You may have noticed that business owners and leaders have, on the whole, remained very quiet on the topic of remote working during the lockdowns, and that is probably because they have had very little choice in the matter – but is working from home the future?
With the option to return to the office only a few weeks away, I believe that we are going to see more business leaders start to speak up about what they actually want to happen.
It’s been really interesting listening to different people across a diverse range of roles and across different industry sectors talk and share their opinions on social media about what is going to be best for the business moving forward in this respect. But in some ways, that’s a bit like football supporters sharing their opinion on who should start for their team on Saturday. It’s all interesting, and in many cases valid debate, and people do get very passionate about their own opinions, but in the end it has little or no bearing on the managers team selection. And in that respect, the remote working debate will naturally be decided by the management and not by the employees of the business.
Of course there has been an opportunity to rethink the working model and having been forced to adopt a full working from home scenario for 12 months, every business owner has been able to evaluate its impact on the company.
I think that it is fair to say that most employees want to retain at least some working from home options going forward, but the majority of people also want some return to the office, and this desire by the workforce will form part of the decisions being made going forward by management, along with many other factors, such as company culture, wellbeing and mental health, productivity, quality and standards of work, customer service and satisfaction, practicality, sales, teamwork, information sharing, staff retention and the list goes on.
There is also the question of who is responsible for the work from home set up, the equipment and health and safety, because if a company requires you to work from home there is an extended duty of care.
This week, David Solomon, the CEO at Goldman Sacks Investment bank, hit the headlines, when he came out and said ‘It’s not a new normal’
Speaking to a conference on Wednesday, Solomon said: “I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible.”
Barclays CEO, Jes Staley also said this week that he did not believe that remote work was “sustainable” long-term. He too pointed towards the negative impact that remote work has had on collaboration and culture.
However, some CEOs are also coming out to state that they will adopt more of a hybrid model, and Spotify and Salesforce have both said that they will adopt that type of flexible approach to remote working.
So, is working from home the future? It may simply come down to things like the industry sector and the way that those individual businesses like to work collaboratively, or not, and where a scheduled Teams or Zoom call just can’t replace the spontaneous, on the fly impact sessions, collaborations and debates that make that company what it is. If remote working has any negative impact on culture or productivity, then a return to the office is likely to be a major part of the outcome.
Smart Recruit Online are happy to share that we are once again sponsoring Business Live’s free Health & Wellbeing Event on the 25th of February. If you are a HR manager, Wellbeing Expert or Hiring Manager looking for extra ways to support your staff with their mental and physical health, this event is well worth signing up to.
Employee mental health and wellbeing are topics that have been gaining a lot of traction in businesses. This is now even more so the case, with many people working from home and looking for support from their employers as we continue to navigate a ‘new normal’.
Business Live’s Health and Wellbeing Event aims to give you the tools to help support your employees for years to come. With a fantastic virtual panel of expert speakers on the subject, you will gain insight into their own experiences and practical solutions that you can bring into your business to improve staff wellbeing.
Research has found that happier employees lead to higher productivity, staff retention and ultimately, a more successful business. Fostering a positive work culture around staff wellbeing will help this, and this event gives you the tools to do just that. Better yet, a good working culture will be attractive to any future talent looking to join your business.
Last year’s event hosted to over 90 HR managers, business owners, and hiring managers. There was extremely positive feedback, with many attendees stating they would come again.
3.00pm – Registration and entry to the zoom call
3.05pm – Welcome Victoria Beale, CEO Business Live UK
3.10pm – Emilie Barlow-Martin – Document Logistix
3.20pm – Q and A
3.25pm – Daryl Woodhouse – ABP/ DW/ Mental Fitness and Productivity
3.35pm – Q and A
3.40pm – Navrita Atwal – Equality Council UK
3.50pm – Q and A
4.00pm – Michael Stephens – Corpwell
4.10pm – Jon Manning – Arthur Ellis Mental Health
4.20pm – Q and A
4.30pm – Ravi Summan – Ravi Summan Wellness
4.40pm – Q and A
4.45pm – Mark Glenister – Black Dog/ Corpwell
4.50pm – Q and A
4.55pm – Arran Stewart – Job.com
5.05pm – Q and A
5.10pm – 10 sec delegate introductions
5.30pm – Close
You can sign up to attend the event for FREE here
Any human resources (HR) professional knows that good talent is hard to find. But the truth is that talent is even harder to develop. And yet the demands of the modern workplace are constantly growing, constantly evolving.
Supporting your colleagues is a moral and ethical duty of every person in time of need. Some may say that the source of support is just as important as the content of these comforting words. Then again, there are some thoughts that we don’t know for sure how much they can mean until we receive them.
In the past year, the world has become reliant on technology to stay connected, which has had a huge impact on the nature of the workforce. It is predicted that 40% of the labour force is currently working remotely or working from home full-time.
The way we talk to one another is influenced by our surroundings. It is entirely normal for a person to speak more informally with close family members and friends, for example than with a work colleague.
But in a quasi-evolutionary sense, language as a whole can adapt to the pressures of its environment. You might already be familiar with terms such as journalese, legalese, academese and even professionalese. The suffix ‘-lese’ is rare. There are only 52 words in the entire language that end with it. Generally, it exists to highlight the exclusiveness of the prefix to itself.
For example, ‘journalese’ refers to the type of language exclusive to journalism, and mainly the tabloid press. Because the duty of journalists is to convey information quickly and unambiguously, and in as fewer words as possible (to fit in headlines and short word counts), the use of English within journalistic circles took on a life of its own. The same is true for the technical and formal language of legal documents (legalese), scientific papers, and on a still formal — but less technical — front, as business English.
Business English is the type of English that is most often used in business. Including international trade, finance, insurance, banking, in office settings, and so on.
Whereas journalese is criticised for depreciating the English language, and to many academese is unreadable for anyone unfamiliar with the jargon, business English is designed to be as clear as possible. Leaving no room for interpretation.
This is because if you aren’t super clear with your business writing, you are likely wasting your reader’s time (and worse, putting yourself at the risk of losing money).
Unlike journalese, business English avoids clichés at all costs, cultural idioms, and phrasal verbs. Business English is supposed to be engaging, but never does it try to overcompensate for what it actually is. This is also especially important when dealing with international trade. After all, if your customers are not English speakers by mother tongue, then unnecessary idioms will only serve to undermine the clarity of your writing. Journalese, on the other hand, is often criticised for flavouring language in order to make a mundane story seem more interesting.
Due to centuries of European and British expansionism, English is now one of the most common first-languages in the world. With hundreds of millions of speakers in North America, Europe and Oceania. But the number of first-language speakers pales in comparison to the number of people who are learning English as a secondary language — which is estimated at around a billion.
Because the United States is the current culturally dominant and major economic power, it is beneficial for opportunistic enterprises in non-English speaking countries to learn the language, so that they can engage with the English-speaking business world. The result is that specific courses in Business English are taught all over the world to international students.
And because there are so many different aspects to business, some have argued that there are different splinter-factions of business English, including: “networking English”, “presentational English”, and so on. Where the degrees of formality, clarity and politeness are all tweaked.
Even in different roles, the language of business English can be expected to change. For example, in the field of project management, one can expect to absorb an entire thesaurus of words that are largely confined to that area of expertise. Words such as “authorisation”, “deliverable”, “completed product” and “majority opinion” are all common enough in project management. But less so outside of that area.
Business English not only dictates how you speak, but it also to a lesser extent dictates how you should behave. The way we speak is a manifestation of how we should behave: professionally, polite, and courteously. This means that if there is a disagreement at work, then the only really acceptable way to respond is with diplomacy and maturity. Bluntness and tactlessness are also frowned upon in the business English-speaking world.
The way we both behave and speak in the business English world is manifest in how we present ourselves at job interviews. The goal, after all, is to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the role. So your bodily mannerisms need to back up the way you speak. With maturity and diplomacy.
A neat example of this is the so-called “Sandwich Rule”. Where if a person is required to give feedback — and that feedback is negative — they have to start gently with positive feedback, before going then on into the negatives.
Business English also requires different mindsets for different situations. A more academic attitude during presentations and public speaking, for example, and a more direct communication mindset during conversations with bosses and colleagues. This often means downplaying regional accents and focusing more on pronunciation and phraseology.
Nothing has been left untouched by social media over the last decade. All its problems aside, social media has brought some degree of everyday genuineness into business English. Particularly in how it has captured the kind of spoken-word that is more informally used amongst friends and family. This is almost certainly because more and more businesses are advertising on social media platforms, and so have to capture the tone in order to fit in.
It is now more common than ever for sales copy and for professionals to use emojis, informal words, and even memes and GIFs to reach out to the customer base. The impact has even slightly made its way into tangible, real office spaces. For example, with the growth of digital marketing companies equipped with recreation rooms (and even office “pubs”), relaxed uniform requirements, and so on.
But the tenants of core business English have still not gone away. Informalities or not, everyone is still expected to communicate clearly. And to be pleasant, courteous, polite, and still very formal when it is necessary.
We can expect the very core of business English to endure for the foreseeable future, even as the boundaries of formality/informality begin to fuzz. Even with the increased culture of working from home, businessmen and women are still expected to suit up for important Zoom and Skype meetings, if only from the waist up.
About the Author
Lewis Dartnell is a senior transcriber at McGowan Transcriptions, a company that specialises in transcribing and translating a variety of documents, audio formats, group discussions, interviews, and more.
Employee engagement can affect your business in so many ways. It influences efficiency on the floor, improves retention rates and, in many cases, it could also positively affect the number of incidents. Yet, so many businesses either don’t care much about engagement or don’t know how to foster it in their organisation. The first step in having an engaged workforce is making sure that you are hiring motivated employees. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.
You will have to take the first step if you want to make sure that you attract the right type of talent to your company. It all starts with how you advertise your position. You have to structure your ads to make sure that your culture is reflected and attracts people who are the right fit. If your ads look uninspired and bland, this is exactly what you’ll get back.
However, you also have to make sure that you follow through and that the working environment is a true reflection of your ads. You’d be surprised at how many employees end up leaving positions because they felt misled in the interview.
They end up finding out that the employees, culture, or the job itself is completely different than what was sold to them during pre-screening. There is no point in trying to trick employees. It would be a better idea to paint an accurate picture so that you’ll at least have someone that fits your profile and won’t be disappointed.
Culture is about more than creating a fun environment. It’s also about the modernity of your processes. It’s about communication between upper management, supervisors, and employees. It’s about creating chances for advancement and education. It’s also about the job duties and how much is expected from every employee. These are all things that will ultimately dictate what kind of employee you’ll be able to not only bring in but actually retain.
Another thing you should consider is looking at apprenticeship options. You have sites like Embracing Future Potential that are great for people looking for apprenticeships, as well as businesses trying to learn more about different apprenticeship schemes. You’ll be able to learn more about how to recruit apprentices and how to get the most out of them. They also have valuable information for employers who want to learn about funding schemes for hiring apprentices.
Apprentices have the advantage of coming in fresh and are less likely to be disillusioned by the job. And, if you treat them right, they will have a positive view of you and the field. These will often turn into your most loyal employees and could become very valuable assets on the floor.
Hiring motivated and engaged employees is not always an easy task. However, if you go in with the right plan and are consistent, you’ll be able to increase the chance of hiring people who are actually excited about working in your organisation.
I have been fascinated with the Burnout syndrome for many years now since having my own episode of Burnout. The symptoms of burnout are; feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy. This came after years of working long hours in a stressful role as director building my first company with hardly any sleep. The result was a crash! I was in mess physically, mentally and socially. It was not until I was recommended to try yoga, cardiovascular exercises and mindfulness that I made any improvements. Then after a few weeks of getting some running in followed by yoga and mindfulness, I felt like my symptoms had all but gone. The fact was that those symptoms had not actually gone so quickly but I felt so much better so quickly it felt like I had made a full recovery. (more…)