In this edition of Wundamail Voices, we catch up with the Founder of the HEARTLENT Group, Keith Stoeckeler, to get his take on what he believes will happen post-COVID and how leaders should be preparing.
To begin, what do you think the future of work looks like post-crisis?More empathy. At least I hope so. We've had to be more accommodating and patient during permanent WFH, and I hope all of that stays once people are back in offices. I hope we learn the positives from this. We're seeing coworker's kids, spouses, pets, their homes, all on video calls in order to get work done now. It's become all the more human in connecting with people you used to only connect with in an office environment. I hope we remember that first and foremost our coworkers are human and there is much more to them than we see in the office.
How should managers/leaders prepare for the future?Trust. Gone are the days (at least I hope) that we think productivity = being in the office for 40-hours per week. I hope that COVID-19 has shown managers that they can trust their people, that they will get their work done on top of all the other personal stuff they have had to navigate. Trust and empower your people to work hard, make the right decisions, and do right by you. Keeping them confined to an office for 40-hours weekly isn't the key.
What have you learned from the crisis? How will you be applying these lessons going forward?We relied too much on email. I tried to always follow the 3-email rule, where if it takes more than 3 emails to sort it out, you should probably pick up the phone. I've learned we've all gotten over the video call hurdle now, and it can be a communication method to add.
A lot gets lost in text communication, whether that is email or SMS, and phone is good but video calling is often better in a sense because we can see one another. We've had to find ways to connect more "in-person" without being there together and I will be using video calls more in the future.
Do you have any tips for kickstarting and managing your team when you return to the office?Have the conversation now if you haven't already about how each person prefers to work. Some of the team might be AM people, some might be PM people. That should be ok. If the PM people want to come in a little later because you both know they work more at home/in the evening, allow it. If the AM people want to leave early because you know they were productive that AM and typically are, allow it. Build a team that functions the best it can, especially right now - office or no office.
Keith Stoeckeler is Founder of HEARTLENT Group. He has 15-years of advertising agency experience via Dentsu, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis before founding HEARTLENT Group. He is a cheeseburger addict and typeface admirer, who won't eat at a restaurant based on the signage and menu font. Gin connoisseur and year-round iced coffee drinker. Husband, father of two, Boston Terrier owner and dog advocate, #airportliving ambassador, podcast host (wntbdt.com) + guest. You can find Keith on Twitter at @keiths or @heartlentgroup