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Summer Top Tips Digested

summer top tipsA summary of the actions suggested in this month’s The Bottom Line for those with limited time.

From CAPITALISING on the Olympics

  1. Encourage staff to plan their leave early.  Highlight the fact that during the Games there may be popular events which people want to watch.  Since there will also be other staff on annual leave, those who want to take an occasional day, need to plan sooner than would normally be the case.
    Set a deadline for leave applications, and be clear about how you will manage conflicts if you cannot release everyone.
  2. Consult staff as to what they would want to watch if you can set up a TV in the workplace.  It’s not a good idea for everyone to pile into reception to watch the TV that’s permanently there, so think about a location where all employees would be comfortable watching – the last thing you want is for production workers to be excluded from the MD’s office, because the office staff got there first!
    Remember that there will be some people who are not interested in sport, and they will not appreciate colleagues not pulling their weight because they’re watching TV. 
    Make it clear to everyone, for instance, that work time spent watching an event must be made up.
  3. The Games present you with a wonderful opportunity to experiment with flexible working, which may be particularly important if you are located in London or the South East.  The Government have, for instance, announced that up to 40% of Whitehall civil servants will be asked to work from home to ease congestion during the Olympics.
    Engage your staff in a discussion about how they will get to work on time during this period.  This will show them that you still expect good timekeeping, but also give you the opportunity to introduce some flexibility.
    Could you introduce ‘flexi time’ on a short term basis, or could some jobs be done from home.  Remember to make it clear that any arrangements are temporary!
  4. Look out for special opportunities to rally support for particular events.  Is your product used at any of the venues, is there a local athlete competing, or, is one of your customers involved in some way.
    Events like this, or those that occur at the end of a working day could provide opportunities for a social event, but remember to be sensitive about those who don’t like sport, don’t drink (perhaps for religious reasons), or support another country.
  5. If TVs are not possible, can you allow staff to watch events or download video clips on their PCs or laptops.  Your normal IT policy may not allow this, and, in any case, it may have a debilitating effect on your systems, so think ahead about whether this is going to be possible.
    Remember also, that whether it is TV or over the internet, you will still need, at least, a TV licence.

From Resilience and Growth from the Shadows

  1. Identify the key people in the team and quantify the risk they represent if they were to be removed from the team without notice.
  2. Prioritise their roles. Where in their daily work are you most exposed. Which tasks do they do, which relationships do they maintain that couldn’t be quickly picked up by others.
  3. Begin allocating shadows. Shadows are other staff members who will learn these key processes and become involved with the key relationships. Consider making them mutual so staff members cover for each other.
  4. Document progress on projects and key relationships using systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Project Control Systems. Many these days are in the ‘cloud’ and cost effective to use. Eliminate knowledge held on post its or in employees’ heads as far as possible.
  5. Have shadows schedule regular one to one sessions where they update each other on the current position.
  6. Agree triggers that will activate the shadow to cover the roles in the absence of the usual role holder.

From A Personal Balancing Act

  • Schedule your leisure time into your diary – and take it when scheduled
  • Ensure that there are team members who can shadow you.
  • Take regular breaks in the working day.
  • Move away from that computer many of us spend hours in front of and take some minor exercise.
  • Walk around the office and talk, with no agenda, to the people you encounter. The conversations can be on any subject, not just business. Use conversations to take the temperature of the business and to share key messages with employees.
  • Don’t schedule back to back to back meetings – allow breaks and run meetings to time.
  • Get outside if the weather is fine. Find ways to do business alfresco. One to one meetings whilst walking work very well and the outcomes are often much better than sitting in a stuffy room.
  • Be very aware of the signals you are giving off unconsciously. Have someone you trust give you feedback from time to time.
  • Check for the signs of stress developing into something unhealthy.

Finally, remember your Academy Group is an invaluable resource of knowledge, experience and support. Find out more at

Have a successful and profitable Summer!


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