Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says …
Flexible working for some: don’t let it stress out the others
“Someone’s got to stay and answer the phones” said Kareem the manager.
“I didn’t come here to be a telephonist” said Esmail, one of the best technicians on the maintenance team.
When the telephonist went to lunch, it was usually not too much trouble to ask someone to fill in. But that was when there had been thirty of them in the office. One phone-duty a month was not unreasonable.
Now it was more like once a fortnight, which was a bit different. A case for managing change and coping with possible workplace conflict.
It was all to do with this new flexible working – which was making life highly inflexible for the ones not entitled to it. That included the maintenance team, whose work could not be done at home.
Esmail was not the sort of person who would need counselling. He would simply look for a new job. It was Kareem who needed the counselling. He’d brought in the flexible working system himself, and saw it as a win-win situation – stress-free working conditions for large numbers, who might otherwise move on. But now Esmail would probably be moving on.
I reassured him that this was not the end of the world. He would simply have to adapt the system – probably engage two staff to divide the switchboard work between them, in addition to other duties. This would bump up his wage-bill a little. But that cost would be nothing compared to the advantage he had already gained in a generally happier workforce.
These ambitious new schemes are always liable to carry a downside, and you need to read the situation in the round – remembering, as always, that you can’t get something for nothing.
Understand the stages of crisis and trauma – with ‘Crucial Dialogue at Critical Moments!’ – just one of the Carole Spiers speeches that have decisively changed opinions.
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