As business leaders, we all had to adapt pretty quickly when the first announcement in March of the national lockdown came in. IT and equipment set up was probably the most challenging given that we had to set most staff up at home, and whoever knew that Microsoft teams and Zoom would be our main communication channel with not only our clients but our staff. In fact, if we are honest how many of us had to run training sessions on how to host or schedule a meeting and then actually be able to get all the participants invited on the call? Yes, you were not alone!!!
Even though as we head towards the end of the year (and what a year it has been) staff remain a company’s biggest asset, and although currently this next lockdown is scheduled to finish 2 December, will it, and/or have companies now decided that they don’t need to have an office and the staff have been and will continue to work remotely?
So home is now the workplace and with that brings challenges for all, not just for you as an employer but for the employee. Outside of work, we know that lots of people have carer responsibilities as well as parents who in the first lockdown had to also home school their children (thank goodness currently schools are still open) as well as ensuring that they are able to carry out their role. It’s a balancing act for everyone, and we shouldn’t underestimate how this has and will impact on individuals.
We need to be understanding that situations outside of their control such as childcare/after school club closures may still mean that some staff are not able to carry out their roles within their normal contractual hours. We should work with individuals to ensure that their output is not affected by providing some flexibility around their normal working hours. Remember that they are probably feeling vulnerable and want to do the best by you as their employer, so communicate and engage with them to agree the best way of working for all concerned.
How many of your staff are having to work from a bedroom, kitchen or dining table, and do they have the maturity to be self-disciplined and self-motivated and although there may be some distractions are able to ensure that their output is at the required level? How do we develop our business DNA/culture in a virtual world ensuring that collaboration and innovation remains at the forefront with everyone scattered around and not in the workplace where this type of culture is just the norm?
With Microsoft teams and Zoom meetings aplenty, how many times have you had to laugh when someone’s dog starts barking, and then before you know it everyone who has a dog who is on the call starts –and the result is an orchestra of dog barking. It’s now part of our lives and not one that we think will change in the coming months, and as leaders we must accept that we are now imposing on our staff’s home lives, so we all need to adapt.
But life goes on, so how do we ensure that PACE (performance, aspirations, competencies and engagement) stay at the forefront? We are living in a different world of working remotely but these are still crucial components of a business, our staff and our success.
So, it’s time to start concentrating on PACE;
Performance – How are you monitoring performance of individual’s? What are your plans where performance has become a concern?
Aspirations – Employees aspire to continue their development and career journey. Have you checked in with individuals on what those are, and as a business can you implement the advancement of those aspirations?
Competencies – Do your staff have the IT equipment/set up to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability and is it fit for purpose? If not, have you identified what they need?
Engagement – Probably the most crucial right now! How often do you check in with individuals and teams? Do you keep them up to date with what challenges the business is facing? Do you ask for their input on innovation and/or collaboration?
We will continue with our short LinkedIn surveys and will write a further article when we have the results to publish.