10 suggestions for hybrid design groups

How to master the ultimate design team challenge: distance

Today more than ever, design teams are spread across cities and time zones, rarely together in the same room. Without role models, post-its and a shared pot of coffee, Where does creative magic happen?? How do teams stay inspired, meet deadlines and manage the design process virtually?

Designer in a last webinar told us that their biggest challenge since Remote or Hybrid is brainstorming online or being in the same room together.

54% stated that they would mainly work from home or in co-working spaces in the next 6 months. Only 8% will be mostly in the office, which means the distance between designers and their teams won’t go away anytime soon.

Try these 10 tips to keep your team connected and creativity flowing:

10 tips infographic

1. Do not work alone in a cave.

It takes extra effort to connect virtually, so be aware when you gather as a group. Mix up different types of meetings. In addition to stand-ups, team meetings and collaboration sessions, take time for quick chats and team building.

2. Agree on the working hours.

The flexibility to work from anywhere is great, but you still need blocks of time to work together as a team. Set times and days of the week when the entire team is guaranteed to be available for meetings, calls, chats, and more.

Professional tip: The team times can be from Tuesday to Thursday. Then you can have large meetings on Mondays and no meetings on Fridays.

3. Make meetings count.

While it’s important to gather as a group, the tiredness is real. Try to be as effective and efficient as possible during the meeting time.

Professional type: Follow a few simple rules …

  • Set a realistic meeting agenda and stick to it.
  • If a topic needs more time, schedule a separate meeting.
  • Decide which meetings are “cameras on” and which are optional.
10 tips infographic

4. Treat freelancers like part of the family.

Too often, freelancers and contractors are excluded from important conversations, which limits their knowledge and causes rework. Treating you as a valuable contributor improves job performance – and your team’s culture!

Pro tip: Give freelancers a company email address, make sure they have access to tools, and include them in team meetings.

5. Go for really useful collaboration tools.

Who doesn’t love the smell of a fresh sharpie? Unfortunately, physical whiteboards and sticky notes are not well suited for hybrid teams. But there are plenty of online tools that do that. Some teams even operate in virtual reality.

Professional type: Online whiteboards have turned a physical tool into a virtual one. Bluescape goes further and makes the project space – the entire collaborative space – virtual.

Try Bluescape for free

6. Use Slack or Teams for hallway chats.

Often, decisions can be processed or started in a short conversation. Use chat to provide initial reflections on big topics, then meet to dig deeper and make meaningful decisions.

Pro tip: have fun. Set up channels for animal lovers, foodies, or whatever interests your team. Channel presenters help keep things on topic and keep things organized.

7. Let introverts speak.

Open team members usually get most of the airtime. Make sure that quieter team members also have the opportunity to contribute. Listen carefully when colleagues want to interfere and try to make room for them.

Pro tip: When the cameras are off, it’s hard to tell when someone is about to say something. Look for the mute icon and watch people turn on their microphones.

10 tips infographic

8. Be creative for the sake of creativity.

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be stretched. When you do it as a team, you build camaraderie and keep everyone in the loop. Workshops and creative exercises are good. Real projects with real impact are even better.

Professional type: Try one (or a mixture) of these:

  • Hackathons
  • Pro bono projects
  • Creative contests

9. Create a buddy system.

Pair people from the same discipline – or better yet, different disciplines – as friends to work together, learn from one another and support one another.

10. Call each other.

Yes, it is easy to send an email or text message, but these are ambiguous tones and raise doubts. You solve problems faster and communicate better when you answer a call and talk about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *