Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.
Think small.

Why? Because your team have their regular work to do. If you go for a grand plan to improve your customer service, you could miss out on something even more valuable than the improvements: everyone’s commitment.

It’s far more likely that your team will be committed to customer service if it’s practical for them to make improvements while still doing their everyday work. They’ll be more committed if they can see the momentum building over time.

The stakes are high. A customer service improvement program must succeed. If your team can’t see what’s changed, they’ll be cynical if you try again.

Let’s get specific


Encourage your team to use this checklist...

Will our customers appreciate it? (if not, it’s not a customer service project)

Is it practical to do this project without compromising our regular work too much?

Will it give us quick results?

Will we be able to measure the results? (‘Completed’ could be enough measurement)

Once they’ve finished one project, encourage them to start another. Display a list of their achievements. Momentum builds commitment to do more.

 

It depends. 

If your role is suitable and your organisation supports you with good leadership and you do it well, WFH could be liberating, less expensive than commuting, greener and more productive.

Let's focus on how you can be more productive - and keep your health and sanity.

At Skillset we've always been free to work from home, so we'll add our suggestions to a selection of ideas from around the world.

The basics

  • Set aside enough space and free from distractions.
  • Make it clear to anyone who might interrupt you that you will be working.
  • Plan your hours so that you have a fixed time for work then start and finish punctually. Resist the temptation to compromise family time outside those hours. 
  • Take breaks just as you would in the office. At home, you might take time to empty the dishwasher or hang out the washing. Think of those tasks as part of your paid work because they help you to be more effective.
  • Have regular meals.  
  • Excercise regularly.

 Performance issues

You'll need to develop the skill of being 'noticed, but not often seen'. 

  • Call your team leader to negotiate clear goals, responsibilities and deadlines for your work. 
  • Check how often your team leader needs progress reports - and deliver.
  • Stay in touch with your colleagues and team leader. Write them emails in a friendly, conversational tone, even if you are feeling grumpy or frustrated. (Maintain 'The Professional You')
  • Accept that managers and team leaders worry when they can't see their people working or the results of that work. They may be in touch more often than you need. 
  • Set daily goals.
  • Dress for work. Sure, you could do it in your pajamas, but office clothes help most people think and perform in a more professional way. (I've seen a BBC newsreader turn up in a suit and bow tie to read the news - on the radio.)
  • If you are meeting on say, Zoom, Skype or Teams, check that there's nothing distracting in the background. That includes distracting books, pot plants that appear to be growing out of your head or family members in the background. (You may have missed the naked partner passing by on Facebook and the toddler appearing on BBC television asking the journalist working from home, 'Mummy can I have two biscuits?')

Staying connected

Being connected isn't just a nice thing to do.

Researchers have shown that our need to connect with other people is one of the three universal motivators - vital regardless of culture. Others have shown that loneliness is about as hazardous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and that quality relationships help us live longer more productive lives.

If we are working from home, we need to put extra effort into our relationships. If working on relationships is not something you do spontaneously, add it to your to do lists.  At least send a friendly email. Better still, Zoom or phone for a catchup. Your calls can be a mixture of work and personal stuff - whatever seems right for your relationship at work.

Face-to-face is best. If the Covid restrictions allow in your country, maybe arrange to meet colleagues for a regular coffee. In our team, anyone who is not training that day will be in the office Wednesdays where we take long coffee breaks, celebrate birthdays, review workshops and exchange ideas. It's been part of our culture for many years.

 

Working from home has challenges, but it's here to stay. Missing our colleagues has emerged as the biggest disadvantage, but WFH has its own acronym because so many people around the world have been forced into it and now more organisations and employees are seeing the benefits. It can be even more productive, saves the cost and time of commuting, helps save the planet and, medium-term, can reduce the cost of office space.

 

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

Professional Speakers Australia has awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP. He has since been made a life member of Professional Speakers New Zealand.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

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