5 Hacks for Managing Hybrid Design Teams

Managing remote employees is not always easy and can be even more difficult for those operating within a hybrid work model. From maintaining company culture to finding the right digital tools to support remote employees, while also managing face-to-face interactions, and everything in between; it’s safe to say that many challenges can arise. The good news is that embracing this approach doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 5 hacks to help manage hybrid design teams more effectively!

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3 Common Challenges in the Hybrid Workplace

Managing hybrid teams can come with its fair share of difficulties. For instance, team leaders may find it hard to focus on achieving high-level company goals while working with employees who split their time between their home and the business’ office space. After all, working on a team is all about collaboration and communication – which may be difficult to manage with remote and in-office work happening simultaneously. Other common challenges that may surface in the hybrid workplace include the following.

Proximity Bias

According to the Harvard Business Review, “proximity bias describes how people in positions of power tend to treat workers who are physically closer to them more favorably, and stems from the antiquated assumption that those who work remotely are less productive than those who work from the office.” Does your company struggle with proximity bias? It can happen to a lot of companies. But there are solutions to remedy it and begin to balance the scales between in-person and remote workers. 


Do you find it hard to manage and engage with the entire team? One solution is to encourage increased productivity across the board. Don’t assume the remote employees aren’t working. Trust that those who frequent the office and those that work from home are doing their best to reach the company’s goals. Set expectations that everyone has to adhere to. Then show encouragement and enthusiasm when you give feedback or praise a successful project from any employee. 

Hybrid Meetings

Meetings can be another challenge for a hybrid team. After all, it’s nearly impossible to gather everyone in the same meeting room, especially if any of the remote employees are in a different time zone. The difficulties around hybrid meetings may lead to impromptu discussions or knowledge loss among colleagues. The good news is that, with a little effort, you may be able to remedy the communication gap between employees.


Whether someone works remotely exclusively, has a hybrid schedule, or prefers to work in person; their voice should be heard in the workplace. So, for successful hybrid team meetings, consider using Zoom or another video conferencing platform to connect the entire team (yes, even the in-person folks). Meetings can also be recorded for those who cannot attend to review in their own time. 

For external meetings with clients, encourage employees who are working from home to keep their backgrounds minimalistic or use a virtual Zoom background to maintain the utmost professionalism.

Human Connection

There are key differences between working remotely, engaging in hybrid work, and working traditional office hours. In order to foster good working relationships with your staff, it’s important to recognize that. If you’re having a hard time connecting with those you manage, we encourage you to keep trying to find ways to reach the remote, hybrid, and office employees on your team. 


Remote and hybrid employees often struggle to connect with their other colleagues and can, sometimes, feel isolated from the team – especially if there are others who frequent the company’s office. To remedy that, reach out to them often via phone calls, emails, work chat rooms, and virtual meetings as well. Making folks feel included and like an integral part of the team will surely have a positive impact on everyone. 

a young man works in an office alone surrounded by colleagues desks and plants

5 Hacks Hybrid Team Managers Can Implement Today

Looking to make hybrid working a little easier for the hybrid team you manage? You’re in luck! Below are a few tips managers can use to foster synergy between in-office team members and those who work from home. 

Invest in the right digital tools for the team. 

Communication and collaboration tools are paramount for hybrid design teams. So, make sure your team is covered with the right tools! From project management apps for assigning tasks to time-tracking tools and other creative web applications; you’ll need digital tools to create and access dynamic design files. 

Design an encouraging workplace culture. 

Want to see increased productivity from your remote employees, hybrid workers, and in-person staff members? Take a long, hard look at your workplace culture. How does your company make remote and hybrid employees feel included? Are there opportunities for in-person staff to get to know the team members who work remotely? If your company culture could use some improvements, try to increase transparency, make collaboration tools more accessible, and create a positive working environment for all of the employees. 

Carve out time for collaborative design work.

The hybrid model can be hard for design teams but it is not impossible to manage. With a little shift in perspective and some strategic restructuring of workflows, hybrid design teams can be supported. The key is flexibility, asynchronous activities, task-tracking software, and follow-ups from a passionate team manager.

Encourage autonomy and creative freedom while keeping the company’s goals as a priority. 

It’s a delicate balance but giving employees creative freedom can lead to innovative design work. So, encourage a bit of autonomy while keeping the company’s goals front and center. Encourage teams to find new ways to complete tasks, collaborate, and create opportunities for growth. 

Worried about your design team staying on top of tasks? Just check in from time to time or ask for weekly reports to gauge the progress being made. 

Foster cross-cultural connections among colleagues. 

Hybrid companies vary in size and scale – some have remote employees who work in different countries than the in-office team while others have a hybrid workforce that lives in the same region. Regardless of how your hybrid team is structured, it’s important that every team member feels included and that their culture is respected. To ensure this, managers can make an effort to learn about the cultural practices and native languages of their employees. Likewise, employees can be encouraged (but not mandated) to share their cultural values, languages, and the holidays they observe with the group if they desire. 

Encouraging this level of communication can help colleagues foster deep human connections across cultures, countries, and company departments.