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Focus News hybrid office

The Future State Of Work Podcast

This week Nick and I discussed the future state of work, obviously, this is very topical with the return to the office and the chatter around how Basecamp has changed their policy and saw backlash, how Google are not giving clear communication to their employees and how the likes of Twitter, IBM and Slack are suggesting you can work from wherever you like vs having to be in one HQ or a satellite office.

With so much of this discussion being relevant to Focus, I wanted to share this specific episode for you to read and share with your executive team.

On the podcast we discuss:

  • The hybrid office and why it is the future
  • The relationship with Company culture and why hybrid is going to be a gift and a challenge for so many HR teams and poor managers
  • How company performance is going to thrive or drop depending on how good your management skills are
  • Why company strategy, is essential to making work work, and hybrid being a driver for positive change in strategy

The future can be hard to predict, however, Nick and I have broken down what and how as much as possible for businesses of all sizes.

This podcast helps you understand how you can overcome some challenges, how to be smarter with hybrid, what your options might be and how to learn from big companies like Salesforces approach to feedback loops and maybe on the other side, Coinbase and their move to close their HQ.

If podcasts are not your thing, happily read the full transcript below.

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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 47

Virtual Interviews & Hybrid Hiring Tips 

3rd May 2021,

Dear Leaders, 

Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a number of businesses that are in a good position to grow and invest in their staff and ramp up hiring again. 

I have been lucky to interview a number of great candidates virtually, it was something I experienced before I created Focus, as a c-suite candidate you have a large number of rounds of interviews, with numerous committees, the experience was long, complicated and challenging for both parties, especially with time zones. 

Although I have not perfected the art yet, here are a few ways you can improve virtual interviews and hybrid hiring to improve the experience for both you and your candidates. 

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 ‚ÄėMy Desks‚Äô 

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
Anonymous Career Advice

Will An Off-Site Help My Team Connect?

This week, we have had a couple of questions around how will team and business leaders get their teams to collaborate together or will specific activities help bring teams more closely together. 

Dear Focus, my team haven’t spent any time together for over a year, will an offset help them to connect? 

For many, the last year has been a year where many have struggled to keep in touch with their colleagues and connect at a deeper level vs when in person.

As humans we are built to connect at a deeper level, small talk and social cues are essential to us to understand where we are and if we are safe. 

Knowing how you connect peer to peer helps bonds form, herding to happen around collective goals and then tribes to form.

What we lost when remote is the connective layers of relationships, we need to start repairing this, creating events where we can connect firstly as people, but then importantly as teams, departments and companies.

For the most part of the last twelve to fifteen months: survival and sanity have been the name of the game. 

High performing teams can take up to and over six months to connect without any changes. We have a year of change to address.

We have had to put ourselves first and ensure we have a job, we have some security and we get through 2020 and 2021 as safely as possible. 

Off-sites are often a brilliant way to connect a small group of people, typically a quarterly event is a great way to organise and create alignment around common goals and important bonds you wouldn‚Äôt get to know outside of an organised event. 

Unfortunately, the side many do not talk about is some offsites can be challenging, often hard work and many around the table will not want to open up and trust can be lost, all of these things need to considered and engineered to encourage openness, airing issues and talking through issues. 

There are obviously a few questions you will have to answer: 

  1. Is this going to be safe? 
  2. I haven’t been around a group of people in a year, can you ease teams into this? 
  3. I don’t want to time with these people, why should we?  
  4. Can we not do this remotely?
    Or in hybrid? 

It is important you answer the first three directly, I will help to guide you with 4.

Be Deliberate: Being hybrid will be challenging, you will always seem like a B team player when remote, technology is still not ideal for remote people in offsites, it can however be done by ensuring you have the best tech available, they are asked their opinion and you have signs and a chair to help guide the hybrid event. 

Two More Factors: There are two core factors you should consider when looking at off-site or on-site. 

The first is to connect the team first and then let work talk take over, you will need a schedule but allow it to be more flexible than previous off-sites and have an agenda and pre-reading everyone reads and provides feedback on. 

The second factor is connecting teams around delivering a dedicated workstream that is just for that group. The project is important to achieve a sense of achievement together and build a connection to winning something as a group. 

Wider Company Connections: An off-site or series of off-sites will help form a company subculture, a team bond or leadership team bond, it won’t answer the bigger issue of addressing a company-wide cultural connection issue.

Doing something grand and reviewing strategy will be essential however these have long lead and success time and connecting to a project that you can win around will be key to connecting.

So the TLDR answer is an offsite will be essential when safe to reconnect in person and it will provide you with a way to connect colleagues together.

The important element to success is being able to connect around the campfire, around food, stories and experiences.

Good luck and enjoy planning those on-site and off-sites.

Remember the office as an arena is a way to think about organisational design and success.

Here’s how we can help you.

Categories
Company Culture

The Culture As A Service Movement

2020 and 2021 have been hard, extremely hard.

It has been some of the toughest mental challenges we have had to face as a globalised population.

We have seen many teams just survive, we have seen a few do well and a tiny percentage thrive the last 15 months.

In recent weeks we have seen huge investment into the software side of company culture.

This is great news.

Human First Hybrid Company Culture vs Software First Culture 

(Company) Culture as a service or CaaS for short is an area so many businesses are going to have to look at in the hybrid world of work. 

Company Culture (aka organisational health) has often been seen as an important and unique aspect (a USP to some) to many businesses success and if you ask a mid manager to senior exec they will make a comment of how important company culture is and why it is central to their company goals. 

This has not always been true and often a crafted narrative companies use to attract staff or manage internal expectations.

A Reminder: Perks Are Not Culture

This is the same way perks were confused as company culture from tech firms and have failed to keep colleagues happy once these were removed or rightly seen through. 

As we are on a mission to fix the broken world of work, Company culture is one of our core pillars, Focus have called out the importance of company culture and drive for organisations to add as much weight to company culture to the one company-wide overarching strategy.  

As we are planning the post pandemic return to the office it vital we understand the right steps to take forward.  

In the hybrid office world, we have seen the culture shift, we have seen virtual first communications and virtual first connections disconnect many teams and even the closest of colleagues. 

Deliberate & Hybrid 

In the hybrid office future, where the office will turn into a performance centre and be seen as an arena, it is clear that we have to be even more deliberate, we have to be deliberate in reconnecting teams, we have to be deliberate in connecting teams to their departments and co-build the right hybrid environment for cross-functional collaboration for your company to succeed from the short term to the long term. 

Sharing Moments 

The sharing of moments, the unplanned collaboration, the unplanned problem solving and getting around the whiteboard has been missed by many however in this new world of work we have to make these occurrences as seamless as they would in person and as hybrid as possible. 

Company Culture As A Service 

Company culture requires two things,
1/ willingness to want to address the issues and
2/ taking internal and external ownership of a company culture issue or truly co-building a company culture that you are proud of. 

Software Second  

The right software can help however it is imperative to understand that the right human-first approach is taken and then the right tools and software are introduced to complement connection, understand a deeper level to surveys and engagement feedback, providing an opportunity to address any underlying issues or the foundation to improve company culture. 

Listen To & Hear From Everyone

Leadership, HR and staff of all levels need to be heard, have open and transparent conversations and treated as equal partners. This is the way you build connective culture and not a series of subcultures,
“the we are always going to outperform many solo me‚Äôs”.¬†

Software and tools are often the go to procured solution to company culture however the right internal and external agencies or culture consultants will guide you and your company forward in the right approach for your company and your current and future employees. 

Culture Is More, It’s Deeper

On-demand Culture and (CaaS) culture as a service are going to see huge areas of growth, many businesses have already thought about the importance of culture but allowed it to peter out or implode in the work from home experiment.

It is essential that business place company culture and strategy on the same level and plan an intentional and deliberate plan of attack for improving and building company culture. 

Tools will always be important, software is central to 95% of our days but our people, the beahviours we co-create, the chemistry and connections we build peer to peer and the environment we build and nurture helps to shape company culture and success. 

Remember when making a choice between an internal team and an external company or software, you remember collaboration is key to success, hiring the right partner for the quick wins is important but company culture will take a long term partnership, a dedicated and flexible plan and most importantly everyone to be on the same page, it cannot be dictated to or from the 10 bad HiPPOs sitting around the conference room table. 

Categories
Focus News

Announcing Keynote Presentation At The Future Of Work Online Conference

Great news, I will be a keynote speaker at The Future Of Work conference.

I will be covering the future of work and the future of the workplace (hint hint – the Hybrid workplace).

When: June 10th 2021 – 11.00 – 15.00

Where: Fully remote

Find out more here or register here to hear me and Bruce speak..

Important Reading With The Future Of The Workplace

Categories
Business Performance Company Culture

The New Hybrid Office – The Arena

At the start of the year, I spoke at a number of virtual events, at The Future Of Work & Workforce presentation I introduced the concept of the next office, the arena. Although the office had performance based work and many performed for their audience at work, we are seeing the shift to the hybrid workplace.

The hybrid future is going to be a forcing function to revamp the office, changing the HQ from a traditional office, to the office 3.0 – the arena.

The Office Was:

The agreed place to perform a series of work tasks. 
To improve the performance and revenues of the company.
A place to develop and advance your career. 

The Arena Is:

The place to bring people together with a shared connection or love for something. 

A place: 

  • To connect 
  • To collaborate 
  • To guide 
  • To perform  
  • To entertain 
  • To put on a show  
  • Enable (safe) collaboration  

These are essential elements of contrast but also of similarity, many of these elements were seen in the office, they were not clear elements of the office much thought of or understand.
These elements are going to essential parts of embracing the hybrid future and enabling success for all staff whether they are working in the office, a designated satellite office or working remotely or working from home.

Why The Shift From Office To Arena 

  • We will need to be able to collaborate in small groups in bigger spaces 
  • Mandatory based trust 
  • We have seen remote & WFH work & be productive 
  • There will be a demand to offer flexibility 
  • We will need to be able to create presentations that are interactive, enables in-person and remote presentations with the same experience & interaction 
  • Enable shows like in an arena meaning tribal surroundings of safety alongside ensuring you have the best equipment for streaming high-quality audio and high-quality video – for live broadcasts and on-demand replays. This is close to live concerts streamed or sporting events broadcasted 

In the rest of the actionable presentation, I discuss the importance of the office, the importance of the hybrid workplace and how you build for the future by amending the office into an office as an arena for people and business successes.

I include tools to use, ways to think and concepts to consider when approaching the office as an arena and building for future successes.

The Actions To Take:

  • Adapt your office into an arena, build-out safer larger spaces in existing or new offices, invest in technology; video, audio, connectivity and purpose-built software not just forcing the current software to do the job¬†
  • Invest in better IT software and hardware, invest in to better microphones, better webcams or connecting smartphones to work laptops¬†
  • Value others time – be deliberate in reducing grabbing or stealing others time¬†
  • Adopt principles, write internal memos, share & explain interactively i.e screen records etc¬†
  • If you are large enough consider building satellite offices to enable onsite, not offsites¬†
  • Build out hybrid offices and look at membership to offices so it is flexible and safe, that offers choices to your teams¬†
  • Invest in tools developed for hybrid offices, virtual HQ‚Äôs, project and campaign based tools that enable video recordings, screen recordings via tools like Loom¬†
  • It is essential to bring teams together by building stronger bonds and connections¬†
  • Help departments connect internally through better relationship building and being more deliberate with asynchronous communications – deliberate > over-communicating
  • Help cross-functional teams understand objectives & create the right kick-off meetings and engaging updates

If you would help redesigning your office or converting your office into an arena and develop your environment, happily get in touch.

Want A Copy Of The Office As An Arena Presentation?

For a copy of the Office 3.0 Office As An Arena PDF please click the button below to request a copy.

Welcome to building the future, The Hybrid Future.

Danny Denhard

Categories
Business Performance

21 for 2021

2021 is just around the corner and many companies are deep in the planning cycle.

I have 21 predictions to help you and your company for 2021 and beyond.

The predictions include company culture, mental health support, building and adapting to the hybrid office, company strategy and experience-based on-sites vs offsites.

  1. Company Culture is taken seriously and treated a dedicated recurring workstream throughout the year not just quarterly
  2. Staff happiness and development will be treated as business-critical. Businesses have to evolve away from sending more pulse-based surveys into more actionable and trackable methods. 
  3. Culture community managers are formally hired or existing staff member moved into the role 
  4. Company culture because a pillar in company strategy 
  5. Flexible schedules vs traditional 09.00 to 17.00.
    There will be a fundamental shift away from one schedule fits all, this will means more and better flexibility for teams, departments, offices and companies. Flexible will mean communication has to improve and calendar management is taught. 
  6. The hybrid workforce is built out and developed, hybrid requires real investment from leadership teams, the staff at all levels and tech investment and positive shift away from forcing in-person work into the existing tools 
  7. Remote first continues – while 20% of staff work in remote locations not from home. This will be key for managers of all levels to understand and build out flexible tools and methodologies to support their teams and departments.
    in 2021, businesses have to work out how to manage this safely and work with external providers and tools to manage this and support staff safely. 
  8. Satellite office spaces are scoped out Рcentralised HQ will be essential but smaller geo focused areas will need to be scoped out and offered to truly answer all of the requirements in the modern work environment. 
  9. Office Design: On sites will replace traditional off sites – on-site in the office, reconnecting with the space (the office), the identity and the people will be vital, off-sites were often used as a break away from the small four walls, now many will need their feet in their base. There will be a need for training and workshop consultancy to ensure high quality outputs
  10. On sites will be arranged every month to replace poorly co-ordinated video calls 
  11. Experience-based on-sites and off-sites will be introduced, vs sitting around a large conference room table, we will see more outdoor spaces utilised  
  12. Small project(s) on sites and QBR will be selected to take place over away from video, where permitted safely.  
  13. Remote offsite sessions and more traditional team-building getaways will be selected to bring teams closer together. Leadership teams will create bi-annual getaways to address strategy 
  14. The virtual HQ will become popular for a small set of tech-minded companies. Colleagues building their own avatar within a virtualised HQ where you meet in the kitchen, in breakout spaces and 
  15. Video calls are not optimised for more than three participants Рwe will rooms and gestures to talk move forward 
  16. The move away from ‘chat first’ based apps to asynchronous communication starts to develop¬†
  17. Phone calls Рwalk and talks replace recurring video calls. Typically for one to ones and meetings / stands not requiring screens or multiple screens 
  18. Gesture-based apps are integrated into chat (Slack, Teams, Workplace) tools to add benefit to presenting remotely 
  19. Pre-recorded video’s, pre-recorded audio will become commonplace vs long-form written content, pre-recorded video will become one way we reduce reliance on poor presentations and multiple voices and questions over video 
  20. Mental health support and large double-digit investment by companies into external partners and apps 
  21. Colleagues will require more emotional support and have formal times where they can take burnout and mental health time. This requires many companies to adapt and change their HR policies 

For many leadership teams, 2021 can feel daunting and uncertain, however, by building the right plan of action and running through these questions will enable you and your company to succeed and reduce the stress and anxiety that will seep through your company.

Happily reach out to discuss the future.

Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 13th November

In the second instalment of Focus Friday, I recommend five actionable tips around company culture, the Hybrid Office, preplanning training and organising an internal conference.

  1. Remote company culture has reduced collaboration and communication between strong links in businesses. Encourage more collaboration and informal chat around projects and themes.
    Read how remote work has impacted company culture.  
  2. With Christmas Parties and traditional annual celebrations being limited or removed this year.
    Encourage a Secret Santa or present exchange. This will boost morale and encourage people to get to know one another. 
  3. Hybrid Office Preparation РStart preparing plans for the Hybrid Office. Work with your colleagues to understand when they will need to be in the office, when off-sites will likely need to happen, when team onsite’s can happen safely and what tech tools and software you will need to improve the experience
  4. Plan Training – Something that is always discussed and added into a budget line but rarely is planned out effectively. Your junior to mid-level staff will have limited exposure to planning, budget management and forecasting, set up training for these staff and create a culture of sharing important business skills. This not only improves team connections and a culture of sharing and training it increases the quality of the next level of management coming through your organisation.
  5. Introduce Management Pods – In this week’s blog, I suggested a different concept in tackling poor management team connections and a way to develop collections ties and departmental connections.

If you have any tips you would like to share or contribute to, happily email me below

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 10 – Smarter Not Harder

Smarter Not Harder‍

10/08/2020

Dear Leaders,
I trust you had a good weekend and look forward to making incremental improvements this week.

Working smarter not harder is something you have likely heard. Working smarter has always been something I have been an advocate of, however until a few years ago I wasn’t sure what it truly meant.A personal story: I would go into the office earlier than almost everyone, I would have back to back meetings and book time in for deep work.

I would then work many evenings and wonder why I would be shattered and feel like I didn’t deliver my best. What I realised over time was; I was working hard but not as smartly as I could have been. I started to review the schedules I had, the times I was working and the slots where I was productive or not.

I would review my calendar weekly and then categorise the time into themes and work out which meetings could be reduced, could be removed, or could be delegated.

There were meetings that were unproductive and I sort out to address these. Yes, this can sound like extra work but the upfront effort to save your time and sanity is worth its weight in gold. I would make more time for when I knew I was more productive, I would schedule times in with the teams that suited them better and would save some energy as I worked for an American business, mid to late afternoons meant you were due in important management meetings and were supposed to be designed for decision making – these meetings have a higher cognitive load and can be taxing.  

The hybrid office is going to suit many people, there were times where I would work from home in the mornings and dial into “lite’ meetings and then come in for team based meetings or deeper more immersive meetings that worked better in person.

I would book in mentor sessions and catch up coffees where I knew I could recharge and reenergise before lunch. I know personally I get an energy boost from mentoring and could rely on them to act as a refresher.Working harder than everyone is often something you will hear an athlete say in interviews, or I would out work everyone, yes it can work, however, most athletes will tell you coming towards retirement they came close to burn out. Sir Chris Hoy‚Äôs explains high performance and the shift in his career really well on this Podcast.

In more recent years, when athletes met sports psychologists, the psychologist would highlight they were running their body and their mind into the ground.

They needed to be smarter with their efforts. The business world is ruthless, time is precious but keeping your sanity in check and knowing how you work and when you work best is incredibly important. This is just one of the many reasons why I built out Focus.

There are going to be times especially when working remotely that feel impossible, or you need to be across every project, however, taking a step back or planning a 30 minute slot to plan, review and optimise is going to save you hours per week.

This is part of the growth mindset that I highly recommend you become a follower of. Matthew Syed has many books that explains the growth mindset. His book is part of my most recommended business book post I wrote recently.  In lockdown, on average, a recent study has found our workdays are 48.5 minutes longer than they were previously. This isn‚Äôt harder or smarter, it‚Äôs just longer!

This week focus on: Stepping up as a leader, lead by example, help those around you to use their time more wisely, enable colleagues or your team to work smarter. Something you can work through is surveying the company around their meeting habits and seeing if they plan and how they review their week.

Thanks and have a great week.
Danny

PS. Here is a quick Matthew Syed Video explaining Growth vs Fixed Mindset