Neil Bestford | How to create a balanced and harmonious [virtual] working environment to boost morale and productivity’
Lockdown. With all of our patience running thin, winter drawing in and the countdown to Christmas, I appreciate this second round is proving to be tougher than the first.
Especially when as a business your employees may be feeling Zoom’ed out; anxious about the future; dealing with COVID fatigue; adjusting to working from home once more; fed-up of the same four walls or busier than ever before.
Over the past seven months, there has been a drastic behavioural change within the workplace. Shifting to home working or new on-site procedures are obvious. You might have also noticed subtle changes in your employees, their ways of working and how they interact – especially if they’re facing personal or work-related challenges from childcare to workloads.
Do your employees know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour? Have the lines been blurred due to working from home? For example, work emails or calls before a 9am start. Is everyone on the same page? Do new members of staff fully understand your policies and procedures? A behavioural framework can help you address these questions.
The subjective nature of behaviour makes it a very tricky and sometimes a contentious area to manage, particularly in the workplace, but it’s a crucial means to support your employees. Here’s why, how and the benefits for your business…
Why addressing your employees’ behaviour is key.
A flippant comment, or offensive behaviour?
How individuals behave at work can have hugely impactful benefits, however, if not managed effectively, it can also have hugely damaging consequences.
How we behave and what we believe is acceptable behaviour depends on many factors, including; age, gender, upbringing, socioeconomics – amongst many other influences.
To work harmoniously your business needs to come to a common understanding of what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
How setting out your stall is crucial.
It’s not what you do, but how you do it.
You’re maybe thinking, we already have policies and procedures in place. What I’d like to ask is do they come up in day to day conversations? Or are they only discussed during team or one-to-one review meetings?
It’s important not to shy away from the conversation. What a behavioural framework does is bring your policies and procedures to life. Only by establishing a clear, concise and meaningful benchmark for behaviour, can you create appropriate boundaries and provide absolute clarity for what is acceptable and unacceptable workplace behaviour.
Setting out your stall will provide balance and create a harmonious [virtual] working environment where every individual is given the opportunity to thrive – without fear of harassment or bullying.
Boosting employee morale and productivity.
Have you ever been surprised how an employee or colleague acts differently outside of work?
There are numerous reasons why we act the way we do within the workplace. However, it’s common for people to feel unsure how to act, so they revert to how ‘they think’ they should act. When instead, all employees should have the freedom to be their true authentic selves.
By involving your employees in the creation of a set of behaviours that are aligned to your values and vision they will feel empowered. They’ll appreciate their voice being heard and so, will be more receptive to your agreed framework.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. How they feel matters.
Providing them with clear and meaningful boundaries will help them, even in the most challenging times, to understand one another and what’s expected from themselves and everyone within the business. Helping to foster an open, supportive working environment, boosting morale and productivity.
As I started with lockdown, I’d like to end with it and say; You got through the first one. You can get through whatever comes next. We all can and will.
Whether you’re accustomed to behavioural frameworks or they’re new to you I hope this proved to be an insightful read. If you’d like to find out more about how I could support your business, feel free to contact me for some no-obligation practical advice. I’m not quite Zoom’ed out myself!