6 Tips to Effectively Lead a Hybrid Startup Team

People taking part in an online video conference.

The last few years have brought unprecedented changes to the world of work. For the first time, remote working was no longer an option — it became a necessity simply to keep businesses running. The silver lining, though, is that this period of disruption has shown many companies the value of opting for remote and hybrid work models for their teams.

On the flip side, managers now need to learn how to lead teams that are not always in the same place or sometimes even the same time zone. So, what are some of the best practices for managing a hybrid team, and what does this look like for a startup?

Growing Your Startup Team?

Discover top freelance talent through Fiverr!

Get Started

Best Practices for Managing a Hybrid Team

Managing a hybrid team is very different from leading an entirely remote or completely on-site team. When you add in the startup element, things can get tricky pretty quickly if you don’t have a plan and some solid guidelines to work by. You may have led many teams in the past, but managing hybrid workers will undoubtedly be an adjustment for both you and the team. 

Here are some of the best practices we’ve sourced for hybrid team startup management.

1. Set Clear Expectations

If your team is unsure of what’s expected of them, disaster is imminent. Not only do vague expectations make it difficult for you to lead effectively, but this will also result in your team feeling insecure and unsure of where they stand.

Outline exactly what you expect from them in both remote and in-office situations. This includes availability, expected responsiveness, and desired outcomes. Allowing your team the autonomy to choose when they work in-office or remotely can be empowering for them, but it is important to clarify exactly how these choices should be communicated with the rest of the team.

2. Prioritize Fairness and Inclusion

One of the main difficulties in managing remote workers is ensuring those workers still feel valued and recognized. It’s also imperative to ensure they still have equal opportunities to grow within the company. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” should most certainly not apply to your work-from-home team members, but you have to put plans in place to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Team members who predominantly work in the office may also end up feeling like they are working harder than their remote colleagues. Encourage inclusiveness and fairness by ensuring that all of your team members bond equally and have fair access to team leaders regardless of their location. Don’t forget the perks and benefits. If you occasionally provide lunch for in-office employees, you’ll need to find a way to do that for remote workers too.

3. Provide the Right Tools and Resources

If you are going to go with a hybrid working model in your startup, it’s important to acknowledge that your remote workers need to have access to the same tools that your in-office workers do. Setting all employees up with the capability to work remotely from their first day in your team is key to successful hybrid working.

Whether an employee thinks they might work remotely or not, access to collaboration software, video calling capabilities, and any team messaging apps should be part of your standard onboarding process. The day may come when that team member needs to switch for many reasons, and a seamless transition will benefit everyone. 

4. Encourage Effective Communication

This area really needs some thought because communication doesn’t just happen in writing. Some of the best communication happens around the water cooler or in the lunchroom. How can you replicate that for remote workers? 

Of course, there are a number of apps and software programs for internal messaging, but sometimes, that just isn’t enough. One-on-one meetings with team members are essential and should be scheduled beforehand and stuck to like clockwork. On that point, though, be sure not to overdo the number of meetings. Effective communication is not about quantity; it’s about quality. 

5. Allow Time for Adjustment

If you are not starting out with a hybrid model and this is a shift your startup is making, be sure to allow for an adjustment period. Not everyone will transition smoothly into a hybrid model on day one. That goes for team members and leaders. 

You may well find that the initial groundwork you set up needs some tweaking after a few months, so be open to that. Hybrid working is about increasing flexibility, so be flexible!

6. Make Your Hybrid Model a Team Effort

When setting up the concept for your hybrid working model, consult your team. They may well have ideas, feedback, or previous experience that proves invaluable. Then, once the concept has taken shape, go back and bounce it off everyone again.

Consider how it might impact each individual department’s tasks. How does HR effectively do their job, for instance, or how might remote work impact your finance department? Hybrid work will mean different things for different team members, and for it to be successful, you need to consider this upfront.


What is a hybrid team?

A hybrid team is a flexible way of working in which some team members work remotely, and others work from a central location or office.

What are the pros and cons of a hybrid team?

Hybrid teams can allow businesses to use their office spaces efficiently, increase productivity and flexibility, and create a stronger company culture.

That being said, communication and scheduling may be confusing for some workers, and while some remote workers may feel disadvantaged, in-office workers may feel like their space is more lackluster.

What are some tools to help effectively manage a hybrid team?

There are several tools that can help both in-office and work-from-home teams — both for communication and for tracking.

Some tools to consider for your hybrid team include:

  • Team/Project Management Software (e.g., Base Camp, Liquid Planner, Asana, Zoho Projects)
  • Cloud-Based Services (e.g., DropBox, Google Drive, IDrive, Microsoft OneDrive)
  • Messaging Apps (e.g., Zoho Cliq, Slack, Flock, and Twist) 
  • Video Calling Software (e.g., ClickMeeting, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Zoho) 

Explore Team Management Tools