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Flexible Working Tonic: #4 Wellbeing

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During COVID-19 extraordinary period please keep top of mind:

  • You are not “working from home”, you are at home during a crisis, trying to work.
  • Your personal, physical, mental and emotional health is far more important than anything else right now.
  • You should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours.
  • You will be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how you see others coping.
  • Your team’s success will not be measured the same way it was when things were normal

Research tells us that our work comfort zone is when we get a break at least once every 90 minutes and move your body every 15 minutes. It will go quiet at times so try setting learning goals. Above all do use this time to YOUR BENEFIT. Be interesting to capture what new things are learned so perhaps …

  • Try keeping a journal
  • Create a Teams with Channels for an initiative you have always wanted to get off the ground but never had time previously
  • Try the PowerApp Challenge
  • Have some fun in Teams with the fun icebreaker questions in Tonic #3 Work Out Loud
  • Its Spring, try planting some seeds and grow some herbs or vegetables
  • Never cooked or baked for the family now is the time to try

Be a Leader not a Boss.

Be Open. The first key to managing remotely is to maintain good lines of communication. Today, managers can communicate with others in a variety of ways, eliminating the need for regular face-to-face contacts. Forget micro-managing. Ideally, you should talk to your team once in the morning to discuss their agenda and once in the evening to see how the progress is going. If this is done in a brief, informal manner, it won’t be an interference.

Be Emphatic. Call it empathy, emotional intelligence, or basic human decency, the idea is just the same. Since remote team management is all about collaboration and working side by side, the ability to place oneself in the shoes of another person plays a major part in smoothing out dents in teamwork.

Be Organised. A team manager is a juggler. No matter what size the team is, it is up to them to keep everything in-check. When it comes to working with remote teams, the core idea is that you must allow flexible hours yet maintain consistency. A concrete plan is a must, but you should be open to adjusting strategies at the same time.

Be Trustful. One common method of managing teams, especially when it comes to remote teams, is by building trust. Employees need to trust that their managers are looking out for their best interest. On the other hand, managers need to trust that their employees are engaged and motivated at work. Part of this trust is built during the hiring process – selecting candidates who are self-motivated – and the rest is built over time with each positive interaction. Managers need to let go of the urge to control what people are doing. There is a misconception that it is manager’s duty to manage people. By keeping others informed, you keep them engaged. Your role is to be a Leader not a Boss!

Be Patient. If the remote team is newly formed, team members have to get adjusted to each other. It may take from several weeks to a couple of months. During that learning period, the manager needs to be patient and accept that others are different and may make mistakes.

Be Appreciative. While flexible working gives a certain degree of freedom, it can also breed negativity and loneliness. Employee recognition is one of the more important tools at manager’s disposal. Research tells us that employees who feel valued were significantly more likely to report having high levels of energy, being strongly involved in their work and feeling happily engrossed in what they do.

Here’s how we introduced a Modern Workplace to the NHS using the human body as a fun Wellbeing metaphor

Anatomy of Modern Workplace

For Parents with kids at home.

This situation is new to you, your kids and your employer. While aiming to keep business going it will NOT be business as usual immediately. There needs to be a settling in period as families and employers’ transition to the new norm. As with any transition, it will take a bit of time. So, be patient with yourself, your kids and your employer. 

Be kind to yourself, as a parent, is very important. If you try to please everyone and try to do everything (work, parent, teach, run the house) you will quickly get exhausted, be unhappy, get irritable and everything goes pear shaped. You will not achieve it all so please don’t try too. It’s important to allow realistic time for the key tasks and be honest with yourself about what can and can’t be achieved. Focus on what is important and remember this might be different to what you would consider important in normal circumstances. 

Setting priorities is essential. What must be done? What would be good to get done? What can wait until a bit later when things have either settled down or gone back to normal? This needs to be thought about in terms of what’s important for family, and important for your work. It will be different for everybody. 

Having a clear routine for the day without being too rigid.  For example, have agreed times for meals, get on with work when they are feeling laziest and you feeling freshest.

Make sure they’ve got what they need.  Be it food, new batteries for the Xbox controller, get these details sorted otherwise you’ll be constantly pestered! 

Close your door. Give strict instructions not to be interrupted until a set time – if at all possible.

Negotiation. Even if other adults are in the house, you may need to negotiate who gets the home office/kitchen table, quiet time to crack on with work. Talking it through to establish the priorities is key, as well as being able to work when you feel at your best. It’s going to be give-and-take. Be prepared to stand your ground to get what you need, and compromise. 


Please join our free Flexible Working Webinar in Microsoft Teams by completing this form.

More reading:
The Art Of Teamwork
Microsoft Tech for Mental Wellbeing
NHS Mental Wellbeing while staying at home

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