How often have we heard “unprecedented times” and “Covid Normal”? These are terms that often make us cringe but in business if we are not adapting and taking these as triggers for change we might just get left behind.
As an experienced HR consultant to many businesses one of the key challenges we see business facing is how to create a cutting edge working from home policy. If Covid taught us anything it is about being courageous. Nothing like a good crisis to get us thinking, pushing the boundaries and taking the time to simply be better.
The war on talent is real and employees have changed as a result of the Covid experience. Expectations are now varied and remote working is no longer a taboo subject. So how do we balance remote working with the business needs and the expectations of a demographically diverse workforce? Simple – you have to be created and really embrace flexibility.
Let’s share our top tips on creating a winning Work from home Policy.
Like it or not, it simply comes down to trust. If you are fearful of allowing employees to work from home ask yourself why? Out clients, when they are asked this question, after some very uncomfortable moments admit its trust. Not trusting that employees will get the job done, believing they will waste time, not be as productive. The reality is that may be true for some but not all. Does it really matter if they pop a load of washing on or walk the dog at 11 am? If the work gets done and the timing does not hold anyone else up, is that not what being trusting is all about? We all work differently. I am sitting here typing with my slippers on feeling very productive – no judgment please! Others prefer to sit in a café if the job gets done and the standard is high there no issue so learn to trust.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Generally we are dealing with adults with some level of self-awareness or you would not have employed them. Employees know what works for them. The pre Covid romantic notion of working from home was literally a nightmare for some. Some employees quickly worked out they crave the structure of the going to work routine whilst others developed a new found appreciation of their most productive work styles and the understanding that working from home was something that worked for them. The balance is that in reality some roles do need to cross over and interact but be careful not to throw a blanket policy over the entire organisation as that is a quick fire way to disengage a workforce. Look at role types and be clear why they need to be in office. Is it historical, practical or actually just a change from what we have known and it makes us feel uncomfortable? Think about the periods of lockdown when we were forced work from home. What worked well and what did not then asses the why? As Simon Sinek advocates always start with why, it helps us get to the source of our opinions and actions.
Actually means flexibility. Allow your teams to work on creating a structure that works for the team then cascade it up. Some team, like those in the creative space, might want to be in the office more often than not. They get their energy from others. Those in more analytical roles might see it as less important and value the solitude of being able to fully immerse themselves in something with less interruptions. Again the underlying driving force should be as long as the business outcomes are achieved all options are up for consideration. Individuals have different drivers that are important to them and it’s critical we do not judge or favour some over others. Whilst in the minds of some balancing children over dogs might seem logical, it’s about understanding what’s important to the individual employee and respecting that. Provided the team can reach agreement on suitable business coverage imagine how powerful a message that is.
It is highly unlikely you will get this 100% right first-time. Right is getting the perfect balance between employee needs and wants and the business outcomes. Agree that this is a time of trial and error. Have an understanding there is a period where we have open and honest conversations and are all prepared to adjust to get the right balance for all. This balance may change from time to time depending on external factors however if you have built a foundation of trust, shown an openness and commitment to considering all options, I expect engagement to soar, productive to increase and turn over the decline. Now that is worth changing for!
Your people are your greatest asset. Challenge the traditional thinking, find the balance and see the positives. It’s like learning to walk it takes time and practice but once it is mastered you literally start running.
So reach out, ask us questions. We can help you create a winning formula for your business that ensures you have what it takes to thrive in the Post Covid world. That’s worth a phone call! Tiffany Quinlan HR Consultant and working from home newbie