The Future is for Smart Leaders

The Future is for Smart Leaders

For Smart Leaders, life will never be the same. They will take the learning from Lockdown and help build a more inclusive society for the UK Workforce.

This is the script from our recent Webinar

Prioritising

What business should you be prioritising?  Who will be crucial to delivery?  What is your duty of care to them? How do you manage social distancing?  How can you monitor personal safety? What is your H&S policy on visiting client offices? Is it ethical to procure PPE kits for your staff if it could deny critical supplies to the NHS?

So many questions; so, few clear answers. The Government simply ‘flicked a switch’ when we went  into Lockdown. But coming out of it and making sense of this broken, confused business landscape is going to be a huge, complex challenge. Let’s not get caught napping like so many did when Lockdown began.

Lockdown Ease

Every Smart Leader must consider in detail, every role, each worker, all workplace scenarios and what it means in for their future smart workforce

  • We know that certain measures like social distancing will still be in place for a long time to come – until there’s treatment or a vaccine for Coronavirus
  • Leaders need to go through scenario planning to a very detailed level to determine what their organisation should be doing to protect people in the workplace.
  • Leaders can use this time wisely to prepare and plan next steps – including how workers get to their workplace if travel restrictions are still in place.
  • Any government guidance about the easing of Lockdown restrictions will have a timetable or structure around which sectors would open, when and for how long.
  • Schools and educational institutes may be one of the first sectors to be reopened as many workers are struggling to balance work responsibilities with caring for and educating their children.

Will you return to the 9 to 5 Office?

How you manage a new smart workforce will depend on the type of closure arrangements you have been operating. The 3 most prevalent types are:

  • Business not trading at all (all staff furloughed)
  • Trading on a limited basis (some staff furloughed, some working from home or in company premises) or where only ‘essential’ workers are currently in work
  • Operating fully but all staff working from home.

Whichever of these is closest to your individual business, there are some common issues you will need to address:

CIPD’s View

HR’s professional body has produced their view on the new landscape. They see it like this:

  • There will be a requirement for some form of social distancing for some time to come.
  • Lockdown restrictions will likely be lifted gradually, and all staff who can work from home will be expected to carry on doing so.
  • Where groups of employees or businesses are part of a sector return to the workplace, employers will need to consider detailed risk management approaches to minimise the risk of infection.
  • Given that the priority for every business should be managing a safe return to the workplace for staff, it’s crucial to take into consideration health and safety.
  • Communicate the practical measures you are taking to staff on a regular basis to help reassure them that their health, well-being and safety is your top priority.
  • Make sure employees are clear about what procedure they should follow if they begin to feel unwell, both in the workplace and at home.

Reviewing the Workplace

But Smart Leaders need to take that view a little further:

  • Can the Transport Companies supply the train and bus travel that’s required to allow you people to commute to an office or factory, given 2m distancing?
  • Can staff in your business maintain a 2m physical distance between each other? How many can fit into your workplace?
  • How will you manage meetings, interviews and other interactions?
  • What about communal areas such as canteens or kitchen areas?
  • How can you implement resourcing strategies to support physical distancing such as ‘cohorting’ namely keeping teams of workers working together and as small as possible?
  • Have you considered staggering working hours so that not all staff are in at the same time?
  • All of the key protection and hygiene measures will continue to apply to minimise the spread of infection, such as reminding staff about regular and effective handwashing, and providing hand sanitiser.
  • If your premises have been closed for a period of time, you should carry out a deep-clean before you reopen.

Testing and PPE

  • Depending on your working environment, you may need to consider providing additional PPE, including gloves, masks or anti-viral hand gel.
  • If you want people to wear gloves/masks, then you will also need to think about training/briefing staff on their correct usage – since both can be ineffective if used inappropriately.
  • It’s also likely that more large-scale testing for COVID-19 infection will form a key part of facilitating a safe return to the workplace for larger numbers of employees. This could form an extension of the current framework for the testing of essential workers and will mean every employer implementing a systematic approach for their workforce..
  • Staff who travel or visit other company premises may also need additional equipment or briefing.

The Risks 

People are struggling with this pandemic from a psychological as well as physical perspective. Your workforce will be anxious about the ongoing health crisis and fear of infection post Lockdown, as well social isolation during Lockdown.  You can refer to our webinars and training resources on this site

  • Many will have experienced challenging domestic situations, such as juggling childcare or caring for a vulnerable relative, as well as financial worries if a partner has lost their income.
  • Some will have experienced illness, or bereavement.
  • Even if staff have carried on working and participating in video meetings, they will still need to adjust to working in a shared environment with colleagues.
  • Some may take more time than others and it’s likely that most people will need a period of readjustment.
  • Some members of staff may have concerns about travelling to work on public transport – or it may not be as readily available.
  • Many may find that they are still coming to terms with the significant change which society has seen, and the familiar workplace routines could feel very differen

One thing’s for sure – there will be no one size solution fits all.

Business as usual?

We’ve learned from Coronavirus that nature transforms the world more swiftly than business can ever dream of. It’s altered the world’s economic & environmental trajectory for good and emergency measures forced on reluctant companies will form part of future thinking.

  • Do we need large city office space with staff relying on crowded public transport?
  • Companies might stash cash – to survive another crisis
  • Homeworking could make the rush hour history, which might then affect property values in satellite “commuter towns.”
  • Staff will also demand more from employers in terms of flexibility, facilities and safety at work.
  • Transport will look very different – it’s not set up for social distancing right now.
  • Business will never look the same again and our products and services will change as society evolves.

Life will never be the same

That’s for sure.  Here are a few thoughts we’ve gathered:

  • Digital transformation will gather speed – more artificial intelligence to approve benefits, loans, profile customers, control stock and improve delivery.
  • Supply chains will be shorter, more resilient and possibly more local – pluses and minuses there!
  • Universities may not be able to attract foreign students.
  • Schools may become more virtual.
  • Economic nationalism, when governments cut imports and investments from other nations, is popular right now – it may be selfish and damaging.
  • International institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, the World Heath Organisation may be challenged to up their game – or go away.

We all hope for a return to business as usual. It’s not going to happen.  Better get ready for the New Normal.

A Kick Ass Call to Action

Business Leaders can’t control the cure, but we can learn lessons from the past, the remote working experiment and use the information to build a better future for our customers, teams, communities & the environment.

  • We must start thinking about how we restart, rebuild and renew the way we operate.
  • You and your Top Team will have to think through every role, every worker, every workplace scenario and what it means for a return to work post Lockdown.
  • Measures like social distancing will still be in place for a long time to come until there’s treatment or a vaccine for the virus
  • We will have to work very differently in our workspaces to maintain 2m distancing. How will you run a team meeting, for example?
  • And how will you ensure your workforce is inclusive of the vulnerable – who cannot return to the office unless there is a vaccine?

Be Prepared

There were a lot of rabbits in the headlights when Lockdown occurred.  If there is one message to get across here – for heaven’s sake……be better prepared for the return to work than you were for Lockdown

How will you lead your business into the new normal?

As Smart Leaders we must foster more open mindsets and a shared team vision for the future at every level in the business, from CEO to the newest of starters.

When Lockdown began, millions of Bosses had to take a leap of faith – they had to trust their people to do a good job.  Let’s build on that!

Crisis = creativity and the Norms have been blown away. What will Smart Leaders replace them with?

Get Ready – The Future is for Smart Leaders

With the government due to release papers on how Lockdown will ease, and commerce will restart it is time to get you planning hat on – Now – this week!  We’ve had plenty of warning this time – don’t get caught napping again!

This means planning your new workforce model. Work out what has worked for you and your customers during this remote working experiment. What can you retain?  What other forms of smart working can you implement – there are 50 options in our model

Scenario plan what your Lockdown ease may look like.  Think in detail about

    • every role,
    • each worker,
    • all workplace scenarios

and what it means in terms of implementing a return to work

Six Step Methodology

We use a tried and tested methodology:

  1. Smart Workforce Model – we help you sort out which of the 50 options will for your unique business and what to avoid in the New Normal
  2. 2020 Vision – Analyse what we learned from Lockdown
  3. Scenario planning – every role, each worker, each scenario
  4. Building your new model – bringing the future to life
  5. Action plan – when, how, who,, what, where.
  6. Leadership and Smart Team Training

Want a hand?  Run a Virtual Smart Workforce Discovery Programme with your Top Team to work out your plan.

What ever you – don’t get caught napping like you did when Lockdown began.

Contact ruth@smartworkingrevolution.com and we’ll have a chat about the complex scenarios your business will face as lockdown eases.