Founder’s letter: making remote working work for us
The office has looked a little different over the past 12 months. Spaces with the best light have become Zoom corners, beds and sofas have doubled up as break out areas, and checking in with your direct report whilst wearing pyjama bottoms is not a sentence I would have expected to write a year ago.
Since 2018, Kindred has been my office, and with the hospitality industry affected by government lockdowns, my office has also looked a little different, too. I run a team that spans front of house, marketing, hospitality, membership, and events. I’m lucky to work with a group of talented and eager people. But, of course, the current circumstances have thrown up various challenges for us all, regardless of how we work. Here are the three things I’d like to share with other business leaders on how we’ve maintained connectivity within the workplace.
No relationship works without trust, and a working relationship is no different. In pre-Covid times there may have been the feeling that staff ‘couldn’t be trusted’ to work from home and that productivity would decrease without the watchful eye of a line manager.
I think Covid has shown us that most people are quite responsible when it comes to meeting deadlines and doing what they’re supposed to do. Remote working is no longer seen as a “lesser type of working” or an invitation to skive; I think the past few months have shown us just how much can be done in silo, and equally, it’s shone a light on the importance of team bonding and the charge that comes from being a physical space with familiar faces.
At Kindred, we have a range of spaces for small teams to collaborate in a socially distanced way, and our meeting rooms offer a private space for team meetings, brainstorms and check-ins. We expect a “hybrid” way of working in future, which is why we’re open for those who want to spend their days in a place they can trust but perhaps on a more part time or flexible basis.
I have been thinking about the concept of productivity and where it fits into our lives during these new times — how some people use it as an indicator of routine, professional worth, or even as a way to cope with uncertainty. I have been exploring what it means for my own work, in considering how to strike a balance between being productive and managing the personal impact of being a business owner during a pandemic.
Now, I place a different value on the outcomes of work. For example, this lockdown I have asked the team to bring to the table any big, bold ideas they may have on how they want to see Kindred being used.
Some are developing side hustles into online businesses, others are super passionate about a cause and want to invite new collaborators and innovators into the space. These creative concepts are valuable, and it’s important to make time for this kind of thinking rather than getting buried in the day-to-day.
I see Kindred as our space and this time is an opportunity to learn, grow, and let our true passions emerge so that Kindred remains the exciting, ideas-hub that it is.
Kindred was founded as a way to combat disconnectedness in this city and we are all too aware of how loneliness affects mental wellbeing and quality of life. The physical and mental wellbeing of my staff is a top priority, and during the past year, it’s been important to me that we’ve been able to communicate openly and comfortably with each other.
We have fortnightly team check-ins and I am always a phone call away for those who need it. I am humbled by the Women of the Future Kindness In Leadership Award the team nominated me for last year, but really I feel that it’s time every modern business owner sees the person behind the job title and is able to be honest and, if appropriate, vulnerable with their team at this time.
If you are a fellow local business owner and this resonates with you, please feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn or get in touch to discuss how being part of the Kindred community can work for you and your team.
Featured image Kate Jackson photography
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