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| 5 min
How to create great leaders in your workplace
There are leaders and managers in every workplace. Some managers are leaders, which is great. Unfortunately some other managers aren’t leaders. Every workplace can reap the benefits of cultivating more leaders: leaders boost team...
| 5 min
3 Perspectives to consider for your working from home strategy
Finding the balance of keeping everyone engaged in their work and happy The introverts love it, the extroverts hate it, but how should we balance working options going into the future? As the conversation...
| 5 min
Creating an environment of success for your team
We all want successful teams that work well together, choose to take initiative and kick goals. These magical teams filled with talent and opportunity are unfortunately not guaranteed even with good hiring practices. The...
| 5 min
Pro HR tips from our community
Throughout our webinar series, we’ve been talking to our community to find out how you’re tackling HR challenges and discovering your opinions on the big culture questions. We’ve put together a list of some...
| 5 min
The new normal work routine
As we all know, people are creatures of habit, and the comfort of routine is difficult to change due to the perceived safety and stability it provides. Work routine is something that people are...
| 5 min
7 better ways to meet remotely without Zoom video conferencing
We get it. You’ve got Zoom fatigue. We do too. So we wrote this for you. In our world right now, most meetings are happening remotely, via Zoom Video Conferencing. Boardrooms and meeting spaces...
| 5 min
Remote work-life balance: 3 tips for rebalancing
We’ve all noticed it moving to remote work, work-life balance has slipped. Everyone in our HR community is talking about how hard it is to switch off. For themselves. For their people.  Personally, my...
| 5 min
3 HR lessons from Youfoodz, Fujitsu and McCullough Robertson
We caught up with Christina King, Chief People Officer from Youfoodz, Sarah Gatehouse, Head of People and Culture from Fujitsu and Louise Ferris, Chief People Officer from McCullough Robertson on how they’re tackling today’s...
| 5 min
How to assist staff to work from home successfully
There’s no doubt about it, working from home is here to stay. Perhaps your office is now permanently distributed, or your management is allowing a staggered return to work with WFH options in the...
| 5 min
How to provide mental health care for your team
What is stress and how can I help my team manage their stress? Firstly, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A good level of stress will increase motivation and can give us that extra...

How to create great leaders in your workplace

There are leaders and managers in every workplace. Some managers are leaders, which is great. Unfortunately some other managers aren’t leaders. Every workplace can reap the benefits of cultivating more leaders: leaders boost team morale, inspire innovation and shape culture. Fostering leadership within your team celebrates future leaders where they are now. 

Empowering new leaders in your growing teams helps you with project and team management. Here are 7 steps to grow your next generation of leaders that will take you and your business safely into the future.

 

  1. Look for potential

Watch your team and work with them regularly on their projects. Take time to see how they’re working together to tackle difficult tasks, how they take initiative on these projects and how they work when solo. Look for the qualities you’d like to be represented in your team and throughout your business.

 

  1. Start the conversation 

If there are candidates that you think would make good leaders within your business, it’s important to start the conversation with them and see what they want for their professional future. Start these conversations sooner rather than later to help them on their career journey at your organisation and to assist them progress faster. A great way for this to take place is during a regularly scheduled meeting where you can ask what their aspirations are within the business. Encourage them to think about their future and ensure them that you’re willing to help them achieve their goals, this could involve succession planning or direction goals. 

 

  1. Set the goals 

Progress happens when you plan for it. You will only ever be as successful as you prepare yourself to be, and this starts with setting goals. Set goals with your team that are SMART, and will further them both inside of your organisation and also help them develop professionally. Make sure you include goals that are large and long term that will probably need a lot of growth for them to be able to achieve them, this could include long term strategy projects. 

 

  1. Provide Training 

An important part of goal setting is including training. Your people aren’t skilled in everything yet, and building expertise takes time. Invest in your people and provide them with external opportunities to grow in their industry but also develop leadership skills. 

Be sure to flag training opportunities that are available with them, and recommend courses that you may have completed and found useful. Follow up with their training where possible, and be sure to log their feedback for others who may be interested in it. Just because your training budget is on hold, this doesn’t mean the end of training opportunities. There are plenty of free online resources that can be found, check out industry podcasts blogs as a starting point.

 

  1. Track performance 

Setting goals and encouraging training is only half of the journey, these steps are only useful if you follow up and track success. Sometimes goal due dates will need to be adjusted and training will be postponed. Catch up with your team members regularly so that you can see how they’re progressing and understand when they’re not. 

If your future leader has lapsed on a few key points, it might be worth discussing why this has happened and work with them to overcome any barriers they may be hitting. It’s important to keep the conversations going and taking initiative in tracking progress and sentiment around the goals. 

 

  1. Provide feedback 

Good feedback usually highlights what the receiver is doing well, where they can improve and uncovers any blockers. When it comes to future leaders, teaching them to give/receive feedback is critical; it’s a central part of leadership. A good leader will need to understand how to process and integrate positive and negative feedback into their work to improve themselves professionally and generally as a person. Just as you track training and goals, it’s important to also record your feedback and be constructive with it. 

Being on the lookout for leaders and growing potential is always important, but it’s vital to remember that you should always lead by example. Be an exemplar of the traits you wish to see in your team, and recognise that learning is continual and you should endeavour to improve upon your leadership skills whenever possible.

 

  1. Assign future leaders a current leader mentor

Another great way that you can link future leaders to your business is through creating a mentor relationship. Connect members of your team with business leaders that can provide advice and guidance to your team members on their leadership journey. This connection will also help them understand how to navigate different areas of your organisation, better positioning them to become leaders within your business in the future. 

 

Use these steps to foster leadership in your team to create a future for your organisation. There is no perfect recipe for creating successful leaders, but these steps and communicating regularly with your people is sure to put them on the right track.


3 Perspectives to consider for your working from home strategy

Finding the balance of keeping everyone engaged in their work and happy

The introverts love it, the extroverts hate it, but how should we balance working options going into the future? As the conversation surrounding the return to the office grows, the balance of keeping everyone engaged in their work whilst simultaneously happy seems harder to strike. 

When you make a decision that will impact your team or organisation, it’s important to consider the motivation behind the idea and its effect on your people. A return to the office may be your go-to option with the initial motivation being productivity, but the impact on culture may be the opposite of your intention. 

Culture is embedded in the opportunities and respect you provide your team. Flexible working conditions aren’t a barrier to culture, in fact, they could be the baseplate to establish a positive and productive working environment. Just because other organisations may have a plan for all employees to return to the office, it doesn’t mean that this is the right thing for your organisation. It may be time to consider a remote work strategy instead.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the impacts of working from home and working from an office environment from the organisational, team and individual perspective so that you can best evaluate what works for your people. Remember that each business is different and there are no hard and fast rules.

 

The individual perspective

It may be the case that some of your people are quite content working from home permanently. There are many reasons why this may be the case, ranging from the cost of public transport to their ability to focus on tasks without workplace distractions. Regardless of the reason, if your team members are anxious about returning to the office it’s your responsibility to catch up with them and go through the concerns that they have. 

Evaluate how they’ve been performing while working from home, if they’ve continued to perform at their regular rate, or improved, then helping them continue this method or work may be beneficial for them and your team. A good work from home strategy will involve open and regular communication with team members and their leaders, where all can discuss opportunities and blockers. If your business is looking to get everyone back into the office, an alternative can be to have some regular work from home days and other days where everyone should work from the office. 

 

The team perspective 

Perhaps some of your team wish to work from home whilst others prefer to work from the office. If this is the case, you may need to think about the interactions between your team, would there be any blockers in the work funnel if the team is distributed? If there’s a work dependency with your team, would this be changed if they were working in one room, or is there still room for open communication when the team is distributed? A large part of this perspective comes down to trust. Does your team trust one another to get the work done to a quality standard and in a timely manner? 

We’ve found collaboration works best when either everyone is in the room or no one is in the room. If your leadership team is looking to plan strategy or leadership days while restrictions are still in place, it may be worthwhile to run these events virtually so that all participants can contribute equally. This lessens the chance of some being excluded by working remotely and not having the ability to contribute as well as those in the room.

If there is room for improvement in your team, this doesn’t mean that flexible working conditions should be immediately off the table, but rather that there should be a balance between working from home and office days. Stagger the days in the office so that all members of the team can feel as though they are striking the right balance between collaboration and individual work. If some of your team members wish to work from home permanently, introduce a daily agenda setting meetings so everyone is on the same page. We have a daily stand up where each person outlines their top three priorities for the day, it helps everyone to understand potential blockers and opportunities. This could also extend to implementing a project management tool so that everyone can see what tasks are being completed and when.

 

The organisational perspective

Take another step back and look at the entire organisation for your remote work strategy. Just as the interactions inside your team are important, so too are the interactions your team has with other business functions. Collaboration is a fantastic way that organisations continue to grow and thrive, and the benefits of cross functional teams can be seen with new and innovative solutions to business problems. If your organisation has a culture that fosters these interactions, then preserving it should be something you strive for.

Though collaboration tools and video conferencing is useful to help mend this gap, you may want to consider having organisation wide collaboration days where you can workshop new ideas. Again, consider the individual level, if your people are happy working for your organisation, they will be more likely to want to engage in the betterment of it through collaboration. Let these interactions occur organically if your culture is one that supports an open dialogue, your team members will feel comfortable coming forward with ideas and know where to take them. 

The organisation perspective is important for considering the future of your business and the capacity of your people. When you plan a working from home strategy, remember to balance the needs of the individual, and the team in their organisational context. The culture of your office doesn’t depend on where your employees are working, it relies on the trust you give your people and the opportunities you give them to succeed. Whether you encourage working from home occasionally or permanently, it’s important that you recognise your team and trust their ability to get the job done.

 

 


Creating an environment of success for your team

We all want successful teams that work well together, choose to take initiative and kick goals. These magical teams filled with talent and opportunity are unfortunately not guaranteed even with good hiring practices. The good news is, managers who choose to lead can produce a positive culture that breeds success and encourages team members to achieve on their own terms. 

Successful teams are not only beneficial to the business but also to those who are in them. Job satisfaction is significantly increased for those who can see they’re directly contributing to business goals. Those who are in high performing teams that have a positive culture tend to be loyal to your organization and also look for ways to help improve the quality of the work and also the environment they’re working in. 

 

What does success look like 

Before starting on your mission to improve the culture of your organization or team, it’s important to first conceptualise what success may look like for your team. We recently asked HR managers what they looked for in high performing teams, these  were the most important signs on the pathway to success.

Interestingly, only 25% thought a high quality of work produced was a signifier of success in teamwork. This truly shows that the traditional criteria for success has dramatically changed and we need to focus on initiative and innovation with work. If you’re looking for new ideas and to encourage more initiative, consider training that will encourage innovation for your team. If you want to improve willingness to help out, lead by example and volunteer your time on a few extra projects. 

In conjunction with envisioning success, it’s important to set values that compliment your vision of the future and help to create a pathway forward. Set aside some time with your team to create values that will help transport you towards your ideal team environment. For instance, if you want new ideas and initiatives, a good value to have would be creativity. If you want better team unity, a value for this could be thoughtfulness. Regardless of what values you decide upon and what your joint vision of success looks like, it’s important that you include your team in on this as this buy in will be vital.

 

Align your goals 

Goals are critical for setting yourself and your team up for success. After setting values for your team, work with them to integrate these values in both individual and collective goals. This is a tangible way that you can measure your progress and focus on areas that need improvement. Goals should have short term achievements as well as longer term milestones that you can celebrate together, we recommend having a goal setting system that helps you track these wins easily.

 

Invest in the individual

Just as much as you’re spending time with your team working on collective goals, it’s important to check in individually with each of your team members. This serves as a useful time to discuss individual progress and understanding regarding the work they’re producing. 

Check-ins also provide an opportunity to discuss upskilling which can be useful in bridging any skills gaps in your team. Invest in training for your team to keep them at the top of their game and also in tune with the latest developments in their specialty. If each of your team members is constantly learning, they’ll bring in new initiatives and ideas that can better the overall performance of your team. If continuous learning is a value for your team, make sure you allow time for people to share what they’ve learned from training sessions with the team, this not only helps cement theory, but also spreads knowledge further.

 

 


Pro HR tips from our community

Throughout our webinar series, we’ve been talking to our community to find out how you’re tackling HR challenges and discovering your opinions on the big culture questions. We’ve put together a list of some of the best HR tips from the responses we’ve received. 

 

Tackling COVID-19

COVID-19 has continued to impact the way we work and will do so for some time to come. When the outbreak first began to impact teams, we wanted to know how your team culture was impacted. 

Teams pulled together in the face of adversity and this had a positive impact on culture. However transitions imposed on the workplace from COVID-19 didn’t mean smooth sailing. The graphic below shows that there were plenty of speed bumps along the way. 

 

Communicating effectively was a pressure point for many, but clarification of messaging and checking in with team members helped remedy this. When we asked how teams would be returning to the workforce, or if they would, the results showed us that a distributed workforce may be here to stay.


Pro HR Tip: Invest in your communication methods

If you’re working with a distributed workforce, or seeking to improve your culture, the best thing you can do is improve the communication methods you use with your team. This could mean investing in tech that allows you to check in with your team, or creating a manual process to ensure leaders are dedicating time to regularly speaking with their team.

 

Creating a positive culture

Culture is important for creating a positive and healthy work environment where all team members feel willing and able to contribute. So how do you foster a positive culture for your team? We asked our HR practitioners and over half said with an open dialogue, and a further quarter said by checking-in regularly. 

There’s no doubt that communication is the key to success, so how do you let your team know that you’re listening to them?

 

Pro HR Tip: Integrate feedback into your practice

Communication isn’t a one way street and culture isn’t improved from the top down, it’s a collective effort. If you’re wanting innovation and quality work from your team, then you should trust that there is value in your team members’ opinion. Ask regularly for recommendations on how projects should be undertaken and request feedback from your team. Be sure to evaluate carefully and integrate points that will positively impact how your team works. This environment of trust and active listening creates value for your team members and in turn, helps foster a positive culture.

 

Manage a high performing team

We asked what HR leaders looked for in a high performing team and the results show that new ideas and innovation are key. Everyone has different ideas of what their dream team is, it’s not just about the talent involved, it’s also about managing work with culture.

Pro HR Tip: Focus on your goals

If you’re looking to manage a high performing team, you first have to envision what high performance looks like. Set short term and long term goals and evaluate how they’ll lead towards the future you envision for your team. Track your tangible outcomes and work with your team to continually improve, this is how you get the best out of your high performing team.

 

We’re constantly looking at the latest topics that the HR people are tackling. If you’d like to keep up to date on the latest trends, sign up to our newsletter below to receive them straight to your inbox.

 

 


The new normal work routine

As we all know, people are creatures of habit, and the comfort of routine is difficult to change due to the perceived safety and stability it provides. Work routine is something that people are especially loath to change, with these routines often having been painstakingly constructed over many months and years in order to fully maximise productivity and well being.

The recent worldwide disruption caused by COVID-19 has resulted in seismic changes to most people’s work routine, with a large majority having to work from home at an instant’s notice, meaning some were thrust into conditions that were less-than-ideal and far from conducive to optimising work output.

Over the course of the past 3 months, once the initial shock and novelty subsided, a new form of work routine emerged for many; one based around flexibility, genuine work-life balance, comfort, and lots of video calls.

With the looming lifting of many lockdown restrictions, organisations are well along the path of planning the return to the office, with some already operating in relative normality in this respect.

The work routine of many is about to significantly change once more, so now is a good time for HR people to think about which aspects of their teams routine have worked best, and which haven’t worked at all.

Here we look at three intrinsic factors that help or hinder routines to consider for your team as they return to the office,

 

Motivation

During that crazy first month of lockdown, it’s fair to say a lot of people ran the whole gamut of emotions, from fear to boredom, anxiety to excitement, and confusion to amusement. Riding this emotional rollercoaster had an impact on everyone’s work life, with some days proving impossible to concentrate and motivate oneself, such was the speed and shockingness of each news update.

Working from home for so long since then has been equally the challenge motivation-wise, with the co-worker inspired buzz and chatter that the office provides to many proving quite difficult to replicate over video calls and messaging. This has meant motivation for some days has to be completely summoned from within, not an easy task for people with a myriad of fresh distractions and potentially bad news in their personal lives.

For others, the reduced contact with co-workers has been a blessing for their work, with the ability to “put the blinkers on” and deeply concentrate on their tasks being the only motivation they need.

When returning to the office, it’s a good time, as an HR person, to encourage your team to take stock of why some days were easier motivation-wise than others, and for you to use those days as a marker for employees to aspire to when the commute starts up again.

 

Comfort

Being comfortable, whether that be via the clothes we wear, the physical space where we work, or even the temperature in or outdoors, is often something that contributes heavily to our work routine. For the most part, people want to be comfortable to be able to fully focus on work, and finding this optimum level of comfort during lockdown has been a key part of employees routines. 

At home, some people have been dressing like they are going to the office, some have gone for the full trackies and old t-shirt look, and others have gone for something in between – dressed up enough to get into that ‘office’ mindset, but also relaxed enough to acknowledge the reality that they are still at home.

Finding the right physical workspace has also been a challenge for many, as other family members or housemates have gotten in the way, as well as a lack of appropriate work furniture. Having a spacious and comfortable enough desk and chair has been vital for many, whereas others have gone for the couch, kitchen bench or garden/balcony to feel most comfortable.  

A common refrain seems to have been that people miss working with other people, but don’t miss working in the office, making it all the more vital for HR people to figure out if there are comfort elements they can bring in to the office for their team, as although employees won’t be able to fully re-create sitting in the backyard in shorts and t-shirt when they return to the office, changing the office workspace to an acceptable level of comfort will help with re-establishing their routine. 

Some examples of how you can help in this respect include an increase of plants and exposure to sunlight in the office, allowing employees to bring their pets in on some days, relaxing the dress code, and scheduling breaks for everyone. 

 

Balance

Finding a genuine work-life balance is somewhat of a holy grail for workers, with many people in busy and important roles all too often finding the life side of the equation heavily squeezed out. Lockdown has created an almost mass reset of everyone’s work-life balance, with people finding the reduced hours and lack of commute has led to more time to re-connect and re-engage with the people and things that they hold most dear.

Whether it be getting more exercise in, spending more time with partners and kids, throwing themselves into cooking, or just catching up on sleep, books and box-sets, people have woven these activities into their daily routine, which has been important for mental health and well-being.

The flip side of this blended daily routine is the danger that some employees have been struggling to know when to switch off from work, as the constant presence of the work laptop ensures the temptation to check emails and messages is always there. Try to make sure your team aren’t pushing themselves too hard, and this article we have produced provides some handy tips about work-life balance.

The return to the office will, of course, have an impact on this newfound balance, therefore it is vital that employers and employees set appropriate boundaries to harness the positivity that this recent uplift in work-life balance has provided, from flexi-days and hours, to a better understanding of people’s pressing extracurricular activities.

 

Looking Ahead

Surveying your employees about which parts of their lockdown routine worked and which didn’t is an excellent way to make positive and trust-building changes in the workplace, with the above aspects sure to feature heavily. Being able to read and analyse the data of the survey responses will also help to make informed, forward-thinking decisions when it comes to considering the long-term plans of your employees’ work routines.

If you need help with the aforementioned surveying of employees, as well as the data and analytics, sign up for our free HR platform and start planning those routines now.

 

 


7 better ways to meet remotely without Zoom video conferencing

We get it. You’ve got Zoom fatigue. We do too. So we wrote this for you.

In our world right now, most meetings are happening remotely, via Zoom Video Conferencing. Boardrooms and meeting spaces have been swapped for bedrooms and kitchen tables. And whilst we have all adapted to remote work, out of necessity, I don’t think any of us has truly adapted to endless Zoom calls. 

What is it about back to back video conferencing meetings that drains your energy so much? And what alternatives are there to the Brain-draining marathon calls?

If you’re like any of the other 150+ HR teams in our community, then you’ve probably contemplated this at some point. Likely just after shutting the laptop lid, taking off your headphones and rubbing your temples. There must be a better way.

We thought the same, and that’s why we spend some time researching and asking the brilliant HR people we’re lucky enough to work with; “What’s your Zoom Video Conferencing meeting alternative?”

 

7 effective ways of meeting remotely without the Zoom-drain. 

1. Dial-in with Audio only

Part of the energy sap that comes with day-long video conferencing is the time spent staring at a screen. The human eye was not designed to spend that much time concentrating on your pixelated co-workers. You can feel this intuitively; at the end of the day, you have a screen headache (Computer Vision Syndrome). 

Outside of the work you already do whilst attached to your screen, zoom meetings add extended periods of time where you’re forced to strain your eyes on your screen.
An easy alternative is to replace the screen with audio-only dial-ins. You can even use Zoom as a platform to do so, and encourage meeting guests to dial in on their phones. When doing so, it’s important to remind everyone to step away from their screens as they dial-in. This creates a forced break in screen time usage during your meeting. To help their eyes readjust and recover.

Plus, did you know research shows we are actually MORE empathetic when listening to audio-only communication? Because we start to really hear the nuances and subtleties in tone.

 

2. Walk and Talk – switch the screen for the footpath.

(My personal favourite)

Did you know Steve Jobs preferred to hold most of his brainstorming meetings whilst walking? If you have meetings that are creative in nature, consider switching webcams for footpaths.

Walking can boost creativity by up to 60%, according to research by Stanford University. Plus walking gets your team outside, to lap up some vitamin D. And helps you encourage healthy team exercise. 

How to conduct:

  1. Set a time in the calendar
  2. Decide on the length of the meeting and length of the walk
    1. Fun tip: Try to share your walking paths/challenge each other to see how far you walk, or start a fitness group using an app like Strava
  3. Dial into a Zoom meeting link or Conference call
  4. Put your headphones and start strolling

Tips: 

  • Set an agenda or share any resources ahead of time if needed. This way, your walking meeting can focus on conversation, not documentation. 
  • Record the audio – this way those brilliant, on the fly ideas won’t get lost in the wind. 

Walk the walk and let your team talk the talk. 

 

3. Group Coffee Call – dial in with audio as you enjoy your fresh Arabica

Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in close proximity to co-workers, it’s likely you’re missing the morning coffee runs. And the conversation catch ups that go hand in hand. It’s too easy when hosting frequent zoom meetings for the workplace to lose its social aspect.
It is possible to host coffee catch-ups and morning tea via Zoom, but we would recommend trying a group coffee outing. Switch your morning meeting for a group coffee run to replicate that normal coffee runs that happen in the office.

How to conduct:

  1. Agree on a time in advance to avoid early risers missing out
  2. Set-up a meeting invite and instruct the team to start the meeting at their own local coffee shop
    1. This is to allow for variances in travel time to the nearest Cafe
  3. Have your team dial in and catch up as everyone enjoys their coffee on the way back home

 

4. Video Your Pages – change the webcam from facing you to facing the table

From the research, one element that came across as critical for reducing the video conference fatigue is reducing overall screen time. We’re already chained to our screens throughout the day. Zoom calls just add to this.

But sometimes you still need to be able to share what you are working on.

It’s commonplace for this to be done with screen share, however, this still requires everyone to be staring at their screen to work. An alternative meeting style is for the team to position their webcams to look at their workbooks/paper. And then collaborate via these mediums.

This still requires periodic screen referencing, however, helps reduce screen-time burden. Especially useful for creative work.

Replace the screen with an A4 page, and collaborate there.

How to conduct:

  1. Open up your regular Zoom Video Conferencing Meeting
  2. Angle all the camera’s away from participants an onto their pages
  3. Work through your meeting/brainstorming session, writing and recording everything down manually on paper.
    1. Occasionally peeking at the screen to see what others are doing will probably happen, but overall you should spend less time looking at the screen. 

 

5. White Board Stream

This depends on access. If you have access to whiteboards and other writing surfaces, you can replace the screen share with video footage of whiteboard interaction and have your team dial into the video call with audio to participate. 

Like a whiteboard meeting conducted remotely.

How to conduct:

  1. Nominate a dedicated scribe who has to a whiteboard, and a meeting leader
  2. Have the scribe position their video directly on the whiteboard
  3. Allow the meeting leader to run through your agenda, with the team pitching in and the scribe writing down anything said on the board

 

6. Collaborating without a meeting – Meeting in your online documents

Collaboration needs to happen but is harder than before with everyone physically distanced. And sometimes, you’d rather not jump straight into a zoom call to discuss documents as you begin putting them together.

One workaround is to host a docu-meeting; a meeting where you collaborate on a task in an online document in real-time. 

As meeting participants add to the document, others add comments, questions and feedback in the document. Which is responded to in real-time. This fosters co-creation without the need for a video feed. 

How to conduct:

  1. Use an online document that can be accessed by multiple users at once
    1. Example: Google docs, sheets
  2. Match the document type to the project type
    1. We use Miro/Figma for design projects
    2. Google/docs for writing
  3. Have the team collaborate in the document, adding in their thoughts and ideas in real-time
  4. Add comments, feedback and questions into the document
    1. This will replace the conversation that usually happens via video conferencing

 

7. Replace Video Chats with Group Chats

The last meeting replacement might be the simplest: skip the Zoom calls altogether and use instant messaging to collaborate and make decisions. Not without its flaws, but using a chat solution like Slack or Microsoft Teams to replace zoom video conferencing meetings can reduce video conferencing fatigue and help work get done faster. 

 

Concluding: 7 Ways Wrapped Up

  • Teleconference – audio-only
  • Walk and Talk
  • Coffee Run Dial-in
  • Video Your Pages
  • White Board Stream
  • Swapping meetings for online documents
  • Informal Group Chats

These are just a few suggestions for breaking free from the shackles of endless Zoom video conferencing. I’m sure there are many other creative ways of meeting remotely. We’d love to hear yours.

Research:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/23/zoom-fatigue-video-calls-coronavirus-can-make-us-tired-anxious/3010478001/

 

 


Remote work-life balance: 3 tips for rebalancing

We’ve all noticed it moving to remote work, work-life balance has slipped. Everyone in our HR community is talking about how hard it is to switch off. For themselves. For their people. 

Personally, my office and home have merged into one continuous blur. Sometimes I can’t tell where work ends and home begins. Hours seem to slip through my fingers like grains of sand pouring into one blended bucket, where before it was two. My work-life balance has fallen off the Bosu ball. 

And I’m not alone. 

The real problem is the burnout and fatigue that comes with being on 24/7. It’s much harder to flick the off-switch without the reminder of physically leaving your workplace. So employees are overworking themselves, neglecting their mental health and wellbeing.

 

When it comes to work-life balance, managers lead the way

That’s why we asked Glenn, our Chief Customer Officer and Manager-extraordinaire, for his tips on how to improve work-life balance in this current environment. 

Glenn noticed his team working crazy hours, unable to disconnect and switch off. Work-life balance was slipping and it wasn’t just team members; he himself was suddenly working 24/7, around the clock. Burning out. 

His number one solution? To lead by example. Making a show of logging on and off to your team can be the key to bringing back work-life balance. It’s as simple as announcing on slack/Microsoft teams/chat or wherever you communicate; “I’m finished for the day.”

As a Leader, being deliberate with your work hours and forcing yourself to switch off, publicly, gives permission for your team to do the same. Your team’s work-life balance starts with your own. 

For the other tips and his story, watch our short video below.

 

 

3 takeaways

  1. Help team members set their own hours

We recommend that you sit down with each team member and allow them to come up with their own work schedules. Some may like to start at 6am, some at 9:30 am. 

The point is to find a schedule that works for them. A schedule they will stick to that helps them achieve a healthy work-life balance. Plus, if it’s employee-generated rather than manager mandated, your team is much more likely to follow it. 

 

2. Monitor team chat activity

This may seem a little Big-Brotherish, but with work and the home being one, your team members may not even notice the hours flying by. 

As a leader, you have a responsibility to be aware when team members are logging on at 6 am but not finishing until 7 pm. You’re the guardian of their work-life balance.

Checking your team-chat lets you help intervene and encourage your people to switch off. That might mean a gentle nudge with a reminder, or maybe sitting down with them to unpack why they are working such long hours. 

 

3. Lead by example

Your actions set the tone for your team. Leading by example means making a point of switching off, which gives permission subconsciously for team members to do the same. Glenn ensures to announce every day when he’s finishing, as a reminder for his team members to do the same.
Work-life balance starts are the top, filters down through managers and is felt by team members. 

 

 


3 HR lessons from Youfoodz, Fujitsu and McCullough Robertson

We caught up with Christina King, Chief People Officer from Youfoodz, Sarah Gatehouse, Head of People and Culture from Fujitsu and Louise Ferris, Chief People Officer from McCullough Robertson on how they’re tackling today’s HR challenges.

 

The workplace has changed 

We’re not looking to the future of work anymore, that’s because we’re living it. If your business leaders haven’t embraced the changes that working remotely has presented, it’s time to catch up. Louise spoke to us about how this reimagining will change the mindset of leadership towards embracing a diverse workforce.

 

Be proactive rather than reactive

How have you prepared your teams for a second wave of COVID-19? Christina takes us through how she’s proactive rather than reactive when planning for the future. Not only is this lesson important for the challenges of this year, but because HR’s role is now shifting to look towards the future and plan for how our people can achieve success no matter what the circumstance.

 

Plan for a return to the office

If your workforce has been distributed due to COVID-19, you may be in the midst of developing a plan to return to the office. Sarah had some wise words on how she’s beginning to set the process up for a return. There are plenty of important considerations to cater for, check out the clip below for the top 3 things HR should focus on.

 

 


How to assist staff to work from home successfully

There’s no doubt about it, working from home is here to stay. Perhaps your office is now permanently distributed, or your management is allowing a staggered return to work with WFH options in the future. If you haven’t got your at home set-up sorted by now, it’s time to start getting organised. 

We’ve had a lot of fun speaking to some intelli people from different teams to see how they’ve been going with our newly distributed office. They had a lot of insights around how to set yourself up for success as well as providing us a few pictures of their at home set up. Say hello to Diego from Design, Savannah from Customer Success, Blake from Software Development and Luisa from Marketing as they give us their thoughts on remote work.

 

How are you finding working from home?

Diego: WFH is not something new to me, however, working from home full time has been a different story. There’s been a process of adjusting to the space and managing my official working hours. Having the desk so close can be tempting at the beginning, it’s so easy to get carried away and sometimes lose sense of time. 

However, now I am really enjoying the flexibility of moving around the space as I need to, having a break when my body needs it, sometimes moving into a different area of my house for a change of scenery. Adaptability has been vital for these uncertain times and that included how I approach my work and how I interact with others.

Savannah: This has been my first experience working from home, but the support from the intelliHR team has been fantastic. Although we’re not in the office together, the team has placed a great focus on checking-in throughout the day to make sure I’m doing well (especially as I am still new to the team!).

Blake: I worked from home quite a bit before isolation, so I’m quite used to the setup, there’s nothing new with it for me!

Luisa: Working from home was a bit of a challenge at the beginning, but slowly I have been able to create a routine that works for me. I’m lucky enough to have my partner work from home as well, otherwise it would be pretty lonely. I’m also enjoying having my little four legged friend around!

Managing your team without those face to face conversations isn’t easy! We recommend using technology to help bridge those gaps and direct conversations. Give your team as many opportunities as possible for them to be open and honest with how they’re traveling during remote working. Recently we asked some of our intelli managers how they’re adjusting to working with their team remotely, check out their insights.

 

What’s been the biggest change with shifting to remote work?

Diego: I enjoy interacting with people in person and I sometimes find it difficult to get a real sense of what the other person is experiencing as it is very difficult to read and understand body language from 10+ different cameras at the same time.

Savannah: The biggest change has definitely been how we communicate as a team. In the office there is more of an opportunity for social engagement and interaction, as you easily can see everyone in the office. Working from home has reiterated the importance of checking-in on others regularly, as that opportunity to interact and engage with our colleagues on a daily basis isn’t always possible now.

Blake: I miss seeing intelli people! My productivity hasn’t really been impacted, but I do miss lunchtime as in the office we used to play games and get walks to get lunch, plus the fact that we would always have some great chats.

Luisa: I think the biggest change has been communication. I miss having the ability to get a quick answer from a colleague or having a good chat with someone in the kitchen. 

Set up your team for success by helping them balance their work and their life. Mental health care is extremely important, particularly when so many are being affected adversely by social distancing measures. 

Here are some useful tips:

  • Encourage people to turn off slack and email notifications when they finish work for the day.
  • Get people to share their regular work hours so that their team knows when they’re available and when they’ve ‘finished’ for the day.
  • Encourage positive office culture by hosting morning tea or fitness classes
  • Allow your team members to lock in a lunchtime in their calendar and ensure they’re getting in their break every day

 

How have you made your at home desk set up your own and what do you like about your set up?

Diego: I took the opportunity to make this space an area that can represent who I am and what my interests are. I have lots of books, music cds and my guitar which I can now access and play more easily. I also love the fact that I can have natural light all day as well as a beautiful view. That’s been priceless!

 

Savannah: My home set-up is quite spacious (I have a kitchen table for a desk – thanks IKEA!), so I have quite a bit of room to spread out all the equipment that I need for work (i.e. monitor, laptop, extra keyboard).

 

Blake: It’s been my desk already for a long time. I’ve got three computers packed into this desk, and use my streaming PC to jump into meetings so that I’ve got a decent looking camera and alright sounding microphone. However, I still like to use another computer to be able to see what’s happening in other windows. I like using my own set-up as it gives me plenty of space and I’m able to access everything I need with ease.  


Luisa: I already had my own office set up, but I did rearrange my office once I knew we’d be working from home for a while so that I had a view outside my window. Being a designer it was also important that I was able to set up a second larger monitor and not have to work off my laptop.

Setting up your working space can be useful in increasing your focus and also improving your state of mind. A space that has good ergonomics will also improve your physical health and help you work. This can include having a chair that supports good posture and keeping your screen at eye level. If you don’t have a laptop stand, you could try and stack some books to keep your computer at a good height. If your at home chair isn’t hitting the right spots, perhaps grabbing your chair from your office might be the way forward. 

 

 

 


How to provide mental health care for your team

What is stress and how can I help my team manage their stress? Firstly, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A good level of stress will increase motivation and can give us that extra needed push for us to reach peak performance. As with most things in life, managing stress is a balancing act. When we allow stressors to build up and disrupt our lives, it can lead quickly to fatigue or a decline in our mental health. This is why it’s vital to maintain good practices surrounding mental health, but also be vigilant of some warning signs before stressors pile up. 

At present, there is an overwhelming amount of stressors apparent in everyday life. With an onslaught of information about the ever evolving pandemic and the pressures of isolation, it’s no wonder that many are feeling overwhelmed. Though many offices have been distributed from head office for a while now, some of the initiatives to maintain social connection may have fallen to the wayside. 

 

The routine

The road to good mental health begins with good management of diet, sleep and exercise. Get these building blocks right and you’ll have a good start to managing stress and continuing on the journey to good mental health. We’ve seen some HR teams introduce a different focus each week (nutrition, sleep, exercise etc) and share daily tips with their team. 

Sleep is the foundation to which our day is built upon. To be active and functional, our brains need 8 hours of sleep every night to consolidate memories and get rid of useless information and to assist with REM sleep in the early morning. We need to experience that rejuvenating sleep that helps us process our day before midnight. If your brain can’t recalibrate overnight you’ll be left feeling all out of sorts and have issues focusing. 

Exercise keeps our bodies active and healthy. There is a reason people say “healthy body, healthy mind” and that’s because exercise helps relieve tension and increase energy levels. That’s right, it’s not just the rush of endorphins after an exercise that will leave you feeling great, but the lasting impacts which leave you in a better mood.

What we put into your body is also what you get out of it. Having meals that are nutrient rich gives the brain fuel it needs to tackle complex issues and maintain focus. Try to swap some snacks for some fruits, nuts or veggies to keep up energy throughout the day.

 

Help your team manage their work/life balance

We are seeing more and more teams working longer and longer hours while working from home. It’s easier for the lines between home and work to blur when they’re in the same place. HR has the opportunity to empower your team to manage their tasks and minimise the risk of burnout. Ideas to help your team include:

  • Encouraging people to turn off slack and email notifications when they finish work for the day.
  • Getting people to share their regular work hours so that their team knows when they’re available and when they’ve ‘finished’ for the day.
  • Ensure managers are checking in with their teams regularly to see if they’re managing with the task load, do they need additional support?
  • Encourage your team members to lock in a lunchtime in their calendar and ensure they’re getting in their break every day

 

If you’re away from your office, it’s incredibly important that you manage your tasks to minimise the burnout factor. Particularly if your team is new to working remotely. At the office, it’s easy to break up tasks with a simple conversation with your neighbour or by going and making yourself a cup of tea. The benefits of these interactions and activities can be quite powerful. If your team members are getting up to have a quick break, they’re stretching their legs and moving around, and if they’re having a laugh with their colleagues, they’re helping their head by giving their brain some much needed time off. 

Be sure to break up your day with regular intervals and get in that much needed movement that your body requires. Also, maybe set aside some time to have a quick chat with your teammates before or after a team meeting, these social interactions are important and help foster a great team relationship. 

 

Respect working conditions 

As we mentioned before, routine is an incredibly important part of maintaining mental health. Assist your team members with their journey by respecting their boundaries with work, if they have set hours that they have specified that they can be contacted in, don’t try and speak to them outside of those. If you’ve noticed that your team members are working outside their usual hours and are overextending themselves, it may be time to have a conversation where you set out expectations. Assure them that their work and time are valuable, but they need to balance it with looking after themselves. 

 

Help your team

As business leaders, the best thing we can do here is to help lead by example and communicate often and with purpose to your team members. 

The best way to understand how your team members are managing is to speak with them. Organise a regular catch up meeting with your team members and have a structured agenda that you can refer to. Ask about their goals, how they’re progressing with their work but also how they’re finding the current situation. Ensure that you action follow up items on the back of this meeting, accountability is key here. 

 

Look out for warning signs

As many teams are distributed, it can be difficult to try and get an accurate read of how they’re mentally coping with the challenges. If you notice that usually chatty team members are being quiet, or the more introverted team members are asking for more time to chat, it can be a sign that they need some additional support. Naturally, during times of intense stress, everyone responds differently, now more than ever is a great time to be extra vigilant and take time to care for your team and peers. 

 

Though check-ins may assist, it may also be wise to initiate a wellbeing check-in. As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, intelliHR has created our free Essentials Platform which includes a wellbeing check-in. This survey can be pulsed out to your entire organisation so that you can understand what your people may be struggling with and where you should dedicate more time and resources. 

 

COVID-19 Essentials Platform ad