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FLEXIBLE WORKING


Developing resilience and leadership in uncertain times


By Pippa Blessett (pictured), Founder of Exceptional Zebra, performance and leadership coaching


Remote working is a great equaliser and your job role or value may come under scrutiny as we are judged on our contribution, output and results. Here’s how to make home working work for you.


WINNING MINDSET 1. Stay connected - When you’re used to a busy office the contrast can be tough. Consider how your mood changes throughout the day; when are you most productive and when do you feel low? Plan calls and virtual meetings for when you need a boost. Why not set up a ‘Friday Feeling’ 3pm video call, invite the team to bring their own cuppa and cake, and chat about the week’s highs and lows.


2. Get happy - Achieving goals brings about a nice kick of dopamine, the happy hormone. Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound), is key to keeping productive and feeling in control. Achieving something tangible reduces stress and has positive impacts on our mental health and professional life.


3. Dance like nobody’s watching – Try starting the day with an energising playlist. Dance around the kitchen, sing at the top of your voice. You will be pumping endorphins and keeping fit too.


How technology can facilitate working from home


By Lee Johnson, Chief Technology Officer at Air IT


Employers are beginning to embrace remote working – many for the first time. Whether just getting started or a regular home worker, it’s critical business leaders have appropriate measures in place to support employees outside the physical boundaries of the office and ensure business continuity. Technology is the pillar to an


effective remote working strategy, and the first step is to ensure workers have sufficient internet connectivity at home. If not, mobile broadband devices such as mobile broadband routers and dongles are easy to set up and use. If your IT infrastructure is already


in the Cloud, your employees should be able to access systems as normal. However, if systems are physical and located on site you


‘Your team need to be able to communicate as freely as in the office. Email isn’t enough’


may need to install a VPN to ensure your corporate network can be accessed securely; look for a business grade solution that can handle multiple users at a time. Your team need to be able to


communicate as freely as in the office. Email isn’t enough and, with tools like Microsoft Teams widely accessible, virtual teamworking has never been easier. Working from home presents ample opportunities to boost productivity and collaboration. More than just instant messaging, Teams allows employees


to stay connected and work anywhere, on any device. You can also create multi-user to-do lists and monitor progress of tasks, as well as sharing and editing documents in real-time. For Mac users, you don’t need to


be an Office 365 subscriber to benefit from Teams; there’s a free version available for up to 300 users. Alternatively, Microsoft has released a free six-month trial that lets an IT admin roll out the application. You’ll need to be able to speak to


external stakeholders and customers. If you’ve already made the move to VoIP telephony, keeping in touch with the outside world can be done from virtually anywhere that has an internet connection. Unlike traditional phone


systems, VoIP allows you to make, answer and transfer calls via your desktop or mobile – which means you can carry on working seamlessly whether in the office, on the road or at home. There are important security


issues to consider and it’s important your team understand the same security principles apply at home as they do in the office. This includes password policies, taking precaution when using public wifi and reporting any suspicious forms of communication. Finally, if implementing new


technology or different ways of working, you may want to prepare FAQs and guides to make the transition as smooth as possible. Staying connected and supporting one another is key to success.


business network April 2020 77


BE THE LEADER 1. The time is now - You don’t need to have a team to be a leader. It’s about finding solutions and helping others excel. Why not create a weekly report to communicate action by bullet pointing top-line targets, results and challenges. It brings uniformity, tracks progress and could form the basis of the Friday Feeling video-call.


2. Time to grow - The average commute is ten hours a week. Use this regained time to develop new skills by committing to a personal goal. Is there a specific skill or qualification you can access online? EdX.org is a free resource for personal development. How about selecting a series of business books to study?


3. Be human - Shut your door but keep your heart open. Watch for signals that colleagues might be struggling. If someone isn’t pulling their weight, it might be because they are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about relatives. Be kind. We’re in this together.


It is important to lead by example, so take care, focus on the positives and remember this inspirational motto: “People might not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel”.


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