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With many companies in the UK now working remotely, a significant number of employees are now working from home. For some, working from home provides huge benefits, including reduced travel and greater flexibility. Despite the positive changes for some, the overnight pivot to remote work has thrown up challenges for leaders who now need to show resilience, determination, commitment and give support and reassurance in other ways.

Today Emma Storer, Group People Manager at Haines Watts, reveals three key ways to keep the team enthused and motivated as a leader while everyone is working from home.

Channels of communication

Employees need a quick and easy way to dive into work, so you need to equip them with the best tech products to ensure productivity. Whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype, everyone now needs to adapt to a more agile way of working. Put in place technology that facilitates working, but also ensure whatever you choose is a secure channel. If you are using your home Wi-Fi network to get online, it’s time to make sure it is as secure as possible.

One thing is certain, the shift to working digitally has changed the way we work forever. It’s worth thinking about some of key takeaways you’ve learned from the experience for when we reach the ‘recovery’ phase.  At Haines Watts, we have all learnt that in many areas we can maintain channels of communication with colleagues and clients as effectively using the right technology and I am certain this will continue.

Encourage connection

While the nature of remote working can be isolating for some, other people prefer to work independently. As such, it is important to be sensitive to workers with different working preferences because some will cope with remote working, while others will need more support. Leadership means putting structure in place, having scheduled team check-in times and days. Virtual visibility and direction from the business owner, so that people feel connected and the leader in providing reassurance. Again, it’s about having a variety of tools that cater to the whole workforce.

Haines Watts has seen business owners taking a leading role.  They are considering work and wellbeing hand in hand, providing direction in these uncertain times and creating virtual calls with Teams as part of our #StrongerTogether campaign, to encourage connection.  The key being to consider the whole workforce and tailor your connections to their needs and preferences.

Carry your culture

Creating virtual watercoolers are important during times of remote working to keep your company culture thriving. Giving your team the opportunity to share things that aren’t related to work will allow them to create connections with other team members, helping to carry your culture forward.

You could set up a channel for the whole team or separate departments, where people can share their experiences, which might include favourite playlists, pictures of their pets, new recipes, anything personal that can help your team to connect virtually and drive the culture of the business.

By creating virtual calls on Teams and Zoom and providing shared workspaces, we have discovered more about our colleagues and shared work and personal experiences.  Even more positive, is the sense of team created by teams themselves, with virtual quizzes and challenges and virtual yoga and fitness sessions.

Our working practices have changed dramatically – the rise of new tech has made it far easier to work remotely and flexibly. However, it is important managers take note of these tips and assess how they can cater to the demands of their workforce.

Ultimately, technology shouldn’t increase employees’ stress levels by preventing them to switch off, but instead should be embraced to create new opportunities for people to achieve a better work-life balance

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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