On Wednesday 15th April, we once again welcomed members of the Women in Entrepreneurship (WER) and European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) communities, new and existing alike, to our third EYIF Webinar on adaptable working – ‘Remote Working: Workshop.’ For the second half of our two-part session on adjusting and adapting to remote working in the current global and economic climate, following on from our part one panel discussion on Friday 3rd April, which brought together a panel of remote working experts from the US and EMEA regions to provide their experts tips and tool recommendations.
This workshop style session brought together a range of speakers from the European ecosystem to offer their expertise and insights into the top three key areas and topics as identified in our part one session; creating your remote working toolkit, finding home working solutions, and mental wellbeing.
The first segment, creating your remote working toolkit, invited Iwo Szapar, Remote Work Advocate & Co-founder of Remote-how; Matthew Goddard, Senior Product Director and Co-Author of Ready for Remote; and Taryn Nixon, User Adoption & Change Manager at ClearPeople to share with our virtual audience the best ways to not only build your essential remote working toolkit but also how to introduce tools for team adoption effectively.
Starting with Szapar who provided a managerial perspective on the subject, as managers needed to be seen to take proactive ownership of productivity and the well-being of their team in a remote working environment, understanding both the benefits and also the issues that can arise with it. Outlining the five key challenges that remote working often poses, particularly during the earlier adoption phase:
- Lack of physical interaction with employees
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Access to information
- Trust and accountability
- Struggling with individual productivity
Providing ‘quick win’ methods to showcase how managers are able to meet these challenges and break them down into more digestible tasks. Including frequent one-to-ones and check-ins to make sure that an employee is okay, clear communication to make sure there isn’t a hindrance to information access, helping your team to prioritise to help them to manage their workflow and making sure that the right tools are implemented to help them, and lastly empowering your team to reach their potential and maximise quality productivity. Szapar also highlighted how the present shift in working culture has opened up transparency and trust, as work and home life have been forced to overlap, and companies are having to move documentation in shared cloud and or public platforms.
Before the virtual workshop moved on to specify how teams can effectively adopt tools to assist with remote working, with Nixon leading the discussion as a user adoption and change management expert working in the Microsoft arena of services, bringing attention to the Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Atlas services, and also the importance of the business managers who “help produce change outcomes, and guide their users through the change.” Nixon also brought attention to that although most people are now remote working and or working from home, there are some pockets of users who are having “siloed conversations in emails, whereas productivity could be sped up through the use of collaborative tools,” and the transition to smarter remote working can not only maintain the steady running of business but also increase the productivity of workflow whilst simultaneously allowing flexibility to the individual employee.
Following on, Goddard provided a rounded description of the type of tools available and how they gel with the remote working environment, highlighting the rise in asynchronous working as technology has evolved into a digitally focused entity that has allowed a level of autonomy over workflow and workstream through the adoption of flexible working patterns. Also reiterating Nixon’s earlier point of how siloed or closed communications can lead to a stall in productivity, and also outlining the three spheres of visibility to company communications; as for the individual, for a specific project team, and lastly for the company as a whole. Avoiding over abundance of channels and tools by assigning specific outcomes and retiring and or archiving fulfilled or redundant ones.
Goddard also reiterated an earlier point made in our remote working webinar on the 3rd April, that at present;
“You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”Matthew Goddard
To highlight that managers need to be more empathetic to the pressures staff are facing, due to the heightened stress and anxiety poised by the current global coronovirus pandemic, and that the implementation of asynchronous communications may be able to provide a relief to this for managers and staff alike to ease this pressure.
The session concluded with Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, Wellbeing Leader at Deloitte Consulting UK who provided practical advice and insights on how to maintain team morale and manage company wellbeing through individual and collective methods. Kashyap-Aynsley opened the discussion by describing how wellbeing is prevalent and relevant in all aspects to remote working and or working from home.
As well as how the current pandemic has brought to the surfaces stresses and anxieties that are outside the individual internal locus of control; such as job loss, furloughed employment, stalled investment, market closures, illness, and also the limitation the confinement, which has increased the challenge of isolation and loneliness raised by Szapar earlier in the session.
She highlighted how managerial leadership is vital in ensuring a healthy and well balanced team, through leading by example and setting the tone. For example by using check-ins to not only focus on the tasks but also the wellbeing of the employee to provide supportive solutions; providing opportunities to further staff education, knowledge and understanding; allowing for non-judgemental personal transparency along with work or task transparency; and implementing a working culture of unplugging to separate work and home life.
With the implementation of routine and boundaries as a fundamental action all employers need to take in order to ensure wellbeing and ultimately staff productivity, by allowing flexibility and defined rest periods to restore some sense of structure and routine in the current. overlapped and awkwardly merged environment, of working from home.
Our next webinar will be on Friday 24th April at 12:00 CET, and will bring together an exciting panel of EU grants and funds experts to provide practical monetary advice on how best to support your SME project or venture during the current global period of uncertainty.
Register via our Eventbrite page here
Additional information and resources
You can view all the slides shared by Remote Work Advocate & Co-founder of Remote-how, Iwo Szapar on Prezi here
Background on EYIF
Founded in July 2010, the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) is the leading organisation for youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, reaching 500,000 people cross continent and hosting yearly projects aimed at targeting key issues in the startup and innovation ecosystem; such as the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow (WER), launching in March 2019. As well as supporting a number of EU-Partner Projects, in our role as Startup Europe Ambassadors i.e. MY-GATEWAY Consortium and Started Project.
What are EYIF Webinars?
The EYIF Webinars (previously known as the WER Webinars) on adaptable working aim to showcase alternative solutions to traditional office working and highlight EU small to medium enterprises (SME) support to make sure entrepreneurs and founders continue to excel in uncertain times, as part of the EYIF’s coronavirus pandemic company response.