As the UK starts to emerge from its 16-month long enforced period of restrictions, employers are wrestling with what the ‘new normal’ will look like. For many, these restrictions have been an opportunity to examine new ways of working remotely. For many, the pandemic has been a disruptor, forcing them to look at innovative ways of working and driving the use of technology, such as Zoom.
Working this way has its clear benefits, including less employee travel time, better work-life balance, reduced office costs and a positive environmental impact with less car journeys being undertaken.
But now, arguably more than ever before, many non-manufacturing businesses have an opportunity to make a fundamental shift in the way they operate. It feels like a moment in time to take the lessons from the ‘work from home’ directive of the past months and learn from them.
It is inevitable that some employers will opt to ask their employees to work remotely indefinitely. Many seeing the clear financial benefits of this arrangement. This style of working will also bring its challenges. According to a recent survey by the IWFM, in the UK nearly half (44%) of the workforce planning to work from the office for 3 days or fewer a week. The findings also revealed that 63% of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary – a rise of a fifth since the first lockdown (51%). Many are now concerned about how to adapt their culture for the hybrid workplace.
This new hybrid workplace culture is new territory for many organisations. The question is how to strike the correct balance to allow employees to remain healthy and happy while maintaining productivity levels and more importantly ensuring that the employees remain ‘connected’, aligned, and ‘buy in’ to the organisation’s goals and objectives.
While employees are working remotely, it becomes significantly more difficult to check their levels of engagement and accountability. It becomes easier for people to hide behind technology as they spend more time each day in virtual meetings, on chats/messages, and on emails.
So at this critical stage, as the UK starts to look forward to the ‘new normal’ and different ways of working, it is vital that managers, more than ever. ensure all employees are fully aligned with the goals of the organisations. Frameworks need to be built to ensure employees are engaged in the top-level strategy of the business to create a connection with their work.
Accountability is a personal choice; it cannot be forced onto employees. People must be personally motivated to rise above circumstances and demonstrate the ownership needed to reach their goals. Managers within an organisation, now more than ever before, will need to play a critical role in creating a positive culture of accountability.
Organisations need to adapt and learn a ‘new language’. They need to consider training staff in new methods of communications around accountability and putting in place a framework of accountability so both employees and managers can focus on the key results that are required. But above all, organisations need to ensure that all employees feel accountable for their part in achieving the results required.
If you would like to see how LMAC can help develop a framework of accountability within an organisation why not take a look at training courses on our website.