Hi I’m Nic and I’m exhausted? Anyone else? Putting aside the juggle of having 3 kids aged 6 and under, 3 jobs including trying to establish my own business…hang on a minute! Let’s not put that aside. Let’s think about this for a few minutes. Now let’s be clear. This is not a ‘woe is me’ kind of blog, nor is it a ‘look at me I’m smashing it right now’ piece. This is a celebration of how the working from home revolution, for me, has been a reclaim revolution.
I’ve had aspirations of setting up my own business for a while, and although I’m several months behind where I planned to be before Corona came to town, I believe the working from home revolution has enabled me to reclaim parts of my life that now make it possible. My ‘side hustle’ projects undoubtedly enhance and enrich both my engagement and motivation in my ‘day job’ which in turn has a positive impact on my performance.
The impact of having to work from home should have been the great leveller for many of us. Sadly this has not been the case for many. People have been crying out for this kind of flexibility in our working lives for so many reasons. Now we have largely proved it works, the reality has not always been what we hoped and there are worrying signs that many organisations are gradually taking steps to get ‘back to normal’ when it comes to the ways we work. See this article about Apple employees pushing back against plans to get them back to the office.
It’s essential we don’t lose the good work here and that we work to undo some of the damage done. 57% of working mums believe that managing childcare during Covid19 has damaged their career prospects.* We need to make the world of work a more welcoming place for not just working parents but working carers or basically just anyone who needs and wants to make work fit around them rather than them having to fit and mould themselves around it. The world of work loses too many amazing people who leave and don’t come back or perhaps never even make it through the door because the physical or operational environment just doesn’t accommodate their needs. The changes and personal sacrifices they would need to make in order to fit themselves around work are too great. There are many reasons for this that we won’t go into here.
As restrictions are gradually lifted, I have very little interest in seeing things go ‘back to normal’. I’m not going back. I’m moving forwards. Although it is the thought of this that exhausts me. Adapting and adjusting to the constant changes has worn me down. As soon as I develop a way to cope and manage the shift, another one comes along to remind me that I need to do more. Sigh.
Those of you who manage and lead teams are being expected to adjust to a wider variety of needs within your teams and for yourself. The step into ‘hybrid’ style and hopefully more flexible working, although seemingly yet another challenge or obstacle to overcome, is an amazing opportunity to bring more diversity into your teams and uncover and nurture talent that may be hidden away or deeply buried. Here are a few things to think about if you want to create a more inclusive working environment.
Be curious – make time to check in with your team regularly and ask questions to truly understand their unique situation. What’s the thing they’re finding the hardest about how you’re working as a team? What’s the one thing you could do to make their working life better? What haven’t you thought of? What enables them to do their best work? Listening to all ideas and opinions creates an open and honest working environment and should include everyone, regardless of where and when they work. Don’t forget to ask yourself these questions too!
‘Hybrid’ meetings present some challenges. These are meetings where some of the attendees are together in one room and some are dialling in remotely. These types of meetings require those leading them to be organised and on the ball. All attendees should be sent the same prep and pre-reads and make use of collaborative working tools so meeting outcomes and actions are visible and clear. You may need to work harder to direct the discussion and actively ask for contributions from those who are not in the room. Otherwise those dialling in may end up feeling they’re just listening to a group conversation rather than being included in it. Remember to make time to get those who couldn’t attend (perhaps it’s not one of their working days?) up to speed on what was discussed.
Ask yourself what you truly value and reward in your team. Is it presenteeism or is it performance? Be really honest with yourself. You’re human and we’re trying to unpick decades of working practices, values and beliefs. Being able to be present is not a skill or something worthy of praise. Presenteeism is not a fair fight for many. Part-time and remote workers are at risk of feeling left out and overlooked if conscious steps are not taken to negate this. Ensure you are clearly setting expectations and have great ways to track performance. Remote working relies on trust and people should be valued for their contribution, not the hours or the place they work.
If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the evolving world of work then I highly recommend subscribing to the Make Work Better newsletter crafted by Bruce Daisley – best selling author and previous VP of Twitter EMEA. It’s packed full of research and stats and Bruce translates this into a digestible and relatable format.
If like me you are facing challenges navigating through the way forward then reach out to (Mindset Leadership) or myself directly and we can help you as an individual or as a business to tackle whatever comes next. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A bit about me
I’m a Coach and Leadership and Management specialist. My vocation in life is to raise others up, especially women, because basically we’re amazing!! I don’t do this because I think I have the answers. I am very much still working things out for myself. I do it because YOU have the answers and I will help you find them.
*Based on research by Pregnant then Screwed, a registered charity that fights to tackle the root causes of maternity discrimination and promote the right of women. You can read their full research report here. https://pregnantthenscrewed.com/research-and-insights/