Snooping and sneaking have no place in the workplace, even more so now that the workplace is home for many office workers.
I read about this software this week, how it is a thing shows a concerning mindset of some employers. There really is no shortcut for good employee communication and relationships to ensure your teams are happy and productive in their work. No one likes a sneak. By using this kind of software you send a clear message: “we don’t trust you”. And most likely what you’ll get back is work to rule, work arounds, disenfranchised people locked into working with you because there’s a pandemic and who will leave as soon as they can. They may even feel so incensed that they set a few virtual fires before they go. No one needs that, it’s bad for people and bad for business.
There is a much better, human and more effective way to get the results you need in business. It takes a bit of effort, but trust your communication specialists when we tell you that if you do it right it, you will have a better relationship with employees, they will trust you and you will be able to trust them. Your employees may also be more engaged in their work and more willing to go the extra mile when needed. And ultimately, you’ll have happier customers and a more effective and productive business. Sounds great right.
Trust is hard won and easily lost. But essentially it comes down to being human, doing what you say, and saying what you will do, consistently. In a remote working world that means:
1. Talk to people – provide the opportunity for people to check in for a chat over a coffee (remotely) as well as the normal work meetings
2. Give your people space to talk to you – honestly and openly. Listen and let them know it’s not just ok but also encouraged to be open and tell the boss what they think
3. Take what people tell you seriously – they are not trying to make trouble or be difficult when they share a problem or concern. They may be frustrated, confused, scared (especially right now) and they need to know you care enough to listen and take action as needed
4. Tell them you’ve heard what they are saying, that you will take action as needed or appropriate, and follow up. If you can’t take an action, explain that and tell people why
5. Build connections and keep having conversations – during this time it’s more important than ever to connect and our communication needs to be more intentional because we are apart
If you’re concerned about people’s productivity working from home, help them.
1. Give clear instructions about the work that needs to be done, by when and with clear objectives. But give people flexibility to achieve it without micro-managing their time and actions
2. Allow people space and time to re-energise during the day – we take natural breaks in the office, and working from home people should feel able to take breaks, go for walks, get lunch etc as they need to
3. Make your meeting times effective – we suffered meeting overload in the office, now some of those habits have transferred to working remotely. It’s a chance to change that. Have a clear objective about what the meeting is going to achieve, if it’s just an exchange of information why not share that in another way? Meetings give you a chance to connect, share ideas, make a plan, or solve a problem together for example. Be clear what you want to do, set some ground rules (cameras on for example so you can see and connect with each other), get everyone involved, manage the meeting, aim to have clear actions and outputs from the meeting and keep to the schedule
4. Allow for meeting free times in the day to be able to get work done. Days filled with zoom and calls are exhausting and you can’t get anything else done, so build in time to do the work. Block out your diary and if you’re leading a team, make sure they do the same, lead by example
5. As line managers, let your teams know you’re there to support them, to remove the blockages preventing them from doing their work, encouraging and helping them
In the UK, we’re facing local lockdowns and varied restrictions as the pandemic continues. It’s started to rain (a lot) today and while some people were really hoping we’d be coming out of this pandemic in time for Christmas, the reality is dawning that we are going to be in this situation for the long haul. We have to build on our strengths, keep our connections, keep working together and supporting each other through the months ahead. As businesses we need to keep track on where we are, what our customers need, how our people are feeling and adapt as we need to as the on-going crisis evolves. That needs a lot of human conversation and trust.
I’ve created two new courses in response to a challenge I see recurring amongst my colleagues in communication as we work our way through this pandemic and rolling crisis. There are just a couple of places left, so get in touch to be a part of the first two courses:
Course 1) Impact Lab – Helping your organisation make sustainable change with impactful communication
Wednesday 14 October 2020 1pm – 2.30pm
£50 to secure your place
Course 2) Being Bold Lab – Helping your organisation be bold and communicate in a world of uncertainty
Wednesday 21 October 2020 1pm – 2.30pm
£50 to secure your place
Book your place on either course by dropping me an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.
I work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them communicate clearly, reveal the human connections that matter and get meaningful results. Read more in my solutions page. If you would like to find out what people think and feel about your business, and communicate with them better, get in touch.