The world is changing and grappling with a new normal isn’t as easy as it looks.
According to Akumina, a leading global Employee Experience Platform (EXP), 21% of workers stated in their 2022 State of the Digital Workplace and Modern Intranet report that they are working in a fully remote way.
The report, based on a survey taken in Autumn 2021, also revealed that the workplace has shifted from an almost entirely office based culture to a hybrid working environment.
So what does this change mean for our junior, first line, middle and senior managers?
With a more remote or disparate workforce, effective communication is critical. Fewer “water cooler conversations” are taking place but employees still need to be in the know with what is happening within their team and their organisation as well as throughout their industry.
There will be employees who miss their old work routine, their network of colleagues and friends or their sense of who they are at work and at home.
Sadly, resilience is no longer enough. We need to learn how to embrace change and this is unsettling.
Leaders of the future need to tackle these feelings of disquiet in the workplace head on. They need to adopt a new pragmatic approach, give their team something to build on and help them step into a brave new world.
So how do we make our teams feel valued both as part of a team and personally?
Read on for EDN’s Learning and Development Manager Nicola Richards’ words of advice.
Tips for engaging with your team
- Create space for your team to talk to you and each other about subjects outside of work. It is all too easy to start your Zoom or Teams meeting with the agenda, but taking the time to ask how your colleague is doing, what kind of day they are having will bring the focus back to the people in the meeting, not just the task.
- Encourage your individual team members to take time away from their screen. This is easier said than done! But the benefits of gentle physical exercise and down screen time are well documented. This encouragement could be as simple as asking them where they took their dog for a walk this lunchtime or asking about their outside space at home.
- Practice active listening. Recognising the value of listening to the entire person to understand them when the opportunity arises or making those opportunities happen will help your team feel valued and will be more likely to make effective contributions.
- Share your purpose! This seems a no brainer! But, in the world of fragmented meetings and increased pressure it is easy to miss that you are taking your team to a destination that they have no knowledge of. Make sure staff feel part of something big.
- Ask your team “How are you?” and then ask them again. You may be surprised that you get a different and more honest answer the second time around. Leaders can use the new insights they are being given into their team’s lives to create strong relationships, based on both parties wanting to make the most of the relationship to achieve the team’s goals. Winning over hearts and minds is the equivalent of a metaphorical team hug!
- You could do a straw poll using carefully worded questions. Questions such as “how supported do you feel” would work best on a scale of one to ten. If you discover your team needs more face-to-face time, then you must make sure you deliver on your promise. Ask yourself how far you are prepared to go as a leader?