Even as much as 61% of employees expect collaboration supporting technology from their companies. How can you answer those expectations? In this article you will learn about some useful tools to enhance the hybrid work experience.
Tools for managing communication in the hybrid workplace
I guess no article about hybrid work tools can exist without mentioning these three giants: Microsoft, Google, or Slack. If your company already works hybrid, then you probably invested in a tool like Google Meet, Slack, Discord, or Microsoft Teams. But what if I told you that you can go one step further than that?
The software market offers a variety of other platforms that take office collaboration to another level. Whenever you notice that tech giants’ tools don’t cover all your needs, be sure to check solutions like Gather Town or Teamflow. They allow you to design office-like experience for all hybrid workers.
With Gather you can:
- Create your own virtual office,
- Move around the virtual office with your avatar,
- Talk to co-workers,
- Organize online conferences,
- Conduct workshops in meeting rooms
- Share boards for brainstorming,
and much more.
Gather revolves around the idea of a more humane virtual interaction with co-workers.
Not all teams are the same. So, it is natural to see tools that address a specific niche, like Teamflow.
Teamflow was built to help sales development team hit their numbers, to train and learn, while using a tool that imitates a real office environment.
It was adopted by sales teams at Dropbox, Atlassian, Shopify, Uber, Netflix, and many more.
With Teamflow sales teams can:
- Dial together in real-time,
- Listen to each other’s calls and share learnings,
- Celebrate together when big deals are closed,
- Coach their team.
Tools for hybrid meetings planning
Now, the communication tools mentioned above allow you to organize virtual meetings.
What can be tricky is syncing the members of a team or project to a common meeting.
Going through all the employees’ calendars to decide on a perfect meeting date can be time-consuming.
How to use the meeting scheduling tool in Microsoft Teams and Outlook
Microsoft Teams has a cool feature, that maybe some of you out there don’t know yet, that can help you avoid bouncing back and forth asking colleagues about their availability.
- Start by creating a new meeting in the calendar.
- Go to “Scheduling assistant”.
- Select the date and time of the suggested meeting.
- Select “Add attendees” from the top menu.
- From the window that pops up, double click on the names of colleagues.
- Look in the calendar and check if they are busy in your chosen time frame. There will be dark blue slots for the busy times. When the time slots are white, the people you chose are available. For the example below, the meeting could be moved earlier or later, because the two guests are busy in the chosen time frame.
How to use Doodle to synchronize people for meetings
If the current tool you are using for scheduling meetings doesn’t have a feature that can help you avoid going back and forth with colleagues, while checking if they’re available or not, you can use Doodle. This option is available in their free plan.
Here’s how you do it:
- Create a group poll.
- Fill in the details of the poll: occasion, description, location.
- Select the proper time slots you want to suggest to the teammates and the meeting duration. You can even sync with Google or Microsoft calendars.
- Click on “Create invite and continue”.
- By default, the organizer is available in all the suggested time slots. The organizer can’t edit its preferences in the free plan. The organizer can now select “Copy link” to send it to the guests.
- The guests will have to place a tick in the selected time frame if they can take part. The organizer will be notified by mail when people fill in the poll. When a decision is made, the organizer can notify the teammates about it.
Some of us are using Doodle outside work to schedule gathering with friends 😊. Cool, right?
Hybrid meetings that could have been an email
Average time spent on weekly meetings increased by 253% since February 2020. Some of those meetings are unnecessary. Maybe sometimes they can’t become an email, but what about a video?
Using software like Loom, Hippo video, or Vidyard can significantly help your hybrid work hygiene, while diminishing the number of meetings in a week. These tools have comfy free plans, so they’re a gold mine!
Let’s say you want to give feedback on some design, a piece of code, or sales materials. What about recording a video about this, instead of organizing a meeting?
What if you want to explain a colleague how to setup a Google Ads campaign, or where to setup a sales pipeline in Salesforce? Simply record the screen with or without your face in it, use the editing tools to polish final outcome and easily share your materials with your co-workers. Save everyone’s time and focus, while still conveying the message.
Needless to say that you can use such tools for other activities as well: trainings, building a knowledge base, sales and customer support activities, etc.
Tools for employees recognition
According to a JLL report, being visible and recognized stays in top 6 work priorities. Nothing cuts wings as badly as not getting deserved appreciation. Noticing employees’ actions is even harder while working hybrid. On top of that, you will never be able to see all the cool stuff your employees do for each other.
This is why apps like Bonusly, Fond and Kudos were created. Using them, your crew will be able to reward co-workers with special points and feedback as a “thank you” for their help. Later, those points can be exchanged for gift cards or direct purchases. It is a simple way to boost positivity, and thus productivity in your hybrid workplace.
Let’s check them out a bit.
Bonusly – for building a scalable culture of recognition
Here are some of the features that Bonusly clients love:
- Fun social recognition and achievements,
- Engaging chat tool with intranet integrations,
- Automated recognition for work anniversaries and birthdays,
- Global rewards,
- Centralized company incentives and awards,
- Actionable analytics,
Fond – rewards and recognition tool
Fond is an employee rewards program that enables employees to send points to each other, along with recognitions for hard work, major accomplishments, and more. Employees can use these points to redeem rewards and corporate perks on the Fond platform.
Kudos – employee recognition platform
Here are some of the features loved by the Kudos clients:
- Recognition messages to share the contributions of colleagues,
- Award programs,
- Milestones celebrations,
- People Analytics,
- Sentiment surveys,
- Spaces and galleries to bring teams together,
Tools for improving virtual meetings
There are tons of memes circulating around virtual meetings: embarrassing situations, people having sound issues (no sound, or too many sounds around them), etc.
How can these virtual meetings get better?
- Use a noise cancellation app like Krisp. Lots of brands worldwide (Cisco, Sony, NASA, SAP, Siemens, etc) are using it to remove background voices of other people talking in the same room, fan sounds, keyboard sound, and other noises.
- Use an app for meeting transcriptions like Fireflies, if your meeting tool does not have this as a feature.
- Use apps that help you collaborate, brainstorm or plan during and outside meetings, like Miro. In Tidaro, this is probably our most loved tool. It really helps us get more creative and smarter with our work.
- Use apps like HyperContext that help you prepare better for meetings with your teammates.
- Use tools such as mmhhmm to give better presentations.
Hybrid work project management tools
Hybrid work has created a need for better coordination of resources, both at home and in the office. The work processes have been disrupted, but with the right project management and communication tools, things can get on track fast.
Now, you might be familiar with the most popular project management tools out there, so we’re just shortlisting here our favorite ones:
- Trello – This is Magda’s (Tidaro’s social media guru) favorite project management tool.
- Asana – This is Alina’s (team lead at Tidaro) third favorite tool for managing hybrid work.
- ClickUp – This is Wojtek’s (Tidaro’s storyteller), favorite tool for managing tasks.
- Monday – This is Alina’s own favorite 😊.
- Notion – what’s cool about Notion is that it goes beyond project management. It can also connect with wikis and docs.
Tools for booking office resources
If you want to achieve peace of mind while managing such flexible creation as hybrid office, you need to think of equally flexible resource access. Around 44% of employees expect employers to provide them with apps to facilitate office usage, including solutions for booking resources.
Tidaro is here to help you with that. With the Tidaro app you will give your employees autonomy to book desks, meeting rooms and parking spots with just two clicks on their smartphones. On top of that, you will get intuitive tools to manage those resources, and decide on how to organize your hybrid work experience.
Tidaro takes care of all the technical stuff like accounts creation, tools integration and employees onboarding to a new solution. You can sit back and relax during the implementation. After that Tidaro provides you with dedicated customer support to help with any cases your new hybrid office encounters.
Boosting your hybrid office experience is all about small changes. The solutions mentioned will make your employees’ lives easier and help them collaborate with those who choose to work from home. However, all companies have different needs, so it’s always good to ask employees what challenges they face and how you can help overcome them. If you want to keep improving the way your office works, think about conducting hybrid work survey among your employees to better understand their needs.