By Brad Ead, Partner and NFP Specialist AFS & Associates
We survived 2020 and the new ‘COVID normal’ world is upon us. After a year of working from home for many office workers, we have all had insight into the convenience of working from home and most of us would like it to continue in some way in the future. Teams have the tools, they don’t miss the commute to work and they have proven that working from home can be effective.
So can they do this all the time?
As a leader in your Not-For-Profit (NFP) you should be considering what this will look like in your organisation going forward. You have the front line team members – delivering programs and services and are customer facing! Mostly, your back of house team members have been fine working from home, but if they are offered the flexibility permanently will it create tension with the customer facing team in the office? Will you lose or fail to attract employees for these roles?
Permanently enabling flexibility to work from home (WFH) and/or flexible hours is a change in employment conditions for most organisations, requiring negotiation and agreement (per the Employment Lawyers). It might be time to have that chat to them!
But what other impacts exist around WFH/flexible hours?
Here’s a few to consider:
Your well-established employees are fine. They know their job inside out and understand the expectations of their job and their managers. They’ve built the trusted relationships, understand your entity’s values and live and breathe your culture.
What about the new-comers?
This is where you need to invest some time thinking about the risks posed. Will your workforce become segmented between the pre-COVID team vs. the new employees?
Will you see turnover in the post-covid employees because:
This is certainly something NFP leaders need to identify solutions around as they start to open back up their offices.
We’ve all heard about the Bruce Tuckman model of team development (first proposed in 1965) – the 4 Phases of:
The flaw of this model was that it didn’t have a foot-note for applying the theory in geographically segregated teams. However, an old (2004) study titled Managing the life cycle of virtual teams noted “there is growing evidence that virtual teams fail more often than they succeed”. The study observed some virtual team operating and came up with some solutions.
The tips to overcome these team-building challenges remain poignant today:
Don’t miss an opportunity to leverage the hybrid work structures COVID has introduced us to. However, don’t walk straight in without adequate planning – particularly for your new team members. AFS can help you with reviewing your corporate services function. Call Brad Ead for a chat about your organisation. Call 03 5443 0344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s next for NFPs in the bright new post-COVID world?