Recently, it’s been all about change for DJHC. We’ve moved to our new premises and we’re starting some exciting new projects, plus there are new members of the leadership team. Emerging from the lockdown has been a big shift for many, and for others (like us), it’s been a time for a change. The lockdown prompted many people to reappraise their careers and lifestyle choices and some have taken the plunge.
But as many of us continue to work from home – which, considering the infection rates going into winter, may continue – starting a new job has completely changed. Now, there’s no anxious first day meeting your colleagues face-to-face. Instead, there’s merely a switch of email address that’ll happen from your home office or kitchen table. Under these conditions, how can people acclimatise and feel part of a team? We’d argue it’s down to managers, which we’ll delve a bit deeper into here.
It’s down to management
Remote team building has been a conundrum for business leaders since the beginning of the pandemic. As the crisis wears on, new challenges are emerging; this is especially the case as it becomes increasingly clear that we have to live with the virus. Therefore, life is continuing to a certain extent and people are changing jobs. So managing a remote team was one thing – but how do we integrate new members into a remote team?
We would argue that it’s key to maintain the lessons we’ve learnt during the lockdowns. During the pandemic, there was a much greater emphasis on pastoral care and mental health, and looking to the future, this should be maintained. Leadership should ensure there is a digital open-door policy so that new recruits feel that they can come and have a chat should they need to. Equally, managers should take a proactive approach and have regular check-ins with their team.
Could greater flexibility lead to greater productivity?
There’s also the question of on what terms you hire new recruits. Remote working has shown that perhaps the 9–5 is dead. During the pandemic, some managers feared that going fully remote would lead to a dramatic slump in productivity. In fact, many found the exact opposite. According to an ONS report, output per job (excluding furloughed workers) was 9.2% higher on average in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period the year before.
Experts suggest that this could be as a result of employees feeling more empowered to organise their own schedules. Potentially, this strategy could address the very modern issue of burnout and excessive stress. Therefore, when taking on new team members, there’s certainly something to be said for discussing more flexible hours to maintain this productivity boost.
Now’s the time to experiment
Undoubtedly, we’re entering into a new phase of the coronavirus era. Progress is happening but it looks like we’re in it for the long haul. As people carry on with their lives and switch jobs, we need to make sure that we apply the lessons from the pandemic. With an increased emphasis on mental health in the workplace, there’s potential to make the best of a bad situation – it’ll just take a bit of flexibility.