How your team can balance working from home and the office
If the COVID-19 crisis showed us anything, it’s that working from home can be just as productive as working from the office. The proof that remote working can be successful and profitable has been welcomed by many, including disabled workers and people with caring responsibilities. However, there are still definitely some things we miss about face-to-face working.
Now that restrictions are set to ease, your mind may be on a return to the office. However, for most businesses and workers, it’s unlikely to be an all-or-nothing approach. Over 85% of the UK’s biggest companies said that they intended to keep remote working as an option once the pandemic is over, moving to a hybrid model where people work from home a couple of days a week and are in the office the rest of the time.
It makes sense for employers - saving on-premises costs and utility bills. It also makes sense for many workers - saving on commuting time and costs and allowing people more flexibility. But there are some types of work, especially collaborative projects, and things like training seminars, that are just nicer and more effective when you can meet up in the same physical space. In this article, we take a look at some ways that recruitment teams can balance home working and office life to ensure they get the best of both worlds - and are more productive than ever.
Have a weekly meeting with the team in the office
If your team has only really seen each other on Zoom calls for a year, it’s going to be quite exciting to get everyone together in the same room again. A reinstating of your weekly or fortnightly team meeting is a great way to install a focal point back into the working week, encouraging everyone to come back to the office for a defined purpose. It will help you regain a sense of what your colleagues have been working on, thrash out any niggling issues and look at what’s coming up on the horizon for your firm. 1-2-1 meetings with anyone you line manage should be a priority for face-to-face as well, as it gives you a chance to properly check in with your staff. An in-person meeting is a much easier way to discuss their wellbeing, workload and to help them to set their priorities for the next few months than trying to do the same over a pixelated video call.
If possible, have your team in the office on the same days
If social distancing restrictions stay in place, it may depend on the size of your premises and whether you can accommodate the full team at once. However, if you’re planning a mix of home and office working, it’s a good idea to try to coordinate days with your team so that you’re all in the office together (otherwise you may as well be working separately at home!). This will also help people get back into a routine and make it easier to schedule things like client meetings and training sessions.
Aim to do collaborative work when in the office
Sorry, I think your connection’s dropping out. The sound isn't working on your share screen. You’re on mute! We’ve all encountered these problems on Zoom calls, and we have the viral videos to prove it. While it has its uses, Zoom isn’t ideal for intense teamwork. Anything that requires collaborative working is best done in person where possible, so try to make attendance at these types of meetings a priority. This goes for both internally, and when you’re working with clients, contractors and other partner organisations too. Having everyone in the same room allows more voices to be heard, and you can call upon those classic tools of collaboration - flipchart paper and post-it notes!
Use time at home for peaceful working
While it’s still a novelty, it's likely that office-working will be filled with even more distractions than usual: a whole 18 months’ worth of tea and coffee runs to catch up on, missed office gossip, and the entire output of Netflix to discuss. It’s going to be hard to do any kind of focused solo work in that environment. But that’s okay - because you have your home-working days! Home-working is great for tasks that you need to just stick your head down and get on with. That might be fussy admin jobs or intense projects like report-writing or spreadsheet-wrangling that you can only do with zero distractions. You’ll soon come to cherish the serenity of home-working days as much as you crave the banter and camaraderie of the office.
Build-in social time
Some thought also needs to be put into how you can make your team gel again now that they will be working in the same space once more. It’s been a year full of change, so it could even be that there are new team members, you’ve said goodbye to some colleagues, and people’s priorities, circumstances and relationships will undoubtedly have shifted. Your team will benefit from some time away from the business-as-usual to (re)build their connections with each other. Whether that’s something simple, like trying to round everyone up for after-work drinks or five-a-side, or something more elaborate, like a team-building session or away day, it’s worth investing some time and energy into your staff’s wellbeing and socialising, so that everyone is happy at work and communicating well with each other.
Whatever your recruitment business’s planned mix of office and remote-working, Kingsbridge is here to support our partners. As things continue to open up, we hope that there’ll be lots of new opportunities on the horizon for contractors. Kingsbridge can help by providing your hires with comprehensive and compliant business insurance all in one simple package, including that all-important PI and PL cover. Our packages are designed specifically for contractors and come with a price guarantee. What’s more, through our affiliate scheme, partners can earn commission when their invitees sign up for a policy with us. Find out more on our partnerships page or call us on 01242 808740 for a chat with our expert team.