‘It’s made our team stronger’: how CIPHR’s employees have adjusted to remote working

‘It’s made our team stronger’: how CIPHR’s employees have adjusted to remote working

Increased communication has been key to maintaining productivity and team morale, say our staff

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Increased communication has been key to maintaining productivity and team morale, say our staff

Remote working is now the new norm for many of us. A recent survey by the ONS has found that 46% of UK adults in employment are working from home – including all of CIPHR’s 130-plus staff. Even for a company and team that’s used to working flexibly part of the time, this switch has meant changes in the way that we work and collaborate with colleagues and customers. Here, some of our employees share how their teams have handled remote working.

Preya Patel, project delivery manager, says there has not been much change for CIPHR’s project and implementation team, despite everyone working remotely. “Our team is still in good spirits because we were already set up for remote working before the coronavirus outbreak.”

While she adds that social interaction has been different, she also says, “we are choosing to pick up the phone and speak to each other.

“You feel a duty of care to check in with each other – so instead of sending emails, we’re picking up the phone to keep that interaction going. Remote working has definitely made our team stronger, and made our communications with other departments stronger.”

Jo Holden, head of customer training, agrees: “Remote working has created more of a collaborative and supportive environment for the training team.

“In today’s situation, checking in with the team has become a routine part of the day, whereas before, our check-ins were more sporadic. We’re all now doing more to find out how each team member is doing and making sure they have the support they need to work from home.”

Technical operations manager Alex Barclay says the transition to remote working has been “absolutely seamless” for CIPHR’s service desk team – but more thought has had to be put towards maintaining team spirit.

“The service desk is a very close-knit team who very rarely work from home. They are always with each other and speaking to each other so, at times like this, we’ve had to make sure that we don’t lose the team spirit even though we are not together in the office.” Regular communication and daily video chats are helping to keep spirits high, he adds.

The way that CIPHR’s services are delivered is also being adjusted to take customers’ home-working environments into account. When it comes to training, Holden says, “we’re having to be more aware of the environment our customers are working in and whether or not they are able to accept training while remote working.

“Most CIPHR employees have access to a second screen which allows us to work more efficiently but, here in the training team, we’re having to remind ourselves that not all customers have the same setup as us, so right now might not be the best time to train them online.”

Holden adds: “We’ve had to introduce a training environment that enables us to train multiple delegates from multiple organisations. Customers are currently missing out on the ability to network and interact with other customers during on-site training, so we are taking the time to build on regular check-ins with delegates to make sure they are on track with their understanding of CIPHR.”

CIPHR’s own HR team has also had to make adjustments to how they support staff as they work fully remotely. Speaking to Personnel Today, Claire Williams – CIPHR’s head of people and services – said the HR team is having to think differently about onboarding new starters, as well as supporting existing employees.

“Where we can, we are onboarding people remotely, and thinking a bit creatively about how we make them feel part of the team.

“But for others – where the roles require a lot of face-to-face training or job shadowing, which we can’t do while social distancing applies – we’re having to postpone start dates.”

She adds: “Wherever we have the opportunity to show flexibility and goodwill back to employees, we have to do that. We’re taking a pragmatic approach, offering employees the option to shift their working hours, or break up their hours, for example.”

In an article for People Management, Williams also explained that HR activities now include making sure that any work equipment for new starters is shipped to IT staff’s home addresses to be configured, and then couriered to a secure locker where employees can collect it and avoid face-to-face contact.

Barclay adds that gathering more data about work performance has helped him have more visibility of what team members are working on. “In the office, we can talk to each other and see what someone on the team is working on but, now we’re working remotely, we’ve had to develop more reports to see how we’re performing. This allows us to keep an eye on what everyone is up to on a daily basis, see if they need any support, and maintain the high levels of customer satisfaction we have been seeing while our staff working from home.”

CIPHR’s team is here to help you during this time of uncertainty. Discover five ways we’re actively supporting customers right now.