Smarter Working: How Do You Re-Mobilise Your Teams?

As lockdown restrictions ease, businesses will need to prepare for the reinstatement of effective and manageable working practices, where employees feel they can be effective, connected and motivated. 

In his second article for Today’s Wills and Probate, Stuart Pearce, Director at Journey 4, a management consultancy, outlines the key areas that business leaders need to consider so that they maintain continuity and morale as we transition into life post-lockdown.

Working in partnership with Natural Risk, Journey 4 has released a “Smarter Working Remobilisation Planning” service that aims to prepare business and ensure they have “robust and effective plans to manage the transition to the new ways of working”.

Following discussions and research revealed through the “Smarter Working” group, the partnership identified key areas business leaders should consider:

  • Every person has different circumstances, which businesses will need to adapt to, through an employee-driven approach, unique to each individual
  • Business leaders will need to find flexible solutions “that work for different segments of the employee population to maintain an engaged and productive workforce”
  • Leaders should have the confidence to ask their colleagues what their ideas on effective working arrangements are. “This will also demonstrate to employees that they have a voice and are trusted to put forward ideas.”
  • Business leaders should not feel it is their role to solve colleagues’ working from home problems, instead they should discover the best and worst aspects of working from home, including how their mental health is being impacted, feelings of isolation and how to best manage such working practises over the longer term.

The Re-Mobilisation Planning service helps put in place plans to manage the transition to the new ways of working and include the following components:

  • Vision and strategy review
  • Risk management and business resilience / continuity planning
  • People, engagement and culture audit
  • Re-mobilisation planning

The service is provided fully online, in a way that the partnership is confident is effective as being delivered face to face.  It is one of the number of tools that were developed to help business leaders manage the transition to the new ways of working.

For private client teams, this means a more individual approach to employees’ circumstances and looking to adapt operating processes for those able to work remotely to continue to do so, if that is efficient and effective.

As we said in our last piece, clients have become ever more digitally-savvy through the pandemic and many prefer remote online delivery without the need for physical face to face engagement. We have started to see this now with the increased popularity and acceptance of video wills, meaning executors, beneficiaries and lawyers are able to engage and transact in a way previously unimagined before the pandemic.  Rather like those who had not ordered food shopping online before and found it easier than they thought, could Private Client see a similar transformation?

For me, the parallels with video appointments with doctors and hospital consultants seem appropriate. Can many of the other routine on-boarding and verification tasks such as those that your conveyancing colleagues perform, now be undertaken by your teams remotely from home?

Equally, leaders need to balance out the erosion of a physical teamwork culture, the camaraderie, the sense of place and those creative “water cooler moments” when some of the best service innovation ideas come from. How do we maintain some of this while bringing any remote workers into the tent on a consistent basis so that everyone feels engaged?

There are certainly more twists and turns in the road ahead, and perhaps in the short term, but perhaps the question needs to be finally asked that for those who don’t need to go into the office, why not set up the same levels of service and support, the same will reading process virtually?

Given this inevitable shift, it is important for Private Client team leaders and partners to think now if they have not already done so about how they maintain a cohesive employee culture while responding in the same high quality manner to client demand.

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