Brother MD: Dealing with the 'work from home' dilemma

Phil Jones talks about keep employees working towards a main goal
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How do you create a workplace where people want to turn up and be their best? I think that’s a challenge every firm has – large or small.

It’s not easy, because there’s a number of things going on in the world – number one is technology, of course, and its impact on people’s attention continues to grow.

How do you keep people working towards a main goal, while also continuing to do the things you want to in order to be successful? And how do you recruit the right talent, on the basis that expectations are changing because people want to be more mobile and flexible? You might need to look a bit further and get used to people being location independent from the office.

All of these challenges bring a lot of headaches with them.You need policies, you need to determine who is a location independent worker and who isn’t, and how on Earth do you continue to engage with that community? Human beings naturally need some sort of community to connect into.

We have implemented our own Omnijoin web conferencing solution into our business. The community can all jump onto a webinar at the same time. We saw the chatroom become really buzzy and staff were more engaged as a workforce. Using technology isn’t always about reading the next leadership book, it might something as simple as providing people with the right platform and having the right conversations: a technology link that can actually increase overall employee engagement.

The other thing is to give people permission to perform, which might seem a bit strange but some people think: “That’s above my paygrade and not something that I need to get involved with.”It’s about trying to instil in people an acronym called PRIDE, which stands for Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence. So if they take PRIDE in their job and PRIDE in their role, the company collectively will become excellent. It gives people the permission to ask questions, find their voices and push up a little bit more.

For business it’s also about how you run the culture and having a good leader who’s open, emotionally intelligent and sees people as human beings in a work community, as opposed to a pyramid in command of control.

We’ve installed Yabber on our network so we have an internal social community where everybody can get engaged. It’s not just about remote work, but everybody feeling they have a place to raise ideas and discuss issues.

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