Covid 19 – Life in lockdown and beyond

Post by 
Mark Clark
May 29, 2020

Your People - Helping them

A Shared concern

During this period of uncertainty and concern for our families, friends, colleagues and clients we need to acknowledge that this is an awful situation and it’s fine to feel concerned, uneasy and even scared. As difficult as it may be, we need to try and stay positive and think to the future!

We need to plan for when this is all over and we can look back with sadness, relief and pride in our NHS and Supporting Services.  Making good decisions now, learning from events and planning-for-the-future is what our colleagues and clients need from their leaders.

This will end but we need to work together to act now - make the best of today and prepare for better tomorrows, for all.

What can we do?

In simple terms, we need to take some actions now and we need to plan for post Covid-19.

What to do now – this is not meant to be an all-encompassing list of tasks, but an aide to change mindsets:

  • How to make it work – for all?
  • How to ensure full engagement with colleagues & teams?
  • How to use the “right” technology in the right way?
  • How to think about our clients – their needs and how we can assist?

Planning for post Covid-19 – let’s not wait until “lockdown” is relaxed (who knows when that will be!) or we are all back in the office (which may be a long time in the future, or never) let’s think now about “What Next”:

  • How to handle the holiday bow-wave?
  • How to gather learnings now to drive future changes?
  • How to benefit our client relationships – recognise benefit / improvements / learnings?
  • How to identify commercial opportunities – e.g. do we need all our office space?
  • How to recognise WFH could benefit the planet!
  • How to develop our thinking – new ideas, challenges and opportunities

Why should you be interested?

Many of you, across all sectors, will have responded to the Covid-19 situation by “making remote working work for you”, some may have gone further.  Many will have been prepared, some will not have been prepared. Most will have been concerned as to effectiveness and efficiency of Working Remotely, for some this is business as usual.

For many it has been the need that has driven the reaction, for others it has created opportunities. No matter the catalyst the results could be hugely beneficial:

  • Increased Productivity – initial feedback has been extremely positive
  • Client Focus – more time available to get closer to clients (using video streaming) – they have time and you have time
  • Increased Control – surprising many understand that they now have better visibility of their colleague’s performance / productivity / quality of work
  • Improved Work Life Balance – colleagues spending less time travelling, more time with family (can be good and not so good), more time working and not being interrupted, more time to think and add value!
  • Reduced Costs – operating expensive offices, use of remote working tools, travel downtime etc.
  • Risk Mitigation – we should all be better prepared for if/when remote working is next needed on this scale

Is this a time to “wait out the storm” or to drive forward, seek opportunities, work with your clients and prepare for the sunlight?

People teams / HR functions – Things to do …. Now!

Remote Working / Working from Home (WFH) – How to make it work for your colleagues:

  • Provide Ways of Working Advice e.g. Walk-about every 20 mins, Plan-your-day, Mix Things Up, Fresh Air
  • Working facilities – consider “Wellness” e.g. desk, chair, lighting, screen, keyboard (armrest), HSE Outline
  • People & Families have different needs – “9 to 5” is no longer the norm. Flexible hours can help everyone!

Communications – How to maintain / improve engagement / involvement of all! Have you established:

  • How to engage with colleagues / teams during “lockdown” / Remote Working?
  • E.g. Daily “chat / water cooler” Sessions & Regular Team Catch-up via Zoom / MS Teams etc.
  • How to share best practice – what works, what doesn’t work, what may improve your working environment
  • How to gather, collate and share learnings – during and after the “lockdown”
  • FAQ location on your intranet (or equivalent)

Technology – What to use? / What works? / What’s available?

  • Communications / Team Effectiveness – do you use Zoom / MS Teams – How well do they work for you?
  • Have you liaised with I.T.? – Is any other technology available / required / recommended? Do your colleagues require – “How to Guides”?

Customer /Clients – Do you know how your clients are coping? Can you help them? Time to build Partnerships!

  • How are your colleagues connecting with their clients? Are they sharing experiences?
  • Do your clients need help? Can you help or can you tell them who can? Can you share – “Best Practice”

Now Summary

  • Make Remote Working Work: H2 Work from home – stay healthy – Have the right tools & environment – Prevention is better than the cure!
  • It’s GREAT to Talk: H2 Engage with your people – Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
  • Tech Can Help: Have the right tools – Use the right tools – Technology can help you feel part of humanity!
  • Your Clients are People Too: Engage with your customers – they are going through this just like you!

People teams / HR functions – Things to consider for post Covid-19

Holidays – No-one will take their holiday during the “lockdown”, will they?

  • How do you plan to handle volume of outstanding holiday? Holiday destinations “may” be restricted for some time – so still no holidays
  • Eventually – potential for Big Peak of requests, so:
  • H2 Manage Demand – can you cope with so many people on holiday?
  • Can you offer Carry Forward? To what level? Is this just delaying the issue? Can you Buy-back holiday? How much will this cost? Is the answer a balance of all three – if so: Plan-Ahead!
  • What’s your VALUE / Culture offering to your colleagues?

What are we learning from how we are handling Covid-19?

  • What experiences / knowledge can we use to improve how we work “normally”?
  • Does WFH improve efficiency? Is it for everyone? Does it help work life balance? How do “bosses” feel?
  • Do we need to have a better plan for Next Time?

Clients – How can we use our / their experience of remote client relationships / working practices?

  • What Pros/Cons, Issues, Benefits did they see / feel / realise?
  • What “changes” do we need to continue with – STOP, START & CONTINUE Review

Commercial – not an easy discussion BUT is their value in Remote Working?

  • Is WFH (working from home) better value for colleagues and the firm?
  • Do we need to challenge the Office Space we need / use?
  • Is WFH better for the planet?

Post Covid-19 Summary

  • How to manage the holiday bow wave? Plan – think about your values and how you can work with colleagues – Mitigate the risk by solving it now!
  • What positives can we take forward? Learn from the good, the bad and the funny – Does WFH work for your firm!
  • Did your customers/clients get better service? Talk to them, don’t revert just because you can – Change is NOT a four-letter word!
  • Challenge Value: WFH; cost effective or not, Space; needed or not, Remote Working; Productive or not? – look for opportunities to increase value!

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