Xavier’s team works across three states. For them, regular online meetings are vital for team and customer functioning and have been for some time. After the pandemic swept through the globe and the 'work remotely' guidelines were introduced, it didn’t have a big impact on team productivity. In fact, their previous experience in organising work routines remotely helped jump-start a full-time home office arrangement.
“Certainly it wasn’t pushed or triggered by the pandemic (flexible/remote working), it was a necessity to bring out the best in people earlier on and also ensure we have best possible talent across Australia working in the team,” explains Xavier on how he established his team that looks after workforce planning at BAE Systems Australia.
Allow flexibility - how the work gets done
In managing his team, Xavier employed a 'Work when and how best suits you to deliver on customer commitments' approach. He explains that it helps bring the best out of people:
“If starting at 7 AM and finishing at 3:30 PM suits you best because you are more productive in the morning or it suits your lifestyle because you exercise or pick up the kids in the afternoon then why not?”
finding harmony between work and life
Someone’s work productivity should not be measured by the time you spend logged on or at a desk, believes Xavier. Instead, the team set up rigorous customer focused objectives and measures their delivery against them.
“It’s also about trust and being agile in the delivery of your commitments to you customer,” says Xavier.
“For example, our preferences to work certain hours need to be flexible with the needs of our customers. It’s a two way street and is not a set and forgot working arrangement; it’s a way of working which should constantly be reviewed to ensure we deliver our best work while finding harmony between work and life.”
Camera On and other challenges
Video calls with the work colleagues and the home environment as a backdrop can be uncomfortably intimidating. Nevertheless, the team says having the camera on helps a lot.
“In our team meetings and one-on-one’s we make sure the camera is on to enable the face-to-face interaction. This also enables us to pick up on the non-verbal communication.”
don’t be too hard on yourself
The office vibe is largely missed and is difficult to replace virtually, however the team attempt to create this vibe through allocating extra time in meetings to have a laugh and make the effort to connect and check in with each other outside of the standard business as usual stuff.
From Chris’s experience, maintaining regular contact with colleagues is important:
“A good level of communication with team members has helped me feel more connected with ‘WORK’. It can be as simple as a casual ‘Hello’ for a few minutes.”
These adjustments are part of behavioural change that often can be stressful and doesn’t happen overnight.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take time to adjust and feel comfortable,” says Chris.
Give it a go
As we are going through a period that changes our daily lives, including social interactions, it is not the time to shy away from experimenting and viewing the new working arrangements as a genuine positive opportunity, believes Xavier.
“Reflect on when you are most productive, challenge how you currently do things, set up your space, use the technology provided (e.g virtual whiteboards, video, etc), enjoy the fact that you have the travel to work time back in your day to use how you wish and celebrate flexibility.”