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    2 Apr 20

    Working from home vs the working week.

    The notion of the working week is a relatively new construct, only with us since the Victorian times. With new workers entering the home office, what does the working week look like?

    In the agrarian society prior to the industrial revolution, work was seasonal, and there was work to be done on every day of the week. Mill owners in England who had attempted to get workers to work long hours every day, eventually England caved and the 5 (and a half) day working week come into existence. The idea of ‘office hours’ is an even newer concept to ensure people were able to work together in the same location at the same time.

    In the information age, and especially in the current crisis that coronavirus has put us in. How reasonable is it to accept these norms whilst working from home. With all the distractions of home life affecting our productivity.

    How productive are you?

    At work how much productive work do you really do? Between lunch, and coffee breaks, deskside chats about non-work-related topics, reading (and answering) unimportant emails, slack and other messages. Most office workers are at the office for 40 hours a week. Let’s be optimistic and assume that you are really productive for 35 of those – the figure is probably much less 😊. Working from home can make you more productive if you do not confine yourself to these boundaries.

    Just manage your work accordingly.

    Spread the Joy.

    Let’s face it, in lockdown, everyday feels pretty much the same anyway – have you asked yourself ‘what day is it today?’ yet – why not treat it this way! Spread your work over the entire 7 days if you want, or can.

    But the kids are home, you just can’t get stuff done, especially if you haven’t got a dedicated workspace. So why not break up the 9 to 5?

    What’s your work?

    There is work that you can do on your own. Find a time in the morning or evening – whenever you work best, to complete those tasks. Not everyone works best during office hours, this is your time to shine. The downside to this is that if you have been loafing in the office for years, you are likely to be found out.

    A bonus of this can be avoiding the noise of unimportant stuff that comes your way – emails, slack messages, Lync chats etc. It also gives yourself time to think about if what you are asking others is truly important, are you the one generating the noise

    Collaborate as required

    Make yourself available when you need to be available to allow for collaboration. Large group sessions are likely to remain during ‘office hours’, and those with suppliers and partners outside of your organisation that are not open to similar working – its’ avoidable, but can be minimised!

    For one on one (or one to few) sessions ask the following question, ‘Is there a more convenient time for everyone to meet?’ Perhaps they have distractions that they want to avoid as well. Don’t let an unasked question be the cause of anxiety for the group.

    Keep family time sacred.

    Close your laptop, pause mobile notifications on work related messaging. Be present for your family, you might (read WILL) need them. Android users google had created some apps specifically for this.

    You might find that you can actually enjoy yourself

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    1 Apr 20

    Organisational Purpose and your behaviours post COVID-19

    The potential upheaval in supply chains caused by coronavirus could be an opportunity for some firms to improve their environmental and social standing.

    Global sourcing has been a factor of many industries since the 90’s, and the deep tiering of outsourcing make the visibility within the supply chain difficult, if not impossible. The propensity of consumers – whether business or individual – to buy, especially commodity goods, on price alone has driven this shift. The risk is when the cheapest price can only be provided by a single supplier, and they are halfway around the world. It has been made evident during the coronavirus outbreak in China, but will play out globally as the virus extends its reach to suppliers in other countries.

    But business stakeholders, both employees and consumers, and in some cases investors, in [mainly] small organisations have been going to market based on a model that is based not on pure short-term profit, but on environmental and social standing. They are behaving how they need to behave based on their understanding of their customers principles rather than on their own financials.

    During the current outbreak larger organisations are struggling with how to behave, conflicted between wanting to improve bottom-line vs achieve the greater good. Their decisions will affect their brand identity into the future – will they be seen as truly altruistic, or jumping on a PR bandwagon? Will they deliver in the short-term or be able to maintain their stance, perhaps making fundamental changes to their business model? Others will hide, and not say much at all, or merely react to pressure.

    In the unclear mists of the future how will this play out? How can a business achieve a purposeful stance on environmental and social perspectives? By knowing, and working with its supply chain. A visible supply chain, perhaps one that is shorter, and more regional can claim, and market themselves, based on this knowledge, visibility, and flexibility. One example might be being able to measure carbon reduction for a single ‘product’ throughout its life, rather than the footprint of a single organisation.

    For this, some consumers would surely be willing to pay a higher price, one that allows the increased cost of regionalisation to be offset.

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    13 Dec 19

    Are specialised roles the way forward?

    Organisations and recruiters are increasingly looking for specialised roles in many fields. Specialisation typically commands higher salaries, so candidate and recruiter positions are easy to understand. But what's in it for the employer? Or, is it just an attribute of a seekers market? HBR has research that suggests specialists innovate more in fast moving environments. But specialists themselves are not the catalyst, it's the existing environment.

    Whilst this has its place it also has its downside. Teams of specialists need an effective collaborative structure, otherwise fiefdoms and egos will take over.

    Specialists will see things only from their specialised perspective. If they only have a hammer in their toolbox, then everything starts to look like a nail. Not the best place to be! The ability to see things through others eyes is important.

    Hammer and nails

    Beware the illusion of speed - Just because the pace of change in your industry in increasing, does not mean it is 'fast'

    A successful team must combine various attributes;

    • Specialised technical knowledge - of course
    • Mutual respect
    • cooperation and
    • an appetite for learning the perspectives of others.

    If you don’t believe me then take a look at this post by Rob Haaring at TopdeskStrangely, this might turn these specialists into something a bit more ‘T-shaped’….a generalist perhaps!

    Other posts you might be interested in

    Working from home vs the working week.

    Digital Transformation and your dead horses