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Is it going to bite you?

is it going to bite you - an image of a shark under the water staring at the camera with small fish swimming behind it.

Talking to someone recently who was bemoaning the level of negativity in her workplace characterising the ‘Office Politics’, it was interesting to hear her then say “But I’m only in one day a week now with hybrid working, so I can pretty much ignore it.”

When I thought about this afterwards, I concluded that yes, she is right, she can broadly avoid the issues and/or people in the office that are contributing to the negativity. However, I also thought about how she has not considered the potential negative outcomes that could result from this situation.

I think hybrid working has many benefits for our lives but if it means we are avoiding challenges and limiting our visibility and opportunities to collaborate then these are dangers that will 'bite' eventually.

In this article, I want to explore some of challenges that can be avoided when working more from home and the danger of avoiding them:

1.     Not having difficult conversations

The issue with this is that feelings and problems rarely completely disappear unless they are dealt with, especially if a situation/behaviour is likely to reoccur. Not dealing with it can build resentment, defensiveness and ultimately a negative professional relationship.

If this becomes too much the norm in an organisation, negative 'Office Politics' is the result. This leads to lack of collaboration, trust and knowledge sharing which slows productivity and decision-making and decreases staff retention. For individuals, it can lead to stress and an highly upleasant work environment which impacts day-to-day working and career progression. Even if you are only in the office one day a week, there can be a culmulative effect. You can read more on 'Office Politics' in this article.

How to have difficult conversations is a whole other article and will be at some point, but in the meantime - take time to think through the conversation(s) you need to have, consider the other person’s/people's perspective, listen and avoid presenting your views as facts, would be my top tips.

2.     Not making time for the people you manage

If you don’t make time for your team, they are more likely to become a burden rather than an asset. Have you been cancelling catch up meetings as you are so busy? You need to focus on building these relationships. Particularly as we are currently in a candidate’s market in most sectors, so it is easy for people to move organisations, if they don’t feel valued and engaged with their organisation.

Consider your team and think about the strength of the relationships and what you might need to focus on. Consider the day-to-day but also their career development so they know you have this in mind.

3.     Not managing upwards well

No matter what you think of your boss, make time for this relationship as this is pivotal to effective and productive day-to-day working. My recent article might help you consider more deeply how to do this.

 4.     Not building strategic relationships

It’s easy to ignore the less obvious relationships around you. Who needs to know you as they might influence your career progression in the future? Who influences the day-to-day work you do now? Who could you refer your clients to internally and vice versa?

Being in the office full-time and attending events and other meetings, this happens a lot more easily, even though I would always say you need to build a plan. However, if you don’t see these people very often due to increased home working, you need to be even more intentional and make a plan.

Even if not in the short-term, which of these is a risk? Which could cause you career and day-to-day working issues? It is tempting to neglect things when you don’t have to encounter the outcomes as frequently but I would strongly suggest you think about what you need to make time for.

If you haven’t already downloaded my Nine Skills needed for success then you can do so below.

If you’d like to talk to me about your career challenges or issues with those in your team, send me an email.