Peter Quintana, of hgkc, is a strategic partner to BASDA working closely with the senior leadership team on topics covering building resilience, managing teams, leadership and building an innovation culture. His expertise in the field is renowned and BASDA is pleased to share some of his insights with our members in the second of four blogs covering topics that are pertinent for all businesses.
Flexible working is not something new. However, the pandemic has changed things by establishing that no matter what their situation, employees are capable of excelling when working remotely. However, managers still face challenges in this new way of working.
During the pandemic, managers had to adapt from their usual management style of in person observation and not having a ‘traditional’ workplace for them to walk about. With a lack of face-to-face collaboration, managers need to trust their team. Constantly asking for updates while working remotely is just as bad as breathing down their necks in the office. A lack of trust will lead to a lack of productivity. Your team need to feel valued.
Managers can proactively communicate by holding regular meetings allowing their employees to air any new ideas or problems they are facing. Providing a listening ear can help build a stronger working relationship and increase employee morale.
Work VS Home Life
The boundary between work and home life needs to be maintained. When working in an office, employees were able to leave work behind, their homes safe spaces where they can relax. However, now people are working from home, this boundary is more important than ever. Managers need to help their team maintain it by setting an example:
• Contacting their team only within working hours.
• Not setting last minute deadlines which require employee overtime.
• Encouraging their team to step away from the computer after ‘close’.
Setting these rules as part of new work regulations will discourage employees from replying to emails ‘out of hours’ ensuring they know when to work and when not to.
Water Cooler Conversations
A lot of great ideas come from ‘water cooler’ conversations. The discussions had when employees ‘bump’ into each other and talk about new ideas to overcome the challenges they face. Sometimes for success, they need to bounce an idea off someone else. To maintain this level of creativity at home, managers should encourage their team members to check in with each other. Businesses can invest in a visual collaboration platform where employees can share their ideas using visual aids, however, managers will need to regularly motivate their team to use it. Furthermore, managers can organise regular innovation meetings where they encourage their team to discuss new ideas and bounce off each other.
Some managers struggle to adapt to hybrid working, implementing a TW&T approach – meaning on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays employees work in the office and on Mondays and Fridays, they work from home. Instead, managers need to communicate with their team, understand when they are most productive at home, and when they are most productive in office, and marry that with what the business and its customers need. Managers can develop a schedule that best suits the business, their customers and their team, ensuring they take advantage of when their team is most efficient.
Flexible working is here to stay and instead of forcing your team into work, managers need to plan. Schedule when your team can work from home, and when they are needed in the office. Support your people and show you trust them.
hgkc work in partnership with Springboard To The Future to help develop a flexible working strategy and offer progressive leadership and management development programmes designed to work in the ‘new normal’.
Interested to Find Out More?
hgkc is a consultancy providing expert advice and strategies that will help you lead better, innovate more, and exit with confidence towards your North Star. If any of our members would like to find out more why not visit the hgkc website, call 0117 332 1002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org