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How to have a grown up conversation about remote working

July 19, 2022

Can’t be bothered to come to the office or genuine cultural change?

To start with a title like ‘how to have a grown up conversation…’ implicitly suggests that until now we have not been having one about the subject in question.

At #TalkingTeams we do not believe, especially recently, that there has been a mature national conversation about the pros and cons of remote working in the UK and Ireland.

In this issue we want to look at what the surveys are telling us, how you can talk to your people and finally, initiatives you can use to create a stronger remote working culture in the long term.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland has just published their latest numbers on the topic:

90% of 35 - 44 year olds want to continue to work remotely after restrictions end.

75% of those with home duties (parenting / care for a relative) would strongly consider remote work if it meant they could stay at home.

70% of those unable to work due to health conditions would strongly consider remote work as a way to gain employment.

As workers continue to factor remote working availability in to their career decisions, we as leaders must consider how we talk to our people

What are your people saying about remote working?

What do they enjoy about it?

What do they not like?

What do you not like about it?

Can you share this with them?

How do your people feel about their performance while working remotely?

Are they performing as well as they were in the office?

Do your customers receive a good or better level of service?

If things have changed, then why?

Creating psychological safety around how people want to work is a really important way to handle what can be an awkward topic.

Placing responsibility for performance, productivity and customer service on your team and inviting feedback is an excellent place to start.

Read on to find out more about how you can create a stronger remote working culture in the medium to long term.

How to do remote working better

Thanks to Forbes for the inspiration for this section.

Communicate better

One of the best collaborations we have had over the last couple of years has been with our friends at Future Proof Learning.

They have a great culture of ‘clear communication’ internally which helps to keep everyone on task but also ensures nothing is misunderstood.

This can mean encouraging shorter emails, more telephone calls and even regular meetings or scrums to keep everyone up to date with progress against tasks.

Celebrate your wins

Something really joyful we have noticed over the last 2 years is how deliberate organisations have been with celebrating cross-departmental wins.

Even in a conventional office it can become quite siloed as we focus on completing our tasks before home time.

Town Hall style meetings where teams are rewarded or simply acknowledged for being ahead of schedule, exceeding performance or welcoming new members is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to check in and create a sense of team.

Encourage socialising

Teams that socialise together, stay together!

A client recently told us that remote working had meant that those who lived on their own where now working their own, creating loneliness and an increase in those presenting with wellbeing issues.

Whether you are organising a Friday coffee morning, a virtual quiz or wine and cheese event it is really important to get people together away from the workflow.

As leaders we have an obligation to create an atmosphere (online and offline) that encourages healthy habits and consistent performance.

It’s not hard to do but whatever it is be sure to have some focus to your event - even just to share your 'biggest win from the week’!

For the last 2 years we have been supporting businesses with online team building via our Detective Games, Murder Mysteries & Business Simulation events.

So far, we have worked with companies all over the world, helping to bring their teams together in a more meaningful way.

Why not visit our Online Team Building page to find out more about these events and how they might be able to support your organisation?

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