By Joey Tait, Managing Director, develop
Employers have got a big challenge ahead of them when it comes to the future of work.
Office, hybrid or remote? There’s certainly a buzz in the air about what businesses will opt to do, and the calls to listen to employee needs are growing stronger by the day. The shift in the ways of working brought about by the pandemic are significant and it’s important that organisations across a range of industries are paying attention to what this may mean for their teams.
These new ways of working will spark fresh demands of business leaders, managers, and human resources teams, as they juggle what employees are looking for once restrictions are eased and we look to a post-pandemic world.
What’s important to realise is that you can make a remote working culture work for your business. It just comes down to a new approach, and fresh outlook and a willingness to adapt.
Really get to know your team
How well do you know your team?
The most critical part about bringing in remote or hybrid models to your ways of working is in acknowledging that this requires a personal approach. There is not a one size fits all method, and your team will have different personal situations and considerations when it comes to life post-pandemic.
For us, it’s about really getting to know the people that work with us, their family situations, who they are outside of work and how we can support them to ensure they continue to deliver high quality results for the business. If we can understand more effectively what motivates them, then we can continue our growth trajectory.
Keeping in mind that each member of your team is an individual is central to supporting a remote or hybrid working culture.
Make personal development pathways clear
Just because your team are based in different locations, doesn’t mean their (or your) ambition and drive has become less of a priority.
You need to ensure that staff understand the progression routes and personal development pathways that are available to them. What are the chances for development and progression within the organisation? Or, for a temporary role, how will working with you advance the individual’s career? To the candidate, a job is never just a job. Show you understand their aspirations by indicating the career paths open to all potential employees.
Setting targets, engaging with your team to understand their goals and building a clear vision for how your team can help the business to grow is crucial because it gives your people (and us as leaders) something to drive forward towards in a world that has somewhat stood still.
It’s all about communication
We hear it a lot, but communication is the most effective tool you have. A remote or hybrid working culture relies on being able to communicate seamlessly. It really is that simple.
Consider implementing daily setups and wrap ups to keep things fresh and together and to help your team feel as though they are part of something. There are a lot of people that have zero contact with their teammates often for a whole week. You must keep your team engaged and invest time in supporting their work.
The introduction of more flexible ways of working isn’t just something that can benefit your existing staff though. It is your employee value proposition – the magnet that will attract candidates to your door. In a competitive and turbulent hiring market, demonstrating that you are a forward-thinking business will enable you to widen your talent pool and bring in candidates that provide that value-add to support the growth plans of the business.
Re-think your policies around employee wellbeing
Now more than ever, it’s important to look after yourself and those around you. In recruitment, and other similar sales-based businesses, we work with a results-driven approach, but going the extra mile for people individually means there’s a greater chance of getting the result.
Ultimately, if the team is succeeding then so are we, and vice versa. Each person should have access to the benefits they need to ensure their personal and professional lives work in harmony together. From remote working options, wellbeing initiatives, parental leave policies and leadership development programmes to health and entertainment subscriptions, employers can do a lot to keep their teams motivated from home.
We need to build working cultures which anticipate that people will want to work flexibly and will want to prioritise these different elements of their lives. That starts with building a culture of fairness and inclusion, where no bias is shown to those who prefer to work in the office.
Study after study says that many workers want remote working at least some of the time. They tend to cite benefits such as better work/life balance, reduced commute, fewer associated costs, and more autonomy over their own time. Few people seem to prefer working from home purely because they don’t like the office environment, meaning there are other ways to offer them the benefits of remote working.
We’ve decided to focus on autonomy moving forward, as and when restrictions allow. Our team will be asked to come into the office on Mondays, but the rest of the week is up to them. We’ll also ask new recruits to come into the office five days a week until they pass probation, to ensure they’re getting the support they need at the beginning.
The world of work has been turned upside down in the last 12 months, and it is now up to use to choose a better working culture, rather than reverting to what we’ve always known. It’s time to make decisions based on what could be, not what has been.