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FLEXIBLE WORKING Let’s keep Britain working By Ruth Gawthorpe, Chief Executive at Smart Working Revolution


There are lots of self-styled gurus posting content on LinkedIn right now about how best to work from home. But the best advice we can give you, from 20 years of implementing all forms of Smart Working, including remote working, is you must learn to trust your people. It might help to focus you mind


on goals first though: • Decide the priorities for your business for the next eight weeks


• Decide what steps need to be in place so employees can communicate virtually with clients


• What business performance would you expect to see? Think realistically given the lack of mobility your people will have and the shock this virus is having on the business world


• Sort out short-term priorities, but also work out which long- term projects can be shelved for a while and which need to keep moving forward


• Clarify what is and what isn’t a priority with your people


Once you've carried out the


virtual training, carry the momentum on by running virtual collaboration sessions a few times a week or, if they motivate people, once a day.


Practical tips for building trust when remote working: Some of these tips will work for


you – others may not. Choose the tips that will work well in your business and culture.


KNOW YOURSELF • The first step in building trust with remote employees is to think about what kind of person you are


• Do you believe people are basically trustworthy or not? If you tend to be the overly sceptical type, you might have to put in a little extra effort to take the leap of faith required to trust someone you don’t see often


GET TO KNOW YOUR TEAM • Make work fun • Run quizzes and questionnaires with your team


• Find out what personal preferences they have


• Are they morning, afternoon or evening people?


• What are their most important values?


SMART HOURS • This one can go for both office and remote workers. The idea is


76 business network April 2020


that you set times of day when workers are available through all your contact channels (phone, email, IM, video chat, etc.) and for meetings


• Smart hours are particularly useful when you have employees spread across time zones


• Smart hours create predictability and respect, so that employees won’t constantly ask why your American team keep scheduling 7pm meetings


COMMUNICATION LEVELS • While we all hate interruptions, they nevertheless seem to be more and more an accepted part of office life


• When managing remotely, create service agreements that include response times


• Agree what’s best for your team - but you could do 60 minutes to respond to an email, five minutes to respond to IMs and texts, etc. Just be understanding that remote employees deserve lunch breaks too or that they may be on a conference call


HOW MUCH TIME DOES WORK TAKE? Have regular communication about two things: • The work that needs to be completed, and


• The amount of time it will take to deliver the work


The hours required to get


something done is an important part of the equation. You might assume that a task will only take an hour, when it takes ten hours. At the time the work is


committed to be completed by an employee, both parties should come to an understanding of how much time that work will take and trust that it will be done on time.


PROGRESS CATCHUPS • Agree a method with everyone so you have visibility into their progress and workload through weekly one-to-one meetings through Teams, project tools like Asiana, or your workflow management system


• Ask your team to review the task list regularly and communicate early if a deadline is going to slip. Trust will be maintained if leader and employee have a shared view of the priorities list


TEAMWORK • Bring team members together for face-to-face video conferencing. It’s an easy solution. Cameras always on please to ensure engagement and interaction


• Encourage collaboration in team meetings or in subsets working on projects via video conferencing, Teams or Slack


• Choose interventions that suit your business, your employees and your customers and can be built around busy schedules


Smart Working Revolution has


developed virtual training session for teams working from home that will help build two-way trust, collaborate, set objectives, prioritise, maintain both business performance and customer service. Because work happens in Brains - not offices.


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