Smart Working – A practical guide to working more flexibly and efficiently
Session 1 – Introduction and context
Welcome and overview and objectives of the workshop. After short introductions of the facilitator and participants, we gather up individual objectives for this workshop. Working in groups, we explore some of the contextual and big picture elements of current working styles and practices. What do our organisations expect from us – what is most demanding and why? What does the future hold? What are the implications? Current workloads and practices – where are the common inefficiencies and waste? What barriers prevent us from working more flexibly and autonomously?
The principles and benefits of Smart Working are outlined; flexibility, autonomy, well-being, efficiency and continuous improvement. Common areas of waste and inefficiency are highlighted.
Session 2 – Think differently
A short team activity illustrates how we tend to think in fixed ways when faced with working in new ways. In order to release ourselves from the natural psychological biases of functional fixity, we need to use whole brain thinking to help us become more agile in the way we think. We need to challenge assumptions and proactively find creative solutions to problems without waiting for direction or seeing boundaries where they don’t exist. Using a series of practical exercises, we use brainstorming techniques in conjunction with analytical tools to enable us to approach barriers to efficiency more flexibly.
Session 3– New working environments
We examine the implications of an array of new possible working environments and methods such as mobile or home working, hot-desking, virtual teamworking, flexi-time and job sharing. What are the known best practices associated with these ways of working and how can we avoid the pitfalls?
Session 4– Remote Management
Using a simple pairwork exercise, participants identify their own preferred management style. We briefly review the basic principles of Situational Leadership to reinforce the importance of the right balance between Support and Direction. Remote management will mean Managers often need to “let go” and empower others to do more, monitoring outputs rather than methodologies. We highlight the importance of good delegation and clarity around decisions and present a useful tool for identifying the appropriate levels of empowerment. We discuss trust and control and identify ways in which managers can build the first and maintain enough of the second.
Session 5 – Staying in touch
The group are given team task which requires them to communicate effectively with no visual input. We debrief the task and identify some of the most critical elements of good remote communication such as clarity, succinctness, inviting contribution, summarizing and framing the process. We identify some of the things that can go wrong during the transmit / receive process and introduce a simple framework to practice the inform, invite, listen, confirm cycle. We finish with a best practice summary.
Session 6 – Teamworking and collaboration in a Smart environment
Maintaining a cohesive team culture and network is important for productivity and well-being. We look at practical ways to build and maintain a positive team network. The importance of communication systems is discussed and we look at options and alternatives to ensure good information flow and ensure relationships are maintained
Session 7 – Resilience
Building resilience is a key factor in Smart Working. By paying attention to our own responses and internal resources we can meet the challenges of new ways of working and incessant change. A simple framework is introduced for building resilience and helping us to press the pause button and reassess the way we approach our work at a more mindful level. Participants work in pairs to co-coach.
Session 8 – Tips and best practice
We summarise the key tips, tools and techniques from the day and create individual action plans for implementing new ways of working with our teams.