Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 23rd April

This week’s Friday Focus, here are five updates from brilliant leadership coach David Marquet.

I highly recommend reading Turn the Ship Around, it’s a must-read for leaders and will improve how you think about being better communicators, being more impactful and respected at a deeper level.

The Five Leadership Gems:

A leaders job:

Open & Curious

A Leader Is A Farmer

Teams: Happy Then Success

Leadership Principles

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Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Virtual Interview Failures

In this week’s anonymous career feedback, we tackle virtual interviews and how to handle potential difficulties and how to impress,  

Dear Focus, I keep stumbling at interviews, what can I do to improve my virtual interviews? 

Interviews are difficult, whether they are in person, completely virtual or in the future hybrid, some in-person others virtual.

Virtual interviews should not be too much different to in-person interviews, however, the feel and flow can be offputting and each internet connection and quality of connection alongside the quality of headphone, the quality of your sound via your microphone, the background distractions and how good your webcam is can feel like competitive edges or a negative from the first hello, how are you. 

In 2021 the majority of interviews will be virtual, or virtual first with a second or third in person, if you have worked for a large international business or in a senior role this process has not changed but for many less experienced in these scenarios will feel daunting and hard to gage. 

No interview is ever the same, some interviewers are bad interviewers, some interviewees have off days or days they struggle to interview well. Like a good video meeting or session, there are components you can control and set yourself up for success rather than failure.

The best advice we can provide is: 

Pre-Interview 

  • Be prepared
  • Write down the questions on a notepad so as not to flick between screens or applications 
  • Ask clarifying questions before the interview during interview can take any flow away the interview and talking openly 
  • Arrange your desk and camera so you are looking at the camera and having “dedicated eye contact”
  • Do your research – let the interviewing panel know you have prepared 
  • Get yourself a drink and anything you might need like a tissue etc 
  • If you have a mac switch on do not disturb, there is a similar mode on PCs
  • Download the web client natively, browsers can be slow or need processing 
  • Join on time 

During The Interview 

  • Eye contact as much as possible 
  • Remember you are on camera 
  • Focus on the interview, not interior distractions 
  • Let the interviewers know you are taking notes 
  • Go through your list of questions, it is completely fine to take notes and ask numerous questions 
  • If the tools or software struggles call this out early and recommend logging back in or using another tool, do not struggle through with, own and lead interviews 
  • Answer as openly and honestly as possible 
  • Show you know the deck or document you have created, reading each slide bullet by bullet doesn’t show you are prepared or confident 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and let interviewers know there could be a delay 
  • If you have been asked to prepare anything consider how you can leverage third-party tools to record the video or send a copy of the information before the interview like you might with an important pitch or strategy session 
  • Ask about the company culture and recent failures – this shows you are interested and you ask important questions 
  • Think timelines, budgets and delivery – these are typically the three sections and story arch you have to deliver on 
  • Understand what the timeline is you are working towards 
  • If you have other interviews let the team know

Post Interview 

  • Ask follow up questions 
  • Ask for feedback 
  • Take the time to send through any links referenced 
  • If you wish you had said something, you can liaise with the team to provide more content 
  • Take the time to collate your thoughts and ideas 

Often your best work is not what the interviewing panel is looking for, often you will go over and above and you miss crucial summaries (exec summaries are priceless) or talk in the language of the panel, everyone has different challenges in interviews it is about being prepared, being able to connect with the interview panel and having a direct point and reference to guide your interview towards.

This year won’t be easy but often practise makes perfect and if you can practise with friends, family or a potential management coach or professional mentor.  

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 45

Professional Injuries & Rehab 

Dear leaders, I trust you had a good weekend. 

As I have mentioned before, I love coaching and mentoring. I currently have two great coaching clients and it is the highlight of my week whenever we sit down, zoom and run through coaching sessions. 

Something that came up in a recent mentoring session was being conditioned by a previous experience and it having a lasting impact on their career. 

I for one know I have many battle wounds and mental scars from previous workplaces and I am open to telling many of these to help to share and show we all have them and let them know being vulnerable is part of the process with us. 

Something many managers forget is the professional injuries our team members suffer or have suffered at previous companies or under previous management.
Truth be told some might be impacted by our management styles today. 

Yes, being busy is a part of it, an (important) however, not being close enough to the team and choosing to be a coach or mentor vs not having to be specific people’s manager is not taught and rarely discussed in management books or courses. 

Like athletes, injuries take a tremendous toll on us, physically and mentally and are often triggered by repeat events or similar results from a similar approach. 

This is one of the reasons why I recommend more coaches and mentors than managers. Coaches improve performance and recognise weakness that needs more personalised coaching. Managers rarely have the skillset for this.

We need rehab, we need to retrain and strengthen, what is different in the workplace especially large corporations, this is often left to the individual to work through, professional assistance and training is not promoted or recommended by managers or management teams. 

It is the time to balance this, help your team or department members seek professional help or self start and find a coach or mentor to help work on their injuries and improve our reliance and our strength. Training budgets should be used to train and retrain. 

I highly recommend updating your leadership principles to include developing your colleagues with coaching and rehab.

This week consider how you can take forward your colleague’s professional injuries or scars and look to offer a chance for them to rehabilitate. It doesn’t have to cost a huge amount of money or time but the benefit for you, your colleague and the business in a short period of time will be huge. 

Have a great week and take the time to list of a couple of your own injuries and how you might rehab them.  Professional 1-2-1 coaching is only an email away.

Thanks, 

Danny Denhard 

Focus Founder 

Five Important Reads To Read & Share 

  1. Return to the office checklist – reduce the anxiety around returning to the office 
  2. Recording mico-moments – this should be a micro moment   
  3. Offsites to reconnect as a team – need to reconnect with your team? An off-site or on-site done well with help you win the next two quarters  
  4. Fight, flight or freeze – changing the default reaction of teams
  5. Time for a co-pilot? – Is it time to revisit whether you need more support or the team needs a different pilot?
Categories
Business Performance

25 Meeting Recommendations

 

Meetings take up to 15% of all time within work. In very few organisations they teach you how to run successful meetings, how attendees are supposed to participate and what success looks like at the end of each meetings.

Company success is often shaped as much by meetings as their company strategy. 

Bad meetings impact company culture and often are the causes of teams misaligning and interpersonal conflict. 

With the number of meetings increasing, the lengths of meetings reducing but the frequency of repeat meetings, it is essential we reduce the friction of meetings and help to structure, optimise and improve meetings. 

On our mission to fix the broken world of work, we collated our 25 most suggested meeting recommendations to help your organisation to succeed. 

  1. Ask the question: does this have to be a meeting?
  2. Answer: Could this be a memo? 
  3. Whole company agreement: No meetings to have another meeting 
  4. AHA: Always Have Agenda’s 
  5. Keep track of ‘meeting moments and movements’ – centralise all notes, decisions and actions and share across to all invitees and if open allow all to view
  6. Always answer what is the objective of this meeting
  7. Agendas are great for meetings that require structure 
  8. Always have refresh agendas – with 50% of meetings repeat and agendas recycled you are fighting against yourself 
  9. No agenda = No attendance can work if enforce top to bottom 
  10. Agendas remove creativity – think of this when brainstorming and problem-solving 
  11. Always explain to each attendee why they are attending, what their expected role is and how they can help move the meeting forward 
  12. HiPPO’s have to encourage and support employee first engagement 
  13. Have no spectators rules – Steve Jobs would remove people who did not contribute to meetings 
  14. Remove awkward starts to meetings 
  15. If the meeting fails quickly gift people their time back 
  16. Feedback is a gift, survey attendees and asks for feedback sessions in the last five minutes of meetings (open documents for open feedback) 
  17. Always have a social element to meetings, never dive straight in, scientific studies and cultural differences have proven no social elements break social bonds and trust in the work environment 
  18. Meeting recovery syndrome is a hugely under-recognised issue within businesses, reduce the number of meetings and 
  19. Employees need help to manage calendars especially in hybrid environments, help to manage and have a meeting champion to share tips and best practices and offer training 
  20. Hybrid meetings are challenging, applying the same attention to those remote as those in the office, you must follow the no a team (in office) and b team (working remotely). Checking on remote attendees and asking for their opinions will be equalisers. Reviewing meeting notes and document updates will be important 
  21. Have meeting attendance guidelines. The quality of meetings drop the more that attend
    1. Other companies rules:
      1. 10 people (Google)
      2. 6 people (Apple)
      3. 2 pizza rule (Amazon) & 7 people + approval by senior meeting
  22. Remove meetings after 16.00 – least productive and often rushed.
    1. If you are an international or tri-time zone company consider how you can rotate these meetings  
  23. Silent start meetings are great for longer-form meetings requiring insights, discussion and alignment. 
  24. Keep and update your decision document to keep clear communications and a canonical home of decisions 
  25. Remember how we are engineered, information architecture is essential, an easy way to find out information and find relevant historical notes for those who were not at the company helps understand how to be successful.
    Meeting name > Date > Project > Department often works best  

Important Related Reading To Improve Business Performance:

Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 16th April

This week’s five for Friday to focus on breaks down 5 things you are told are bad ideas or silly but are essential parts of the business world.

Ask The “Stupid” Question 

Why? Very often in a meeting with more than three people, there is a fear to appear stupid or ask the most obvious question no one else is asking. Ask it, stupid questions clarify situations.

State The Obvious (when no one else is

Why? In busy environments, it is essential you have a centre point, an agreed place where you are operating or the problem you are tackling. Very often the obvious needs stating to align and drive projects and campaigns forward.

Think Bigger & Longer Term

Why? In the majority of businesses they are often only thinking of the next few weeks (aka the tactical level), businesses commonly operate with a few weeks cycle, you should know to drive a business forward you need a couple of smart future seers to think and plan while others action.

Remember the Focus approach to company strategy:

  • Think 5 years ahead
  • Plan 3 years ahead
  • Action 1 year ahead

Ask If Your Boss Is Ok 

Why? It is rare unless you have a direct or personal relationship that you ask the boss or your boss if they are ok. This will likely come as a shock to most leaders (they are just not used to being asked) however it helps to understand how your boss is feeling and if they need to talk or run things past you. Company culture and organisational health have to work for everyone from the least experienced to the most experienced and most senior.

Say “I Don’t Know, I’ll Come Back You”  

Why? Not knowing an answer is completely ok, not wanting to make something up or take a guess is completely acceptable and responsible. Often coming back with the right data, the correct information and being a few steps forward will ensure progress. Many businesses are powered by the quick answer, not the right answer or smart approach.

Looking to become a better or more thoughtful leader? Sign up to the Focus Newsletter

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Recent Focus Blog Articles To Help Your Business

Categories
Focus News

Are You Creating The Right Company Culture?

Let me ask you a couple of questions…

Have you held a recent Zoom or Teams call where there was an atmosphere?

Did it feel like tension was controlling the call? 

Did a seemingly trivial question create a ripple throughout your business?

If the answer to those questions is yes: you’re not alone. In today’s chaotic workplace, the feeling of a business – the company’s interactions and behaviours – have never been as important. 

If the answer is no: believe me, think again.
I’m willing to bet you have experienced these situations.

Maybe you’re just not seeing it or know what is happening within your business. You could be too disconnected from the business – running through obstacles versus tackling them. 

These are the feeling of a business.

And these feelings, or senses, are just a layer of what Company Culture is. Often high performing businesses have a healthy and guiding company culture where everyone can add value.

Company Culture is co-created, not dictated by the leadership. 

But Company Culture is more than the feeling.

It includes the vibe, the connections between colleagues, the frictions, the unexplainable that makes the teams click.

It includes unwritten expectations, cross-functional collaboration, the reduction of egos, and work pride.

Company Culture has several important components.

It encompasses…

  • The environment you set
  • The workplace (including remote working spaces)
  • The connections between the teams
  • The chemistry your colleagues have
  • The acceptable and unacceptable behaviours

The workplace is now more than ‘the place we all use to perform our work tasks’.

There is an updated version that must include working from home and remotely.

We need to know work can happen anywhere, that we are still the same company with the same objectives, and we can grow personally and professionally. 


The way we work is shifting.

The world is shifting, and so too is the workplace.

In this move towards a successful hybrid workplace, the right Company Culture becomes an unfair advantage for those who have embraced Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as much as IQ.

So take it! It will help you hire the best employees, retain your best performers and develop an award-winning business.

Here is a list of actions you can take to make your workplace and Company Culture work for the next three to five years: 

  • Co-create guiding principles that everyone signs up to; these will act as pillars and guide your decision making 
  • Create a company compass to help guide every decision, especially when you’re unavailable 
  • Enable personal development plans and have direct and actionable steps to take to let your team know how to be successful 
  • Build psychological safety by connecting colleagues 
  • Develop your employees’ EQ as much as IQ – the more compassion you build, the better 
  • Have an updated knowledge centre to keep everyone up to date on the what and the why 
  • Build a hybrid workplace where you book in and book out of the office – knowing where and when people will be working helps reduce stress and improve trust 
  • If there are issues, create ‘power half hours’ to clear the air and remove stumbling blocks. Healthy debate leads to more open and honest conversation, reduces problems and reconnects people  
  • Leverage asynchronous communications – be more deliberate in written communications vs having too many face-to-face or online meetings 
  • Build separate spaces for collaboration, for heads down (concentration), and to eat together 

This article was supplied to The Business Clubhouse magazine supporting Hitting The Wall Podcast I appeared on.

Listen To The Supporting Podcast:

A conversation with Danny Denhard of Focus Hitting the Wall

In this week’s episode I chat to Danny Denhard from Focus who’s on a mission to change the world of work. We discuss all things culture and leadership, digging into how businesses thrive when they put culture in the workplace first. You’ll learn about the power of creating personal eco-systems, and why enabling conflict in the workplace is a good thing. We talk about business being a badge of honour, prioritising culture before the workplace collapses, and why gossip is so important. Danny also takes through his personal manifesto for change, why being back-to-back is damaging productivity and whether the new habits we’ve created in the last 12 months are beneficial to people and businesses A fascinating discussion Weekly digest Of the best articles from the week you likely haven’t read – https://mustreads.substack.com Weekly inspiration every Monday on improving leadership – https://blog.focus.business/leaders Focus aka fixing the broken world of work Website https://www.focus.business/ Manifesto – https://www.focus.business/manifesto Connect on social media with me https://dannydenhard.com/linkedin https://dannydenhard.com/twitter

Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Self-Taught Manager Issues?

 This week’s anonymous career advice comes from “middle manager with middle manager problems”. 

Dear focus, I am a self-taught manager and I struggle managing my team and manage my manager’s expectations. What is the best way to develop my management style of managing my manager and managing my team? 

There is something quite important about understanding you can improve as a manager and improve managing those around you and those you come into contact with regularly. 

An issue managers face is typically being able to create time to manage, to do their own work and manage out managers, or at least their expectations. 

Middle management is the hardest area of management, it is often the time you learn most about the work environment, the way people are motivated and what expectations truly are. 

Personally, I have a belief that management is an art form that a tiny per cent of people have managed to crack, it evolves every day and with every interaction, so this advice won’t be perfect but will be a guide to help you improve as a manager and improve communications and expectation management.

Management Advice

Managing up 

Managing up is about relationships and time management, most senior managers are time-sensitive and struggle to have much time to dedicate themselves to one to ones or one to few. 

From experience key to managing up is to communicate the most important aspects and goings-on with clear thought and in digestible chunks. Being able to have an exec summary and a list of objectives and the ways you are thinking of tackling those objectives often puts you on the front foot. 

One issue to countermeasure is handling the requests and helping your manager to know when you can take more work on and when they need to take work off you. This happens with a relationship and having clear one to ones and clear communications around hurdles. 

One problem two solutions framework will help greatly with overbearing bosses as will risks vs benefits framework when going through and managing your communications. 

Managing Around 

Managing around you is an area many ignore as managing those managers in the same position as you are is an important part of your development and building a support network. 

Managing Your Team 

Managing your team is always a challenge, something that has been a help in my career is working out the individual motivations and the way people want to be managed and compare to how you manage them. Surprisingly you will find some are motivated by praise, others are motivated by money and some are motivated by knowing they can improve. 

Being able to have open conversations, help problem-solve together and collaboratively and speak on the right level will help you have better relationships and improve as a manager, being trusted and proving you have their best interests is vitally important. This comes with time and having their back and supporting them by knowing when they need you, when they want you and when they don’t know they require support and guidance. 

An important lesson: saying my door is always open and not being available is something that upsets and frustrates your team far more than you will know. 

More actions you can take to proactively progress as a manager:

  • Hire a professional coach 
  • Ask for internal mentors 
  • Look for external mentors – costs can vary but important to know how much an external mentor will improve and challenge you differently
  • Hire a personal development coach 
  • Join a manager group – some can be particularly useful, be wary of HiPPO bias or admin bias in big groups
  • Build a management group on slack, discord or on LinkedIn to improve your skills and be able to have voice anonymous issues. I have built a number of communities that have helped greatly  
  • Write a professional and personal SWOT – this will help you spot your own weaknesses and build on opportunities you and others see
  • Read lessons from leaders this was an important set of interviews from last summer
  • Bringing those up around you will improve you as a manager, consider is it time for a co-pilot
  • Ask to co-create leadership principles to roll out to your leadership teams if this does not exist and will enable you to understand different situations and working environments particularly if you have access to broader teams, for instance: tech vs non-tech management are completely different challenges.

Leadership is not a linear journey and often you learn more in challenges than you do when everything seems to be going well. 

Keep up on knowing you want to progress and being proactive in developing out your career. 

Finally, never discount free resources on YouTube, LinkedIn and don’t be afraid to invest in books. 

Have Your Own Question?

Our book recommendations can be found 

Focus book recommendations 

5 Business Books To Read 

Ride of a lifetime  – The Disney Chairman autobiography

The Netflix Company Culture Book aka No Rules Rules – – The Netflix CEO book autobiography


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Categories
Business Performance hybrid office

Designing The Hybrid Office Guide

It Is Time To Reshape Your Office & Default To Hybrid Thinking

This is a long form guide. If you would like to download as a PDF, select download below

It’s time, time to rethink how you reshape your office to improve your business.

Over the last year, the office for most has been empty, it has the traditional lines and banks of desks, it has the kitchen in the middle of the office and numerous meeting rooms with the management offices at the top of the office overlooking the empty banks of desks.

The Opportunity For Positive Change, It’s Not A Threat

This traditional model has to change, the banks of desks will have to be remodelled, more distance between the desks and people will have to be put in place, many meeting rooms will have to be reshaped, rethought and will require more space and fewer chairs.

The concept of it being all in the office has now gone, it will be a book in and book out, banks of desks per department is now going to be hotdesks and many departments will have to come to agreements on when it might be the tech day or could be the marketing day or the sales team on-site.

The office will have to be hybrid first, fully considered, the office will likely have to be shaped into an arena to cater to in person and on-screen performances for your teams to watch and participate via floating heads, audio, video, typed out Q&A.

Intentionality Is Key

The case for deliberate action has never been so clear, from owning communications channels, internal connections being built via specialist culture community management and crafted principles that are followed company-wide.

At focus, while our miss is to fix the broken world of work, we help companies with office and environment design and we have created a checklist to help guide you through reshaping your office.

Jump To Topic Areas

No More ‘My Desks’ 

Less personal desks – the end of having a desk per person for the midterm future has to be removed, this will mean:

  • fewer departmental banks of desks,
  • it will reduce the requirement for cabinets
  • Reducing clutter within the office

Booking in system
People are creatures of habit, booking in systems will have to be rolled out and spaces or specific desks will be reserved

All defaults to hot desks 
That is right this means colleagues will be mixing more and required to hot desk, this will see many departmental changes and businesses deliberately looking at how they can mix different teams who struggle to interact cross-functionally

New Rooms

Zoom rooms – all rooms will have to equipped with the best connections, microphones and acoustics clearly considered. Laptops will become the canonical source of communication with investments into headsets and headphones with microphones a basic requirement. There will be a place for telephone conferencing however we have to consider how we enable hard of hearing and deaf colleagues to be able to interact and be on the same playing field as everyone else.

Camera first rooms
The majority of rooms will need to have camera’s added and easily sync with your internal network to enable more interactive sessions, there will be more arguments and fights over large meetings rooms and the conference room.

Conference Room Amendments 

Multiple screens vs one screen 
Typically most meetings rooms only have one screen, in the hybrid world this potentially will have to increase to multi-screen rooms or multiple inputs into multiple screens, this will enable more interaction, more interactive presentations and more collaborative efforts

Interactive panels and boards 
Despite the raise of whiteboard features and tools like Muro, there will need to be more interactive panels, more boards and better surfaces to have more open problem solving and sketching sessions. Product and Marketing teams will be requesting this currently

Holographic presentations 
Yes holograms will become a staple in in-office presentations and stand-ups.
Being able to present as if you were in person is going to incredibly important and something businesses of all sizes will have to plan for. AR will be the best way of researching and offering holograms currently.

360-degree cameras 
There are many products on the market that offer voice tracking and speaker tracking, being able to track someone walking or pacing and presenting is going to be essential, considering investing in a number of these for large conferences or for all hands, townhalls and product demos.

Best in class microphones 
A hugely important takeaway since working remote-first is:
Audio is vitally important for attention, being heard and getting the message across.
Businesses should invest in high-quality microphones, audio continues to be vitally important alongside video and connectivity quality.

New Tech

More Tablets – Tablets will likely see another resurgence in popularity, this is down to the better quality camera, headphone jack and the portability of tablets, alongside being able to use iPads as a second screen or a dedicated conferencing tool. Consider how you leverage tablets and how you can create better interactions between colleagues when on video calls and presenting.

Self-cleaning Tech
We have seen large leaps in self-cleaning tech over the last twelve months, with the importance of clean and sanitised workspaces there will be a requirement to ensure areas are cleaner, sanitised more often and some emphasis should be placed back on the employees to clean as they go. Employee cleanliness and hygrine have never been so important to the health of the organisation.

Reducing Crowding 

Dedicated systems to remove crowding 
Bringing awareness of the density of people and groups forming safely is of the highest importance for safety and awareness. Investing in dedicated systems to remove crowding and built-up areas of staff is critical to your staff’s health but also their wellness and welfare. This will also reduce anxiety levels and fear around returning to the office safely.

Shift patterns 
This is an area many leaders have not fully considered and is an area where there is opportunity. With improved asynchronous communications, there should be less reliance on every staff member having to work at the same time. We have seen more flexibility can work and shift patterns allow more flexibility in travelling, in completing work and being a parent. If someone is a morning person enable these colleagues to start earlier and finish earlier, if others perform better in the afternoon or evenings, offer a way for more flexible patterns. Teams will have to be responsible to own this by team or by department however guidance from the leadership functions will add weight and importance to offering more flexible work patterns.

Team and department areas
There are going to be important sessions where teams will want to be in the same location at the same time, we will see that this instantly increases footfall into the office for on-sites, this also sees footfall increase for off-sites. This will have to be managed and organised by the booking system and be discussed for specific days for x or y department. This is not an easy negotiation however a vital one to plan for.  

Connectivity 

Mobile apps purpose-built for brainstorming and ideation – There are many elements of work that are traditionally in person, brainstorming and ideation has a buzz and feeling connected to it, connecting the hybrid workforce is going to be essential particularly with apps and software enabling better brainstorming and ideation.

Connected whiteboards 
Whiteboards are typically dumb, they are written on and wipe off, requiring to take a picture, upload and often redesign or type up will not be optimal in the hybrid workplace, investing in connected whiteboards will help improve teamwork and reduce friction between projects.

Best connecting WiFi and 5G 
The office is going to have far more devices connected to the network than before, despite an estimated 40% returning to the office, there will be more devices connecting and taking up more bandwidth and sharing more video and audio, it is important to improve your connectivity and consider if 5G is an option where WiFi can be challenging to install.

Kitchen Remodelled 

The kitchen is a key component to the success of an office, the kitchen is a meeting area, a quick catch up and connection area and often important discussion stations. With fewer people in the office, this will mean you will be ordering less milk, fewer caffeinated beverages and reducing waste, this all has an impact on the way the office environment feels and will require better management.

Screens in the kitchen?
There is a school of thought that screens will have to be placed everywhere to enable spontaneous conversation, this could be true however more screens will mean trust will be lowered as surveillance will seem higher. Consider how you encourage and enable the kitchen to be reshaped to encourage safe conversation and bringing in other colleagues where applicable. The kitchen will be a vital open space where colleagues can reconnect, while we will be in phase one of returning to the office it is essential to manage flow in and around the kitchen with safe distancing. There is an opportunity to learn from companies such as Pixar who opened up and expanded their kitchen and dining areas to encourage more moments of connection and areas to break out in.

Interactive Spaces

Less private phone booths more video conferencing breakouts – dedicated private phone booths were installed in many businesses to enable private calls and head down work to happen, we are likely to have to rethink this space and add in more video-based conferencing into these booths. This is an additional investment however with many businesses going to have to rely on video-based chat this is an area to consider for space and for productivity.

Is there still room for in-house coffee baristas?
For many businesses, co-working spaces and agencies this will mean the barista will likely have to reduce hours or be on strict management of crowding and introduce an ordering system.
Despite the role and the importance of connecting over hot beverages, this is one of the organisation’s perks that might have to sacrifice.

The Need For More

More mobile apps – Mobile apps are the ultimate convenience. Simple to learn, simple to use, simple to update will be key to win. It is likely businesses will need to be on more devices with better apps to enable quick interactions, quick requests, booking in and booking out of the office. WeWork and other co-working and building management did a good job with their apps, it will be good to map out all requests and the elements raised in this guide and hiring a developer to be able to connect into your main software to help to provide an employee view, a manager view, a department view and a company view.

More in-floor sensors 
We should be clear the in-floor sensors are to improve knowledge around density, reduce crowding and understand if there are times or parts of the office that have more footfall than there should be. In-floor sensors should be clearly called out to staff to make them aware of this change and be clear for the reasons why.

Operated Turnstiles 
If you have an office of over 15 people it can be difficult to manage flow in between the office and into the office, while apps and management software will help with understanding how many people are in the office if you have couriers, guests and small events happening, an operated turnstile will help control this and reduce any risk of too many people in the office or in lifts etc.

Foot-controlled lifts / elevators 
Buttons are over-rated, right? Foot controls are going to be important to reduce the surfaces touched by hands. Adding a foot control will likely be costly however many landlords will be making plans to roll these out. Be proactive and reduce the friction as early as possible.

Health Consciousness 

Well-Being First – Whilst we have lived through the last twelve to fifteen months in many locations across the world, we have seen the common cold and seasonal flu reduce down. Density and people connecting spreads gems, it is essential to consider how you have a well-being first environment. This means anyone who is feeling unwell, from a cold to having a higher temperature to having other symptoms they have to work from home. Likewise, mental health days will be vitally important to be called out and actually used without any sigma.

Any sniffles or sneezes will be treated differently than before, it is important to address early on and talk through why it is important to use the hybrid model if you have anything that resembles a cold. Many may consider this a step too far, however, for everyone’s peace of mind and to reduce any peer to peer friction there should be guidelines put in place.

More UV lights – UV lights have been used to combat numerous issues and bugs, there will be a demand for UV lightening and UV cleaning materials, it should be an area you research and then potentially invest in. A number of cleaning firms have started to invest heavily in UV lights and specific UV lights for high duty cleaning.

Real Estate Demands

AKA Outdoor Space A Premium 

More outdoor space – Many countries are taking different approach however outdoor spaces and meeting areas will be prime real estate if your lease is coming to an end it will be important to look for an office or offices that include more open and outdoor spaces. One perk many offices may find is that the office is close to parks and will see the benefit of outdoor meetings, walk and talk meetings and a chance for more outdoor sessions. If you are in a position to consider a new office there are a number of new real estate demands to consider:

  • Roof terraces 
  • Courtyards
  • Gardens
  • Large balconies
  • Outside coffee and food carts

Good luck with remodelling your office and preparing your team for this essential move for your business. Refocusing the office as a safer, more open space will help your business to win.

Want to download and share? Download below

The office as an arena concept is going to be an important read.

Another important follow-up read is reducing anxiety returning to the office


This guide will be updated over time to consider new guidelines and studies, however, it is important to note you should follow local and national legal guidelines as these vary from town to town, city to city, state to state.

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 44

Risk Vs Benefit Framework

April 12th 2021

Dear leaders,

In my previous leaders letters, frameworks have been some of the most popular newsletters and most replied to newsletters. 

This week I wanted to introduce you to different pros vs con’s list I have used for a number of years that helped me to make better decisions, professionally and personally. 

Risk vs Benefit framework enables you to breakdown big decisions and questions in a repeatable framework.

RisksBenefit


  
   
  


You have two options.

Are you pen and pad or type and table? 

Pen and Pad: Write down on paper, half an a4 sheet, risks one side, benefit the other. 

Type and Table: Or in a table, excel, sheets, notion, apple apps and write down and explain in detail. 

Risk – Anything you face as a risk, anything that could be put at risk or a big red flag that needs to be called out. 

Benefit – Anything that will benefit you, the team, the company.

The more detail you include, the better in helping you to understand the first, second and third-order effects of your decision and the better decisions you ultimately make.

Simple yet effective. 

I tend to keep these risks vs benefit tables and revisit, optional but connected to micro-moments and making better long term decisions.  

This week, take a look at the risk vs benefit framework and consider how you will make better, more informed decisions. 

Have a great week and thanks for the recent replies to the newsletters.

Danny Denhard

3 Recent Must Reads

  1. Is it time for an off-site?
  2. Culture As A Service Movement
  3. Why The World Of Work Is Broken
Categories
Business Performance

Reducing Anxiety & Returning To The Office Checklist

We are about to see many companies ask their teams to start planning for the return to the office.

Some large banks and institutions have already asked for their teams to be back in the office full time. In many businesses, a return to the office is something many teams are dreading and have had many personal changes since March 2020.

There is a high percentage of anxious people who have fear about returning to the office or actually want to stay working at home or move to a flexible and the next normal, the hybrid office (our free hybrid office ebook is a must-read).

It is now time for businesses to become flexible and ensure work works for everyone and more flexibly.

If you are anxious or feeling concerned about this, there are a number of steps you (as an employee) can take & questions to ask. 

Managers and senior leaders will have concerns and be nervous, particularly with the extra responsibility they would have had to take on and now understand how they manage a team in a hybrid set up.

At Focus as we are on a mission to fix the broken world of work, it is essential we break our recommendations down for both leaders of a business and the staff members who may be nervous and have anxiety about returning to the office and how to get the best for both parties.

For Leaders For Staff 
Have a detailed plan to share for the return to the office plan If you have not received a plan, ask for the work in progress plan and timeline of when you are likely to have to return
Demonstrate with imagery and videos of how the office has been amended to include more space and how you are limiting the attendance in the office.

Include capacity numbers and links to the software you will be using for booking in and booking to work remotely
Ask how the business has taken the steps to make the office have more space, more distance and more protection, alongside how to liaise with your manager to enable remote work
Have a dedicated HR stream for those who require more specific requests or have had their commitments change or been impacted by COVIDLiaise directly with HR on how they are going to support you in your personal situation, especially if you have been disconnected from your manager or team
Prepare to offer a dedicated long term mental health and mental wellbeing helpline(s) and support groups Ask for details of mental wellbeing support being offered by your firm.

If this is not yet an option ask HR how you could go about claiming sessions back until there is a formal policy  
Have one policy for why certain people or teams are returning to the office Ask for the workings out around the staggered return to the office policy and why you and your team need to return
Show how you have invested and improved the technology set up, more connective equipment, better audio and more camera’s to connect in the hybrid office.

The office as an arena is an important concept to consider and share internally.
Ask questions to understand the steps taken to improve technology to help remote and in-office teams to be one team, not have an a team (in office team) & b team (those working remotely)
Set up regular Q&A sessions to keep teams up to date with changes and reduce stressKeep a track of important follow-up milestones and questions and ask for regular updates from the management team
Show the hybrid guidelines and the principles for communications and how to be successful in the new hybrid office.

Have principles around informing colleagues that you will be in the office or working remotely  
Ask to understand if there is a way to book in and out of the office and software. Many software still do not talk to each other have an agreed status on instant messenger tools to enable colleagues to know you will be in or out of the office

Ask if there are a minimum or maximum you can work from home or work from the office
Have a decision document to show how decision were made and offer transparency to discuss through Ask questions at the decision level and ask questions to calm down your fears.

If you are a people manager look to collate questions from the team and answer with fellow decision-makers
Offer back to the office training sessions online before the return to the office.

Many system and processes will have changed and it is important to align everyone
Ask what has changed and what are the requirements for training sessions.

How long they will be and the benefit of these sessions.

Online training and online zoom sessions have caused fatigue, explaining the why is really important here
Reduce anxiety by having a traffic light system of those who have reservations or commitments and treat as a way to help manage anxiety and flow into the office. Ask what the requirements are for:

– Red (highly concerned). Requires one to one discussions. Will require a personalised run-through of the amendments, the process that will be followed and discussions with the department lead to reduce fears and consider how highly anxious people can return in the near future.

– Amber (concerned), what would the requirements be and how can your manager or department lead (alongside HR) help to reduce any concerns

– Green (ready to return)

Best of luck with your return to the office plan. Happily get in touch directly if you need consultancy.

Important Related Reads

  1. Will an off-site reconnect my team?
  2. Planning the post pandemic return to the office
  3. The culture as a service movement
  4. Recording micro moments and micro-events
  5. It is time for management pods to improve leadership teams