I have always been so aware of how lucky we are to have such a fantastic team at Sewell Wallis – we consider ourselves a family, however now we have had 8 weeks apart I am aware that we can’t just take that great team feel for granted. So how do we make sure that we remain in touch, that we look after each other and we retain that special bond. I have seen many blogs and articles over the last few weeks on managing remotely and setting objectives. With some of the team on furlough leave that’s not relevant, but even for those that are still working I truly believe our first priority has to be about them and how they are feeling.
So what have we done over the last few weeks?
Weekly team video call sessions – yes I know everyone is doing them however as I have already alluded ours are about us and rarely about work. We have of course been transparent about or ongoing plans and how we are managing the business over the last few months, however our focus has always been looking out for each other personally. It’s all so natural, everyone gets involved and we cover so much: new hobbies and interests, meeting each other’s pets and kids, laughing at dodgy fringes and the occasional shaved head, comparing exercise and eating habits and the bizarre list goes on. I have realised how much we actually laugh together and what a hilarious bunch they all are.
Inclusion – Obviously the world of recruitment has slowed down which has given myself and the rest of the Sewell Wallis management team an opportunity to review our policies, dress code and working hours, amongst so much more. We were lucky that just before we went into lockdown we had conducted an anonymous survey with the help of Alpaca (www.alpaca.uk.com ) regarding what benefits and cultural beliefs are important to our people - all of our planning has been based around what will continue to keep our fantastic team happy. One of the key changes was to allow much more flexibility on hours, including start and finish times and regular remote working is now a long term expectation of ours – after all they have all proven their ability to remain just as effective, whilst gaining a better work life balance. Our revised Sewell Wallis handbook is being completed with a big emphasis on our new expectations around flexible working, a dress for the day policy and ensuring personal wellbeing and work life balance is achieved.
Despite the new normal, this isn’t normal! I am so aware that this period affects everyone in different ways so I am always available for everyone on the phone or by zoom – just to listen and support when and if they need it. However I am also encouraging the team to chat often to each other as we all have so much to offer but we are also flagging up to each other the members of the team that we feel need a bit of a boost. Last week we sent a box of sweets to everyone, it didn’t cost a lot and it wasn’t hard to organise but it was received so well and gave them all a smile – but most importantly it reminded them that they are missed. It really shows you that it’s the little gestures that matter the most to people and just showing each other that we are thinking of them.
Building an exciting future together– I appreciate it’s sometimes tough to find a positive in these unusual times however it’s so important to make the best of it and look forward to a positive and exciting future. We have new members joining the team once we return and we have included the whole team in bringing them aboard, many have met them via video call, messaged via LinkedIn and been involved in their training plans but most importantly they have been aware of our new recruits every step of the way.
We are by no means special but we are lucky and I think the awareness of that and not being complacent is the key. Whilst I have waxed lyrical on what we are doing for the team I should also add what it does for me – I feel so grateful and lucky to have our Sewell Wallis family but they have also worked wonders on keeping me positive and cheerful and have constantly supported me.
Stay safe everyone and keep smiling.