Our latest virtual forum with People, HR and Learning leaders covered some common challenges and themes that most firms are experiencing in their latest response to the pandemic and the new ways of working. This is what is on people’s minds at the moment:
- For some its feels like they “live at work” as opposed to “work from home”
- Our days are often filled with meetings / calls and constant emails – we need the courage to say no or not now
- Firm leaders need to role model expected behaviours – if they are constantly working and responding to mails 24/7 then they set an expectation to everyone else in the business
- Top Tips:
- Stop organising one hour meetings – one firm has a policy of making all meetings: 45 minutes, 30 minutes or 25 minute meetings
- Create a curfew on emails – so people know there isn’t an expectation to respond
- Include a note on email footers, for example of “My work days are x, if I’m sending this out of hours it’s because I’m working flexibly”
People / Teams
- Firms continue to survey and check in on how their people are doing
- Conversations where possible are happening one-to-one
- The data is rich and firms are using the data from surveys to see where improvement can be made – this isn’t about being the best business in the world, but is about making improvements that will help everyone – e.g., if you rated a question a 5 out of 10, what would be different to take us to say a 6?
Performance and Productivity
- Early on there was quite a lot of micro management, however there is a feeling that this has eased off a little as time has gone on
- Self-discipline is a vital skill
- Time management is critical – see tip above re: reducing meeting times
- An education piece is needed around how people are productive, and when (days, times) and the flexible working environment
- There is a balance to be made – of not being a nanny state, but doing our absolute best
- One firm has working groups on the future way of working. Preferences vary between different demographics and groups purposefully have a complete mix
- Some staff will be 100% office based, majority hot desks and people expect the space to be the same area but with reduced desks and bigger break out / social areas
- Offices will be used for social and informal meet ups; as opposed to the tradition of the place to sit at a desk and work – that’s more likely to be done from home
- Expect we’ll have lots of regional hubs, one firm is based in a “commuter town” to London – expect the whole landscape will change; and it will have an impact on the local housing market
- Consideration needs to be given to staff who aren’t linked / tied to an office, as this will be become more common with new recruits – need to address how they will be included, as there’s a risk they could feel forgotten!
Work Christmas traditions
- It’s acknowledged that 2020 will be different, attendees shared some examples of what their firms are doing:
- Firm wide Christmas jumper day
- Hampers: sourced from local business
- Virtual awards
- Virtual lunchtime drinks and giving everyone the afternoon off (when they would have traditionally had their office Christmas party)
- End of year CEO message / update
- Handwritten card plus gift voucher
The next call takes place at 11am on Thursday 17 December. If you would like to join please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a link! Previous call summaries can be found here.
We also hold regular CEO/Managing Partner forums, please get in touch if you would like to be added to the invite list.