identify what “success” looks like and to hold the teammate accountable.
The next step is to establish consistent follow-up and evaluation. By consistently providing feedback, leaders are able to address issues or concerns more quickly and the teammate is able to more quickly address those concerns. Setting expectations and outcomes and addressing performance is much easier when routine coaching conversations take place and everyone is on the same page.
The most important aspect in effectively managing virtual teammates is creating an environment of trust. In the world of virtual work, leaders no longer have the ability to see teammates at work and to connect what they see with outcomes. The days of monitoring when teammates take a coffee break, when they walk around the building or how often they chat with a colleague are gone. Trust is established by allowing the teammate the autonomy accomplish the work in a manner that is most conducive to their style while attaining the desired outcomes.
Remote work has a lot of benefits, but one major concern is that it may be harder to climb the career ladder when you’re at home. Research shows that home workers – however productive – suffer from a lack of face time with colleagues and managers, which could negatively impact promotions, and ultimately may stall careers if not proactively addressed.
UNC Health commits that all teammates, regardless of work location, will be provided with equal opportunities to grow in their career. By diligently posting all positions, providing an opportunity for teammates to have face time with key leaders and stakeholders, and by utilizing techniques that enhance communication with virtual teammates, virtual teammates will be actively considered for developmental opportunities. Leaders can also actively partner with teammates to create annual goals and stretch assignments that are focused on the teammate’s long term development. If virtual teammates are identified through succession planning or talent planning exercises, those teammates should be made aware that their talent and hard work have been noticed and that they have been identified as a high potential teammate.
Successful Meetings with On-site & Virtual Teammates
Effectively leading a productive meeting with a combination of on-site and virtual teammates can be challenging. Teammates in an on-site meeting room often make small talk when gathering and throughout the meeting which leaves virtual teammates feeling left out. A skilled leader can created an inclusive experience for all teammates by utilizing a few simple steps.
Meeting facilitators should begin all meetings by establishing norms such as raising hands to speak (actual or virtual). If appropriate, utilize WebEx breakout rooms to facilitate collaboration and feedback. The facilitator should also engage with each participant throughout the meeting and at the end of the meeting to gather feedback and answer questions. It may also be helpful to identify a moderator to monitor side chatter or chatroom, monitor the time and to take notes if necessary. Additional facilitation tools can be accessed on the LOD website.