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Home Working & People Engagement

home working and people engagementPeople engagement and home working seems to be a work in progress for a lot of organisations. We are all finding our feet in this. For some people, they have joined organisations, and navigated their relationships with their colleagues over Teams channels and zoom meetings, their whole career with a new employer without meeting anyone. That’s the reality of the situation we find ourselves in.

Some people have really thrived, but for others it has been a real challenge. The last lockdown has highlighted issues for people’s mental health and wellbeing. This survey from the Royal Society for Public Health highlights the mental and physical impacts of home working, and which those of us in management need to be aware.

Beyond the wellbeing issues of working from home, there’s a real challenge for employers to engage their people. Absenteeism may be down, but presenteeism may be up.

There’s a really useful Harvard Business Review article on how to keep your team motivated remotely in which they talk about 3 key things – Play, Purpose and Potential.

For us Play is Conversation. It’s all those drinks machine moments, the catch ups in corridors , the asides across a desk, the quick conversation that solves a problem. They are the incidental moments of human contact that connect us to each other. The reality is that the chat function on Teams doesn’t connect us in the same way.

I’ve just met up with someone I’ve only ever met virtually. We both commented that we feel as though we have know each other for ever. The reality, we had been having quality conversations virtually, conversations which built the relationship. Conversations matter. We’ve always believed that at Intelligent Dialogue, but the challenges of the last year has deepened and strengthened that belief.  If your teams are struggling to have conversations remotely, to have quality meetings or presentations – we can help.

Purpose is connecting the work that you do to the bigger picture. The Contribution you make to your team, your customers and your organisation. The reality for many of us is that when Covid hit,  we have been pulled into the operational realities of a business .  We needed to get people working from home quickly, and the temptation is for operational KPI’s to drive their productivity. Have you continued to change, adapt and flex, or have those early ways of working become the norm through COVID? Business and people need to adapt – and people need to feel purpose, the value they bring, and understand the contribution that they make to their colleagues, their customers and their employer.

Your team leaders and First in Line Managers need to be equipped for this new way of working. They need to be able to run inspiring meetings virtually, they need to have 121’s that support and challenge people around the quality of their work. They need to manage distant relationships with their direct reports virtually during a pandemic. And, they’ve had to do that while dealing with a lot more escalations because of customer service issues. It’s not easy, it’s impossible if they aren’t getting support, training and development to have those conversations.

The third area that Harvard Business Review found in their research is Potential – we call it Development.  How are you equipping people to stay skilled and to stay confident? How much training and development are you carrying out? How much coaching has your organisation invested time and resource in? How much has been cancelled?

We’ve seen organisations having to deploy coaches elsewhere to shore up operational challenges. Productivity and call quality has declined.

We’ve been living in exceptional circumstances. Organisations have had to do what they’ve had to do.

Now is the time to be thinking about the next set of changes ahead and how you can equip people for those.

The future isn’t going to be the old office environments that we are used to, that people may be nostalgic for.

The businesses that recognise this , adapt and know that they have to bring their people along with them have the opportunity to thrive and grow.