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Work happens in brains, not offices - Guest Article by Ruth Gawthorpe

Work happens in brains – not offices.

Forward-thinking UK Businesses have already rolled out flexible working policies so that they attract and retain the best talent, address the gender pay gap, improve motivation and productivity.  They know the value of being able to hire the very best people without geographical constraints.

However, many organisations report that middle management are finding it difficult to switch from a traditional leadership approach to one that enables smart working and improved business outputs.

However, Smart Working is the future and so leaders will need to adapt their techniques to make it work well for everyone involved and gain a good return on your investment in the project.

Engaging with and motivating a Smart Workforce can be daunting for some leaders to get to grips with – especially if they have no previous experience of managing across a variety of flexible options and leading an office worker can be very different to managing a mobile, hub or remote worker.

There are four pillars of smart working:

  • Goals – How to enable a clear line of sight between business and team goals with the individual smart workers goals wherever they are working.
  • Communication – Positive communication within workplaces, among colleagues and employers has never been as important as it is now that teams are distributed in different places.
  • Technology – Tools and technology can enable effective collaboration and engagement – but it need not cost the earth. It’s a matter of working out what works best for your organisation and people.
  • Trust – Building and maintaining it is fundamental to successful smart working. Good team selection, learning how to set goals, expectations and deadlines effectively can all lead to improved productivity and business outcomes.

 

Trust is the key to unlocking the successful smart working programme.

A further word on trust because when employees don’t feel they are trusted by their managers or other colleagues, motivation suffers and ultimately productivity decreases.

The problem is that when novice leaders cannot see the individual in person, they tend to feel a lack of control over the work being completed and trust becomes a bit of a challenge.  Their gut instinct is to over-manage those who are not sitting in the office.

Business Leaders who implement management development interventions and support to help managers shift their mindset from, ‘I see you, so you must be working – to sharing responsibility, enabling trust and focusing on results,’ will see the return on investment.

The people in your organisation will be aligned with your business mission and you’ll tap into the values that truly matter to individuals. You will keep your smart workers truly motivated, staying with you longer and working more productively – wherever they happen to be based.

Work happens in brains – not offices!

 

Ruth Gawthorpe is the CEO of the Smart Working Revolution who have recently launched a Smart Leadership Development Programme – a no-nonsense programme, which they have refined over 20 years of successful smart working implementation.

 

 

 

 

 

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