Diversity Makes Teams Great: How To Do Hybrid Right

The beauty behind diverse teams is the way their members thrive on and excel at different things. Those differences extend to how people like to work: some want to be at home, others prefer the office, and most relish flexibility. In fact, more than half of employees globally now say they would change jobs if flexibility wasn’t on offer. Neither office nor remote work suits everybody, though, so many companies will adopt a mix of the two: hybrid work.

Hybrid affords people a choice, allowing them to work in the way they’d like. And while it’s true that hybrid has flaws — especially when fostering an equitable company culture — it is possible to mitigate them.

On Riff, companies are able to build an inclusive workplace culture — one where flexibility really is at the core of work. That means team members can feel free to work in the office or from elsewhere, without fear of missing out. Riff allows teams to have the best of both worlds. Here’s how.

1. Equal access to information

We live in a knowledge economy: it’s important that everybody has access to information. But achieving that in a hybrid workforce is no small feat. It’s easy for people physically present in the office to stay in the loop, but those working remotely often miss out. In fact, 60% report missing important information because it was communicated in person.

Who is responsible for making sure remote workers have the information they need to do their job? Probably nobody: that would be a full-time job in and of itself. But this burden becomes moot if your team uses Riff. See, Riff teams sit together in a shared audio space — wherever they are. So workers at home, at the office, or anywhere share the same access to information.

2. Visibility for remote workers

Simply being at the office has long been seen as a sign that a worker is getting stuff done. While that isn’t true, studies have shown that managers are biased towards those who put in facetime. Sitting at a desk in the physical office and sitting at a desk elsewhere are really no different, though, and shouldn’t be judged as such.

Hybrid teams are especially vulnerable to this. When some people work in the office and others work at home, it’s an uneven playing ground. The solution: Riff. Wherever you are, you can show up on Riff to be present with your team — and everybody else will be doing the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re physically in the office or not: you’re still present. And if presence is not correlated with physicality, that facetime bias is quickly extinguished.

3. Inclusion for all

In the wake of the pandemic, 75% of workers feel less connected. That makes sense: the casual conversations we’d all become accustomed to more or less disappeared, and work became less human and more transactional. Worse still, when some team members work remotely and others don’t, the gap between can feel enormous.

Teams using Riff get to include in casual conversations, though, which fosters a sense of belonging. Anything can be communicated at any time, without having to first settle upon a time and format. You don’t have to decide if it’s important enough for Zoom or wait around for a response on Slack. Just talk, listen, and participate in real-time. Like the office, you can overhear background conversations and jump in to contribute. And if everybody is communicating via the same medium — whether remote or not — they are equally present, available, and included.

Anything can be communicated at any time, without having to first settle upon a time and format. You don’t have to decide if it’s important enough for Zoom or wait around for a response on Slack. Just talk, listen, and participate in real-time.

In some ways, this is an opportunity: it’s a chance to develop a robust workplace culture and define what it really means to belong. Things have shifted since the 40-hour workweek began, and we have a chance to change the rules. What passed for culture before can be replaced with a better version — one that’s inclusive, and crafted to suit the company in question.

There’s no one right way to do anything, and technology allows us to be more flexible: to choose we want to do things, rather than follow the status quo. By using Riff, hybrid teams can avoid the common pitfalls of being partly office-based and partly remote. Riff helps to ensure that everybody has equal access to information, that all workers — remote or otherwise — are visible, and that every team member is included. If hybrid teams can work in absence of those problems, there’s nothing they can’t do.

Riff is a lightweight virtual office for high-velocity teams.