Like all businesses Engage People has had to respond to the new need for social distancing in an agile manner. We’re all working from home now and while it’s a challenging time, I’m certainly seeing the benefits from these working arrangements. But we’re also uniquely positioned to see the challenges placed on our clients and the talent pool by COVID-19.
Recent events have meant the need for quick business decisions particularly around business operations. Health and Business Continuity have been at the forefront of managers mind’s and organizational agility has been tested to the limit.
For most, remote working is no longer a question of if they’ll adopt it, there’s not even a question of when anymore. It’s about how quickly and with minimum business and personal disruption this can be achieved. Talking to our clients I’ve been impressed with how they’ve pulled together to deliver business solutions. For some, this was a path they were already on but for others, they were just at the early stages of implementation and have quickly turned the business inside out.
The “new” business as usual has now arrived. Regardless of how the next 6 months play out with regards to COVID-19, the dial has now shifted on how we’ll do business going forward. This time presents a significant opportunity to deliver on business costs, productivity and employee work morale to name just a few. In this blog, I’ll address the latter.
Now more than ever, there is a need to address team morale. During this stressful time, the risk of disconnect in the business is great if employee engagement is not prioritized as part of a work from home program.
Below I’ll offer some of our personal experiences from working here at Engage People, and innovative initiatives from what we’re seeing in the marketplace.
- The Digital workplace: While we’re in a digital age we’re each at different points of adoption (I won’t admit which point I’m currently at, but let’s say I’m learning) and it’s important from a business communication and a social networking perspective that the business takes the lead in creating an online community. Here at Engage People we use Microsoft Teams for this, it allows us to create multiple chat rooms which means we can separate the serious stuff from the not so serious.
Top tip: Remember which room is ok to use emoji’s in and which is not 😉
- Delegation: I can’t understate how big an opportunity exists here. Even if you’re good at delegating presently you’ll be surprised how strong a relationship can be built by having less interaction. The opportunity in the office to “check-in as you were passing” no longer exists and you’ll see your team’s confidence grow as they have increased ownership of team deliverables. That said delegation is certainly not a passive act. It’s about the quality of communication over quantity.
Remember: This is a great opportunity to test individual’s autonomy and watch them rise to the occasion.
- Team video catch-ups: you’ll find the right balance for you but having team catch-ups at the start and/or end of the day gives the opportunity for that social interaction you would have had in the office, to reconnect and chat things out as a team.
Hint: Use video catchups for business initiatives that weren’t practical to thrash out via email or as a way to touch base just one-to-one. Just because you sit apart you should still emphasise doing quick work through conversation rather than via email.
- Let your team set the bar: You’re trusting your team to work remotely, why not trust them to set their objectives for the day. Of course, the team need to achieve targets and goals that you’ll be leading them towards but if each individual can set their own daily objectives, they’ll have greater accountability. They certainly can’t then claim that someone else set unrealistic targets for them!
Remember: You can and should still offer feedback to ensure their objectives are aligned to those of the business.
Finally, why not take this opportunity to see how far IT solutions can take you. While not specifically linked to motivation, innovation in the workplace can be inspiring for employees. But there’s the very real opportunity to innovate beyond meeting the new needs of the business and actually creating strategic marketplace advantage. What is that piece of software or application you’ve been thinking about that could be a great solution for your clients? Now might be the perfect time to roll it out.
Ask your team for suggestions too, I bet some of the best and most innovative initiatives for your business are just a video conference with your team away.
About Engage People
Engage People is a specialist Irish recruitment firm, connecting ambitious career orientated candidates and clients. We have deep expertise across two niche strands:
- Accountancy & Financial across Commercial organisations & Professional Services
- Banking, International Financial Services & Insurance