It’s a brave new world.

Remote work presents a lot of opportunities for employers to hire talent virtually anywhere.

However, it also brings a range of new challenges.

From an inclusion standpoint, it can be difficult to balance in-person teams with remote employees. If you’re not careful, you risk creating an environment where in-person team members are viewed as more productive, collaborative and committed.

To ensure your hybrid workplace is inclusive for everyone, consider these tips.

Prioritize Open, Transparent Communication

It’s easy to underestimate how much information spreads “through the grapevine” in physical offices.

Whether it’s advance notice about new policies or recent personnel changes, you want to make sure that remote team members don’t “miss the memo.”

If remote team members are consistently hearing important news later than everyone else, they’re likely to feel left-out and undervalued.

To address this concern, leadership and HR should prioritize open, transparent communication with virtual and in-person team members so that everyone is in the loop.

Be Intentional About How You Hold Meetings

The natural go-to for hybrid teams is for teams in the same office to get on one video, while remote teams “Zoom in” from their remote workplace.

However, the main downside is that anyone who isn’t in the same room might feel excluded. To make everyone feel like they’re on equal footing, think about mandating that teams should only meet in a single room if everyone can be present.

If not, everyone can “Zoom in” from individual locations.

It may seem excessive, but it’s better than long-term damage to company culture and team cohesion you might create with a sense that there’s an “in crowd” and “out crowd.”

Remember There’s No Replacement for One-on-One Conversations

If you really want to make people feel included and like they belong at your organization, remember there’s no replacement for one-on-one conversations.

At the end of the day, personal relationships are one of the strongest ways to make someone feel connected to our team.

Leaders and HR must work together to create a culture where leaders consistently have one-on-one conversations with their direct reports to build a rapport, get to know one another, and show they care.

Whether your team members are down the hall or in a different state, taking the time for these conversations goes a long way toward making everyone feel included.

We Are Stronger Together

It’s not easy to make a team feel cohesive and inclusive. It’s even more difficult when members may be scattered across different states and even countries.

However, we must remember the benefits that come with having a team comprised of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

We truly are stronger together!