14 February 2022 by CustomSolar
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ― Ernest Hemingway
So, whilst we are still very much living with the covid pandemic, the restrictions around self-isolation, mask-wearing, and working from home are reduced. What then does this mean for leadership?
The covid pandemic has impacted us all, it’s true to say that we were all trying to navigate our way through the same storm, but in very different vessels. During the last two years, many people’s lives have changed significantly, and as leaders, we need to take those changes into account.
Personally, before 2020 I would have classed myself as an introvert but having basically stayed at home for 12 months, I was raring to get back in the office last March. I need that interaction with others, I thrive off conversations, I’m interested in people’s thoughts and ideas, I bounce off them. But that’s just me, the joy of people is our differences, and this is what we now need to take into consideration.
For every person that is desperate to get back into the office, there are those, who for various reasons are more comfortable at home. Taking the daily commute out of the equation has given some people much-needed time back in the day to enjoy. Those with caring responsibilities may have found that they can fit their work very easily around the kids/parents/dogs/chickens, and getting back into the office would be disruptive to their new schedule.
Matching individual requirements to business needs is the challenge that must be faced. There will be some teams that need to have time together physically to work on projects, whilst other functions can be easily completed in isolation. What companies need is to maintain productivity, this can be facilitated by decent IT systems and good communication, but once these are in place it’s a question of trust.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are some teams, particularly creatives, that need to work together in a physical environment to really gain leverage from the innovative solutions that only come from bouncing ideas around in an informal surrounding not restricted to (for example) an hour-long teams meeting.
Additionally, those starting in new roles (as I did back in March last year) will understand the efficiency of being in close proximity to mentors and trainers, what is a quick Q&A in person can be a protracted game of phone tennis or email correspondence and lots of wasted time.
Leaders must trust that employees will put the effort in, from wherever they are working. Quite frankly, if you don’t have that trust in your team, then your business is not in a great situation. Even in an office environment, without trust there is micromanagement and clock watching, neither of which is conducive to productivity, micro-managing people remotely is almost impossible and leads to paralysis of the manager as they spend their entire day checking up on people. Unhealthy all around and a huge negative for the business overall.
Instead, we should be concentrating on supporting all employees to be the most productive they can be, whether that is in the office, based at home, or a combination of the two. We should care more about productivity than presenteeism. If there is any positive to come from the pandemic, it has proved that we can work differently, opening the workplace up to a wider selection of people, and we must acknowledge that there is a huge strength in diversity.
So let’s trust our people, you’ve recruited them, so have faith in the team, flexibility is greatly valued, and it brings loyalty in spades, let people work in ways that suit them, and watch your corporate productivity fly!
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