3 December This is Me welcomes new Programme Manager Bethan
How to create a thriving modern workplace by Thrive Law
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, Jodie Hill and Alicia Collinson at Thrive Law navigate modern workplace challenges and how your employees work best:
Let’s think back to the 'typical' (or perhaps, cliché, but go with me…) office workplaces of the 90s and early 00s. Everyone treks into the city on a train or a bus, or drives in, to arrive at the office before 9am. They sit at a desk on a large desktop computer; sometimes they even sit in cubicles with dividers between themselves and their colleagues. The post arrives and letters are placed into different 'mail in' and 'mail out' boxes.
Employees may attend meetings where they all chat over ideas and it’s someone’s role to take notes and disseminate them afterwards through internal messaging systems. Employees may chat over lunch breaks or by the water cooler and may go for drinks after work. Then it's back to commuting home, where they might not arrive until after 6 or 7pm. If they have children, it may be a quick goodnight before they go to sleep. If they want to exercise, they will have to have done it either first thing in the morning, or later in the evening.
It’s easy to see the changes in opportunities for self-care and giving workers time to ensure they have time for the things they value, over and above work
If we think, just briefly, about the day-to-day life of office workers historically, it’s easy to identify how much has changed. And it’s easy to see the changes in opportunities for self-care and giving workers time to ensure they have time for the things they value, over and above work. It’s also clear that, perhaps, new models of working have lost opportunities for collaboration and interaction if we’re exclusively away from our offices. However, I would suggest one of the biggest opportunities afforded by changes to workplace practices, typically moving toward a hybrid or remote model, are that we have been given greater opportunities to enhance when our employees work best, and ensure they work smart.
Ordinary 9-5 office environments don’t take advantage that Aiden best works in the morning while Ben may work best late at night after his children have gone to sleep. Additionally, it may be that Charlie struggles to work well in an office environment and needs a quiet environment to focus on other tasks, whereas Dale thrives off the energy of others and needs that collaborative environment to stay motivated.
Ordinary 9-5 office environments don’t take advantage that Aiden best works in the morning while Ben may work best late at night after his children have gone to sleep
All of these factors can, and should, be taken into account in how to make a workplace as happy and healthy as possible, but also how to make it the most productive it can be.
Here at Thrive Law, we all prepare documents called “Licences to Thrive”. These are personalised documents to each employee which outlines how we work best and what our ideal environment is. It highlights the best times for us to work at our best, but also where and how we can be flexible, and gives us opportunities to share what external factors may influence our availability and our work. For those of us with disabilities, employees can share what reasonable adjustments may be in place, or perhaps how those disabilities may display and what colleagues can do to support them. Our Thrive Tribe have also explored what kind of personality they are and what their motivating and demotivating factors are, understanding how we communicate best and how we best receive feedback, and share that on our licences too.
For those of us with disabilities, employees can share what reasonable adjustments may be in place, or perhaps how those disabilities may display and what colleagues can do to support them
Preparing the licences also encourages employees to practice self-awareness; if someone asked you how you work best, would you know the answer? Once employees are encouraged to give some thought to this, you tend to see a quick improvement in their engagement and productivity.
The licences are full of personality and information, but are also key to ensuring our teams run smoothly and everyone can work at their best. Everyone works better together when we come from a place of understanding and commonality; and the licences also form part of a great induction process where you can already feel you know the team before you even tart.
From a management perspective, it helps to manage who perhaps will work best together, or where there may be a clash in terms of values or working methods or styles of communication and learning.
It also means that our team can truly work smarter not harder, in an environment where they’re not put into boxes (or back into cubicles!) but instead feel they can truly be heard and be allowed to communicate and work at their best. This, in turn, increases our attendance and retention and means our employees can truly thrive in an inclusive culture.
Our team can truly work smarter not harder, in an environment where they’re not put into boxes
We can provide bespoke Licences to Thrive for our employer clients, identifying what information they can and should collate and how to ensure employee buy-in, and consultancy support on implementing these and how best to use them in any organisation. If you feel that you could use our expertise to enhance your employee experience, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Watch Jodie Hill, Founder of Thrive Law and This is Me Yorkshire Chair, lead our This is Me Spring Event here