Why force the issue?

Companies around the world are forcing their employees back to the office, against their will.

Remember when your Mom forced you to wear a dress but you wanted to wear jeans, or when your Dad forced you to take a nap and you weren’t tired? 

How happy did you feel being forced to do something against your will? 

With the pandemic behind us, some companies are starting to force their employees back to the office 4 or 5 days a week. 

Over the last few years, millions of employees in companies around the world learned how to productively contribute to the operation of their organizations while working from home and we learned there were some upsides including; more time for sleep, exercise, hobbies, family, and friends.   

  • We also felt some potential downsides to remote work, including a lack of mentorship for new or junior teammates and a lack of in-person human connection which can potentially negatively impact culture (although it doesn’t have to).  

But why force people back against their will? I believe with a little creativity there are flexible solutions that will help meet the needs of both employees and the organization.  Consider: 

1. How many in-person days are really needed each week? 

  • Instead of mandating 4 or 5 days a week in the office, consider might 2 or 3 days suffice.  
  • This flexibility will ensure some in-person human connection happens and provide time for some in-person mentorship and coaching, while also providing occasional upside of remote work 
  • Some employees will still opt to be in person 5 days a week, but others will appreciate the flexibility of choice 

2. Provide full remote work flexibility and autonomy two months a year.

  • Why does your new in-person work schedule need to be for the full year?  
  • Why not provide your team the option to choose two months each year when they have full flexibility to work from wherever they choose?  
  • Some will prefer the same routine – while others, may take this opportunity to work from a family cottage in the summer, or perhaps opt to live and work from a foreign country for a month or two.  

Of course, certain rules may need to be put in place around booking and planning people’s schedules in advance, but providing options will have your team feeling respected and also ensure that in-person mentorship and camaraderie occur throughout the majority of the year.   

As the owner of my own company, I’ve been enjoying the flexibility of remote work for over 15-20 years now. And now that my team has gotten to enjoy the same flexibility and shown themselves to still be passionate about our purpose, share our company values, and drive towards our vision, I feel it would be rather hypocritical to take this flexibility away from them. 

Organizations that choose to force their employees back against their desires, with little flexibility or options, will inevitably lose good people to their competition. 

Companies with great workplace cultures, know to treat their people as priority.

To watch my video on this topic click here: https://youtu.be/UX8wLF6b0Ng

Huddle Up!

Is your team missing seeing each other as you are working from home with only the occasional day in the office? Or perhaps everyone is working fully remotely? Are you feeling the loss of those random sparks and laughs you used to enjoy when you would connect with your teammates at the office? You may want to consider introducing a daily huddle.

I first heard about daily huddles in 2015 from Brian Scudamore and his team at 1-800-GOT-JUNK and O2E Brands, whose award-winning workplace culture I have always greatly admired. At that time, I loved the idea behind their daily huddle, yet didn’t feel the same format would work for us.

So instead of a 7-minute daily huddle, we started hosting a huddle once a week for 15 minutes. We would gather in person for an all-hands stand-up meeting, to communicate important metrics and updates. Our huddles were fun but as our team grew, they started to run long often becoming 20 and 25 minutes, as we had more important information to convey, so we moved to hosting a huddle twice a week.

When the pandemic hit and suddenly our entire team was working remotely, we felt communications become more challenging and our normally playful camaraderie was waning. We needed to improve the connection among our full team. So in the summer of 2020, during the heart of the pandemic, we started having 7-minute huddles every day.

It felt a bit awkward at first, but we stuck with it and our daily huddle has become a fantastic touch point for our entire team to share good news, key metrics, and important updates, as well as enjoy some laughs altogether.

We run a tight agenda, with a rotating schedule of hosts, so everyone from student interns to the C-suite takes a turn. And while the agenda is the same each day, every huddle feels unique and filled with important information and playful connections. It has become a highlight of my day.

If you would like to see our huddle agenda or watch a quick video to get a feel for how we run them at JAM, head over to www.kristiherold.com/huddleresources/ Consider implementing daily huddles in your organization and taking another step towards a thriving workplace culture!

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