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Euro Projects Recruitment Business Leaders Zoom Call 20th July Summary - Managing & Motivating Remote Workers

Remote Worker

Stephen Brown

Euro Projects Recruitment Business Leaders Zoom Call

For Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, Transportation & Logistics Professionals


Prime Minister Announcement – Economic Update – Building & Motivating Remote Teams

Summary of Key Points: 20th July 2020

Covid-19 & Business Update

Stephen Brown from Euro Projects Recruitment

Welcome to our 18th week of hosting this Zoom Call. Last week we heard an update from Prime Minister Boris Johnson about big changes to an easing of lockdown:

  • From 1st August a change in guidance on returning people to work in offices, even if they can work from home.
  • New powers to Local Authorities to conduct local lockdowns at micro level and with rapidity.
  • From September - Schools and Colleges allowed to reopen.
  • From October – attendance at live sports and entertainment events, this will include conferences and exhibitions.
  • In England, you must by law wear a face covering on public transport, shops and supermarkets.

Economic Update:

  • Household spending is 70% of the economy, recovery expected to take until end of 2022 before it reaches pre-Covid levels.
  • Online Job postings down by 59% as of 10th July
  • Highest demand for Maintenance Engineers and Fork Lift Truck Drivers.
  • House sales jumped by 35% in five days following Rushi Sunak announcement to raise threshold on stamp duty.
  • UK China trade and Brexit still to impact business.

Furlough Update: You can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory or contractual notice period, however grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

Key Topic: Agile and Remote Working with Jonathan Cann, Global Director. Namecheap Inc. and Lisa Collen Head of People and Workplaces Flagship Group.

  • Most businesses were forced into remote working in March. In a matter of hours Euro Projects Recruitment  went from an office based operation to fully remote.
  • We’ve now been doing it 3-4 months and like many clients and attendees on this call, we would like to begin planning what working patterns might look like moving forward as employers and employees are getting more used to it.
  • Bosses have had a taste of employees work from home and the sky didn’t fall in and the fear of a 7 day weekend turned out to be a fallacy.
  • Introducing Jonathan Cann, who has been running a Global remote working team for many years
  • There is a lot to learn from someone who has done it a long time and is doing so strategically rather than has been forced into it by Covid-19.

Jonathan Cann

  • Context – has been running remote team for 5 years – built a team of 7 in Canada, Ukraine and UK. Everyone is remote. Major difference between now and when we started – previously it was choice. Key context to the discussion – people I recruited understood remote working and wanted to. Now it is a requirement.
  • Key to a successful remote team is trust
  • Also appreciate that each individual manages things differently – some people just can’t hack sitting at home they need the social interaction of going to work and getting their energy and stimulation from others.
  • Other pressures – remote working with current environment = higher pressure, many support systems outside of work for remote workers no longer available due to shielding, lockdown etc.
  • Also, challenge with junior team members is learning remotely can be very difficult – juniors miss the odd snippets of important information and “what do I do now?” conversations.
  • Another tip is to give clear objectives and deliverables
  • Have your tech and comms channels sorted – instant messaging tool – allows conversations
  • Then embrace it, rather than over manage
  • Vodafone – as soon as 2000 went remote – productivity through roof – people worked longer hours to justify they work from home. Then it dropped off due to fatigue and it is now more settled
  • As managers we have to understand it is difficult to allow a natural break and get people away from work so they can relax and avoid burnout.
  • Agree to turn computer and email off
  • If as a manager you email someone at 8:00pm then people think they need to do it. Be careful of constantly being on. Working and ‘not working’ from home both requirte self –discipline.
  • Allow yourself a break, If you have a bad meeting – get outside and give yourself some time

Lisa Collens

  • Has developed an agile working system - Hybrid model
  • See there is no golden bullet, but key themes can be adopted
  • Flagship Group is a Housing association
  • 1200 employees across East Anglia. Large workforce
  • Covering management functions, trades, service support workers etc.
  • Is an amalgamation of several smaller HA’s
  • Lisa joined 7 years ago with a background in media, creative and engineering and an international career has been able to introduce practices which can be seen as very new and disruptive to the norm.
  • Business model is – we provide homes for people in need – not set routine etc
  • What struck me was leadership – leadership will make or break an agile working model, the most important thing is the behaviours leaders display.
  • Start with you values and get rid of the basics – “Honesty is a value is a Hot pizza…if I order a hot pizza I expect it to be hot !"
  • Trust is key and with trust comes accountability – Move from parental leadership to Adult to Adult.
  • Recognise that not every role can work from home and not every person can work from home, some people are energised by working with colleagues in proximity.
  • Review your trust levels and if you have an adult to adult mindset. E.g. are you dictatorial about dress code. We threw some policies out the window, some people like to know what to do, now all of a sudden they are becoming accountable.
  • Demonstrate and behave what we expect of others
  • Working from home, we’ve done virtual engagement. Easier when you know someone – you can spot when things are not going so well
  • More difficult with new starter
  • So have conversations – not just straight into targets ….not just “how are you” either, most people just say “yes OK” - Look for signs.
  • Treat everyone as an individual – ask how they feel about changes etc – have that personal discussion.
  • Conscious of signs and signals if you look for them
  • Management by walking around – more challenging – how can we get around all our people?
  • 1-2-1’s
  • Lunch and learn – fun and informative
  • Give everyone a buddy – not in their team. Not line manager. A person you call. Hello how are you etc. need any help. Make more connections
  • TEAMS – rather than “how was it for you” we use images ….give us an image of how you feel
  • Realise it’s Okay as leader to say “I’ve had a rough day”…show vulnerability ….understand your people and listen
  • Turn on your cameras on conference calls.
  • Use instant messaging where people are too frightened to talk face to face…..opportunities as well as difficulties
  • Concerns – if some colleagues going to the office and others at home about who’s going to get the promotion – any issues
  • Yes – shouldn’t do but it will
  • Create a hub for people to attend and share
  • Best workers – just get on with it…but who’s got the ear of the CEO

Final Points

  • Actively create your culture don’t just let it happen otherwise people will just do what they’ve always done
  • Embrace technology – people have surprised themselves with this experience
  • Think about carbon footprint – take learnings from experience – lets create future – you can choose but take people with you
  • Manage the outputs not the inputs
  • Manage their contribution and outputs – shouldn’t matter where you are in the world