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The NextGen Work Canvas

Let's co-create better hybrid teamwork

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Take your team's hybrid work
to the next level

We believe companies need to better listen to the next generation. That is why The NextGen Project, in partnership with ISKU, Howspace, and Fujitsu invited 30 next-generation leaders to co-create a tool for better hybrid teamwork in organisations.

The NextGen Work Canvas brings a systematic approach to teamwork design when members work mostly from different places and at different times. The topics in the canvas are not new, but hybrid working requires us to take a new look at them. The workforce dispersion makes teamwork more complex and ambiguous, thus calling for increased clarity and better coordination for teams to succeed while fostering the well-being of its members.

 

This is now the first version of the tool, and we are grateful for any suggestions you might have. What is working for you? What are we missing? New ideas? Please feel free to reach out to us! Share your thoughts 

NextGen Work Canvas

The NextGen Work Canvas has 4 sectionsWhy, Who, How, Foundation. 

Each section consists of 2-3 elements, for which we have defined critical topics, questions for inspiration, pitfalls to avoid, and tips that will help you design better hybrid work practices. Download PDF

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HOW

How do we work in a hybrid way?

Communication: How do we communicate in different situations? E.g. when do we need face-to-face meetings and when is it ok to work remotely?

 

Ways of working: How do we organise work tasks? Which type of work should be done synchronously or asynchronously?

 

Workspaces and tools: What kind of workspaces and tools do we need as a team and as individuals?

FOUNDATION

How to ensure successful hybrid teamwork?

Well-being: What do we need for our psychological, emotional and physical well-being? How do we make sure everyone is okay?

Leadership: What does good leadership look like for our team to perform at its best?

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WHY

Why do we do what we do?

Stakeholders: Who are the internal or external stakeholders we work with and what are their preferences for collaboration?

Purpose: What is our team purpose and what are we delivering to our stakeholders? What is our hybrid work vision?

WHO
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WHO are we as individuals and as a team?

Team: How are we structured to fulfil our purpose and meet our stakeholder needs?

Me: What are our individual hybrid work preferences?

Five steps

for co-creating better hybrid work practices with your team 

Follow these steps to design your team's new hybrid work model. You may work with the canvas online or print it out and use Post-it notes.

01

Analyse your current hybrid teamwork within each of the nine elements. What works and what doesn’t? Where are the pain points? Prioritise them.

02

Design your improved hybrid work model. First, focus on the most critical pain points and start with small changes. Use the questions in this document as inspiration, but don’t be limited by them. You may do this exercise in smaller groups, where each group works on certain elements. We recommend proceeding in this order: WHY? → WHO? → HOW? → FOUNDATION.

03

Define needed actions, their owners and timelines for making the intended improvements happen.

04

Measure progress and get feedback from the team members and stakeholders.

05

Iterate your model. Learn from other teams. Enjoy hybrid working!

Stakeholders

Start designing your hybrid work practices by identifying your internal and/or external stakeholders. Make sure you understand their requirements for working with you, especially in terms of communication, ways of working, and what workspace and tools are required for productive collaboration. 

  • Internal stakeholders (e.g., other teams)

  • External stakeholders (e.g., suppliers, customers, contract workers)

  • Stakeholder equirements for communication, ways of working, and workspaces

 

Purpose

Having a shared and inspiring purpose is especially important in hybrid work, as your team members may not frequently meet in person. It helps build cohesion, keep the team connected, and move in the same direction. Make sure your team clearly understands the company's purpose and how your team’s purpose and targets connect with it. 

Most importantly, define your hybrid teamwork vision, i.e. what are the positive outcomes you are looking for by working in a hybrid way? You may think about it from the team member and the stakeholders’ perspectives. What benefits does your team’s hybrid working bring to them? Or maybe your teamwork vision is about a positive impact on the environment by decreasing commuting. A clearly defined vision also helps to measure progress and identify needs for improvement.

  • Company purpose

  • Team purpose

  • Team targets

  • Hybrid teamwork vision

Team

To successfully work in a hybrid way, you may need to re-think how the team is built and how it operates. That is why it is important to first understand the team member’s hybrid work preferences before working on this element.

 

Your team structure may be fixed, with roles and responsibilities set as permanent. Or it may be dynamic with changing roles and responsibilities, as requirements may change over time. Define the key competencies needed to work in a hybrid setup, and make sure there are clear individual goals for each team member. Most importantly, clarify decision authorities so that everyone knows whom to turn to with questions and when to make the calls by themselves.

Also think about how to ensure learning, especially regarding the tools and new ways of working (e.g. how to facilitate hybrid meetings).

  • Team structure

  • Key competencies

  • Roles and responsibilities

  • Individual goals

  • Decision authority

  • Learning and unlearning

Me

Ask the team members to think about their individual working preferences and needs for skill development and personal growth. This is also where self-awareness comes into play, as it is important to understand one's personality and individual sources of motivation and energy, and vice versa, what drains us. Encourage open conversation about these topics, because a better understanding of each other helps us to collaborate better and avoid misunderstandings that easily happen in remote communication. It will also help you to make potentially needed adjustments to roles, responsibilities and individual goals.

 

After the individual reflection, make a summary of your important team-level findings in the canvas.

  • Self-awareness

  • Working preferences

  • Skill development

  • Personal growth

Communication

Clear communication may be the single most important element in hybrid work. The team should have a shared understanding of the communication practices for different purposes and the rationale behind them - otherwise, conflicts may arise if team members have different preferences, e.g., when to come to the office.

Define how your team should interact in different situations, e.g. when to communicate face-to-face and when remotely, and when to work in a synchronous or asynchronous way

Pay special attention to two things. First, invest time and effort in relationship building between team members, as hybrid communication easily becomes ‘transactional’, thus increasing the risk of misunderstandings or disconnection between people. Second, avoid unconsciously favoring people who happen to be in the office. We naturally continue chatting with people near us after a meeting and new ideas come up, which is a good thing, of course. However, it is important to be aware of this and find ways to increase inclusivity between remote and on-site colleagues.

Define meeting policies for productive hybrid meetings (e.g. when a meeting is NOT a solution, how to prepare for meetings, participant roles, ensuring psychological safety, and how to create a sense of personal presence in meetings).

  • Transactional communication, i.e.getting (simple) stuff done, asking for information, quick follow-ups, or making corrections

  • Ideation, problem-solving and feedback discussions

  • Relationship building 

Ways of working

Define how actual work happens in your hybrid team, i.e. how tasks are assigned between team members, and which type of work should or can be done synchronously or asynchronously. Think, about how individual workload is best monitored with a special focus on remote workers, and how team members can be supported in prioritising their tasks. Finally, identify systematic ways for reflection and discovering new opportunities.

  • Task assignment (asynchronous and synchronous tasks)

  • Workload management and task prioritisation

  • Handovers

  • Reflection and discovering new opportunities

Workspaces and tools

Hybrid work requires you to think across on-site and remote settings to make sure that the team members have equal access to the necessary tools, equipment and infrastructures. Also think about the physical workspaces, furniture, and equipment and how they best support your team’s ways of working - both at the office and at home. Make sure the team members have high-quality connections to access digital workspaces irrespective of their location.

Ergonomics is the foundation for efficient ways of working. The smart combination of physical and online workspaces allows you to focus on the work itself.

  • Digital (e.g., communication, collaboration, learning, task tracking, devices)

  • Physical (e.g., spaces, furniture and equipment)

  • Connections 

  • Ergonomics (physical and digital)

  • Safety and security

Well-being

The success of your hybrid teamwork very much depends on its members' psychological, emotional and physical well-being.

While hybrid working increases flexibility, it also challenges your individual well-being. We may assume that we should be constantly available, thus blurring the lines between private life and working, or we may miss face-to-face social interaction with our colleagues.

Therefore managing well-being becomes increasingly important. Your psychological and emotional well-being intertwine because what you think affects how you feel, which in turn affects how you behave. Your physical well-being prevents undue physical fatigue or stress. Hence, your well-being can make or break your contribution to hybrid teamwork. It influences your motivation, your creativity, your resilience and your productivity.  Also countless online meetings with talking heads easily exhaust us.

Furthermore, what affects well-being, to what extent, how and why may differ from one person to another. Therefore, monitoring well-being helps track individual health on a team level, assess the gaps against team well-being standards, and adopt measures to keep everyone onboard. This reduces turnover rates, absences and sick leaves apart from assisting in the resolution of any potential gaps with stakeholders to continue with healthy and grounded hybrid collaboration.

  • Psychological

  • Emotional

  • Physical

  • Monitoring well-being

Leadership

Hybrid work requires many of the leadership practices we may have forgotten. More clarity and thoughtful planning on team purpose, targets, team structures, roles and communication is needed to make hybrid teams effective.

A hybrid team leader steers teamwork by overseeing and supporting all the other elements in The NextGen Work Canvas (team leadership) and makes sure the team is well aligned with its stakeholders (organisational leadership).

In team leadership, first connect your team’s purpose with that of the organisation and review and adjust team targets to best reflect this alignment. Second, evaluate whether your team structure, roles and responsibilities support your team’s purpose. Third, makes sure that your hybrid team’s communication, ways of working, and workspaces and tools are optimal for the team to reach its targets. Fourth, be present for your team members, ask how they feel, be responsive, empower, and mentor them. 

Organisational leadership manages stakeholder relations in addition to supporting and implementing change with your team’s best interest in mind. You negotiate with stakeholders to readjust requirements and deliverables whilst bearing in mind the organisational and team’s purposes. You ensure everyone on your team is aware of any policy changes and reflect with them on how to best adapt.

  • Team leadership 

  • Organisational leadership (e.g., managing stakeholders relations, supporting and implementing change)

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Master The NextGen Work Canvas

Do you need help using the tool in your organisation? 

Schedule a free call

Credits

Hybrid Work Lab project team:

Heikki Leskinen, Artis Gromuls, Leyla Yacine, Hilda Mäkelä and Nina Perälä

Partners:

Howspace: Tomi Hilvo, Liisa Marsio, Hanna Liimatainen

ISKU: Miia Lähdes, Antti Olin, Maiju Hyytiäinen, Ilkka Ylilauri

Fujitsu: Pekka Hirvi, Yael Hälvä, Kimmo Matero, Sari Heikkinen, Jenni Porvari

Hybrid Work Lab participants: 

Paula Autio, City of Helsinki

Susanna Bernitz, Lumene Oy

Pinja Fernström, Naveo Commerce

Erika Grönroos, Pohjantähti Keskinäinen Vakuutusyhtiö

Milla Ilanen, Kekkilä-BVB

Reetta Julkunen, SEB

Tahvo Kekkonen, Wise Consulting / LeadDesk Oyj

Stephan Kraus, HYPT

Jaakko Kylämies, Visma Public Oy

Lotta Kyllönen, OP

Iina Lindholm, Paroc Oy

Christoph Lüneburg, Nokia

Rosa Malinen, Mehiläinen

Anna Manninen, Barona

Matilda Mäkitalo, Howspace

Henrietta Niskanen, LähiTapiola

Ogadinma Nwoko, KPMG Finland

Tugce Ozturk, Nokia

Joonas Pakkanen, Fujitsu

Nattalya Pinto, Volvo Cars

Henna Räihä, L&T Siivous Oy

Iida Salmenranta, OP Group

Annaliisa Selin, Bonava Suomi Oy

Juuli Saarelainen, Howspace

Noora Stafford, Arla Oy

Cecilie Sundling, maternity leave

Veikko Vataja, Sampo Group

Veera Virintie, Silta Education Oy

Natalie Waschke

Anastasia Zolotova, Volvo Cars

Any question?
Contact us

Heikki Leskinen
Founder & CEO, The NextGen Project
+358 40 5210125
heikki.leskinen@thenextgenproject.io

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