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Tackling #TheBeastFromTheEast with trust and empowerment

Flexible working is not all about technology

At 7am this morning the directors at Waterstons invoked our business continuity plans for our Durham and Glasgow offices. The weather overnight had been treacherous and the snow was still falling quite heavily. We felt it was our duty as leaders to put the safety of our staff first and make sure they didn’t risk trying to get into the office.

We contacted our business continuity management team, emailed all our staff and told them to sit tight until further notice. Then our clients were contacted and all necessary arrangements were made to make sure we could continue to provide services either remotely, or if absolutely necessary onsite.

By 9am we had a full roll call of all our staff and where they were working, all relevant clients had been contacted and action plans in place. All of this was possible because we invested in the right technology (all our staff can work remotely, from any location), we have a credible business continuity plan and most important of all, we have the right business culture. But why is our culture the crucial piece of the jigsaw?

  1. We encourage flexible working, which means people can choose where and when they want to work, whether the snow is falling or not! We have technology in place that can support this, which incidentally also provides great business continuity opportunities.

  2. We have trusted relationships with our clients, which means we work together when issues arise. Our clients were fantastic this morning in responding to us.

  3. Our staff are trusted and empowered, everyone responded quickly this morning and as I write this everyone is at home on-line working, although we have said we want to see the pictures of snowmen in back gardens at some point in the day!

  4. We have a culture of pro-activity and innovation. Our business continuity plans have been in place for a long time, and there are brainy people who work for us that make all this possible!

I’m aware that some of my friends and family felt obliged to head into their workplaces today, regardless of the risk and impact on productivity. Of course, not every business can work remotely, especially public servants who look after us and keep things moving. Our action today also meant there were 100 fewer cars on the roads this morning, making it a little bit less congested for those that needed to be physically at work.

We do this because we care for our staff, but it also helps with team camaraderie, productivity and of course great customer service!

Carving out Evergreen | North East Change Management Network

11 September 2018 , Durham Office

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