If you’ve been reading our updates you’ll know we packed up our workstations, saluted one another from a safe distance and officially went remote on 16/03. And we really haven’t missed a beat with our clients.
But going from a highly-interactive, collaborative creative studio environment to suddenly hanging at home in front of screens hasn’t been all smiles. Sure – the fridge is closer (blessing and curse), we can personally guard our own caches of toilet paper and pants are optional. But when you’re accustomed to churning out your best work in a certain environment, a big shift is not always easy. And we’re not alone. The exodus from the office has begun with even big-four consulting firm EY requiring from all staff work from home. As of this writing, the Australian government has yet to ban office workers from coming in and many organisations are hanging on to their office staff whether for lack of infrastructure or lack of trust.
No matter where your own company stands on office work for the moment, the most likely scenario is that we’re all going to have to make the transition soon. And that means being ready to effectively communicate, manage your staff and continue to produce remotely; all whilst keeping madness at bay and remembering to change your tee shirt.
Be upfront with the possibility of reduced hours
Clarity from leadership is going to be absolutely essential to transition through the COVID-19 crisis. And if you’re a leader and you’re not sure exactly how things will play out it’s ok to say so but give your people a clear date of when you will decide. No one likes to be in limbo and the more decisive you are in this time, the more confidence you’ll get from your entire team.
Talk about flexible arrangements
A lot of staffers within organisations are on edge as they see a real possibility in losing their jobs. And that is causing a major lack of communication around flexible arrangements. With the kids home and stress taking its toll, many staff could likely benefit with a change in hours or days on duty. But fear of not looking like a “team player” is complicating if not completely squelching those conversations. It’s up to leaders to be very clear about the availability of flexible arrangements (or lack thereof) to give staff confidence in opening a discussion.
Clearly, reducing hours is a quick way to save cash and it’s tempting introduce it as a blanket solution. But some research in the US on millennials shows that flexible arrangements are actually a strong value proposition for many employees and that, in working with them, you could actually get more from them by being flexible and remunerating at a reduced rate or salary.