In fact, despite more businesses offering remote working as part of their benefits package, this has been a large learning curve for many business owners. With questions raised like “how do I keep my teams motivated and productive?” And “how can I continue hiring?” Being raised continually, it is easy to get lost in trying to maintain a sense of normality when the abnormal is happening.
In our recent blog about how you can incorporate flexible working into your business, we discussed that in order for a remote working model to work effectively, every now and then you will need to take a step back and assess what is working and what isn’t. Being a month into our lockdown, we decided now would be the best time to share what we have learned, hopefully offering you some guidance for your business.
The best laid plans will go to waste
Before we went into lockdown mode, many of our team members planned a few weeks of activity to ensure that we as managers and business owners knew that our teams had a sense of stability and productivity to their days.
One month in and little of these plans have been completed. Not because our teams are not productive, but because we failed to account for unpredictables in our day to day. We have found that candidates want to speak for longer and business owners are more inquisitive than ever as to what market conditions are like. At first, we were concerned this was an indication that productivity would slip, but the reality is our consultants are having more open and candid conversations with people and are forging stronger relationships for the future.
In recognising this we have learned that being adaptable to your teams is the most important thing right now. Forget about targets which have not been adapted for the current climate, forget about micro-managing, it won’t work at present. Take each day or week as it comes and remember to check in on your team members, if they are struggling to create the same output or stick to rigid structure, the likelihood is that there is some unpredictable which you may not have considered pre-lockdown which you may need to adapt to.
Maintaining a work/life balance
Previously it felt as though we spent so long in the office that we hardly had anytime to see family and spend meaningful time with loved ones and now we have taken a cartwheel flip over to the other side of the work/life balance debate.
Everyone’s situation here is likely to be unique, some may be pulling their hair out after being stuck inside with parents or children all day and others may be experiencing difficulties in creating a separation between home and work. Some of us are eager to return to the office, but we know we are always going to look upon this period as ‘that time everything got put into perspective’.
If we are honest, we miss our daily commutes and lunch time trips but we have learned that as a business we are capable of working from home and our team has adapted to it fantastically. These are feelings which will not dissipate upon our return to the office, so we are looking into the future and adapting ourselves accordingly. This is perhaps something you may want to consider looking into, as we are sure employee desires to have a flexibility option in their package will increase post Covid-19, especially if your business as proven efficient during which.
The pre-meeting meeting
Over the past month we have found ourselves becoming more streamlined with our approach to internal communications. Using Slack rather than email has certainly helped us to co-ordinate projects more effectively and gone are the days of the pre-meeting meeting. As a business we are more aware of our time and our teams are happier for it.
All that project management and internal comms software you signed up to pre-lockdown is likely to have a strong purpose in making your business more efficient during the longer-term. Now may be the time to consider how it can be maintained and incorporated into daily working habits come return to the office.
Team work makes the dream work
A month into working from home one of the biggest things we have learned is how fantastic our team is at adapting quickly to new technology and market conditions, and we are thankful for that because without them we wouldn’t be here today. But, we have also used this period to assess how our business performs under specific conditions and make the adaptions required to compete in future markets. In one month we have learned that adaptability is key to what being under strict working from home conditions is about, where being willing to move with the tides is how businesses will survive for the future.