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How are you Staying Connected While Working from Home?

Posted by Kevin Racher

This week I have been talking to clients about the different ways of keeping engaged with staff in these challenging times. As soon as the news was announced by Boris at 5.05pm on Monday 16th March, the first thought of the management team at Pro was the wellbeing of our staff, which resulted in us instructing our workforce to work from home for the foreseeable future.

So, here we are in unprecedented times. In all my c25 years of working in recruitment it appears we are set for a period of time working from home with various outlets, clients and business leaders telling us it is 'business as usual'. But is it really business as usual??? I mean for me, I am not travelling on the Central Line coming into work, queuing at Starbucks to get my normal caffeine fix and then seeing my teams ‘happy’ faces as they come through the door plus chatting to the wider business.

Having spoken to a number of clients this week ranging from those in the Big 4, Mid Tiers and regional clients, it appears to be a very strange time for all. Staff morale and wellbeing is paramount for all businesses it seems, and at the forefront of everyones minds!

I thought I would share with you the various ways that our clients are focusing on wellbeing in the workplace...

Most firms are using the obvious and popular channels of virtual communication, such as Zoom/MSN Team/Microsoft Teams/Skype to have a ‘team meeting’ at the start of the day - just to check in with their staff, keep them motivated, to make sure that they are focused on the day ahead, to ensure that they are all ok, and to see their actual faces rather than just a voice. One of the Big 4’s London international tax team have introduced new sub teams of around 12/15 people, rather that the full team of 150 to ensure that everyone is being included and they are getting to know the wider team. They have even gone one stage further by setting up ‘working parents’ groups’, employees that are on their own in a house/flat, and a group for their international staff where they are perhaps on a secondment away from their family. Some accountancy practices are keeping their firms informed by senior management team or staff partners completing pre-recorded video messages to their whole workforce with regular updates.

But what is super to hear is the novel ways that clients are getting their staff to interact in these crazy times.  They are ranging from virtual pub quizzes, virtual coffee meetings, virtual beers (and a new whiskey club), a newfound 80’s film review night, and one firm has even introduced weekly virtual yoga and pilates classes.

Here at Pro, we have set up morning Zoom meetings where I get to see the team’s faces, we discuss the previous night’s PM speech and what we had for dinner, before talking over the days tasks, which include keeping interview processes moving, touching base with our clients and candidates, working on our live roles (and we do have some!), talking over their professional projects as well as their personal projects (ranging from a run, a family walk, cooking, learning something new each day to a 1000 piece jigsaw!) just as long as they break things up to ensure that they’re not just looking at a screen in one place for 7/8 hours!

I guess we are all finding ways to stay connected with our team/workforce and everyone is certainly in this together, but what I have loved hearing is the great stories of staying strong, being supportive and if you see one of your team mates struggling just connect with them perhaps by video call to say hello! Wellbeing in the workplace was such a key topic (and rightly so) pre-Covid 19, I can certainly say that it is even more prominent now.

If you have some other ideas about connecting with tour staff or just keeping their spirits up, we would love to hear from you. Contact Kevin Racher on 020 7269 6321 or kevin.racher@pro-tax.co.uk.

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