Work-life balance. We talk about it all the time. It’s so important to make sure you have a balance between your work and home life – we’re big advocates of it here. But how good are we all at keeping the balance and should it even still be a ‘thing’?
There are many factors to be considered when addressing the work-life
balance argument – for me, they all centre around technology. Technology has
allowed us to change the once rigid working environment – with a set place of
work and working hours – to be much more fluid and relaxed. Which, although
positive in many ways, doesn’t help to keep the structure in place between your
work life and your social life.
Remote working allows us to work from anywhere, not just in the office. At home, on a train, in another office, even abroad. All you need is your laptop and phone and Wi-Fi connection and you’re away.
Flexitime gives employees the freedom to choose their hours to fit around their other commitments outside of work and can sometimes mean starting late but finishing late or, starting early to get an early finish.
Mobile phones and laptops are great because you can take them easily wherever you go, to work remotely. But this often comes with its own problems – if you use the same laptop or phone for both personal use and for work, it can be difficult to switch off. Many phones have emails and Slack and other forms of communication for work connected to them, which allows totally switching off from work almost impossible! Then, of course, there is the work WhatsApp groups, which can go off at any time, day or night.
All these technological factors blur the lines between your work life
and your home life. But is it necessarily a bad thing? In my opinion, the
freedom and flexibility businesses and employees now have, to work where and
when they want, is brilliant. And, although the factors blur the lines so work
can creep into your home life, it also means your home life can merge into work
life too – you are able to juggle other responsibilities around work, rather
than following a strict 9-5 Monday – Friday in the office. Having said that, it
is still important to make sure you keep a balance and sometimes – press the
To discuss further or to have a chat about your executive search, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.
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Starting a new role in shared services can be a little overwhelming. Imagine starting a new position managing a team in excess of 30, 50 or 100 people, with new systems and new processes, in a completely new environment.
Where would you start? Most of your first 30 days is a learning curve, and a chance to absorb as much info as possible. Break it down into smaller chunks…
First impressions count. It is important that you understand your team,
and they understand you. What are their frustrations, what makes them tick, and
what motivates them to go that extra mile? It is important to understand the
dynamics of the team initially and they understand your reasons for being
hired. Most managers within a shared service are appointed to make change and
drive efficiencies within their function. The whole team need to understand the
journey you’re on as they will be a fountain of knowledge to help you reach it.
Define your role:
Why have you been appointed? Most roles within shared service have a
purpose, and you need to define your existence in the role and what you are
there to achieve. The team need to understand your motivations too, so you need
to be transparent around this and what you are trying to achieve. This way the
team will understand why changes are being made.
business and culture:
What is the business strategy? What are the business’ long term goals?
Is it to reduce costs, headcount, make processes more efficient or to grow the
team to manage an acquisition? Whatever it is, your team in most cases need to
be aware of it, to understand your vison and to help you achieve the journey
that you’re on. Understanding the product or service of the business is key, as
you will need to think outside the box and consider any challenges that the
business may face, and how that will impact the wider shared service.
Evaluate your own
Monitoring your performance over a 30, 60, and 90-day period is
important. Set yourself achievable objectives, short and long term based on
what you have set out with your line manager. Once you’ve set yourself these
objectives, it is important not just to deliver them but to go above an beyond.
What were your
observations in the first 30 days?
Start by looking back on your first 30 days. What have you achieved,
what objectives did you meet/not meet and how realistic were they?
Did you identify any risks, skills shortages or areas for improvement?
This is the perfect time to reflect on your observations and speak up.
What needs to be changed? Is it people, process or systems? This is
where you will need to consider the changes you want to drive, and again what
impact this may have on the wider business. Most importantly, your team, key
stakeholders, and wider business should all be ‘bought in’ to the change agenda
and just as importantly your customers and suppliers should be too, if the
changes could potentially affect them.
Start building your
own personal brand
It’s important to start building your own personal brand and be
recognised for doing things well. You want to use this next 30 days to really
step up and show people why you were hired, and what you do well. By now you
should have established relationships within the business and have started to
help develop your team and potentially upskill them in in certain areas. By now
you should understand your key stakeholders too, and how much influence is
Get some feedback
It is important now that you obtain regular feedback to ensure your
vision aligns with your line managers. Talk around your observations, and
future planning, and some of the key points you’re considering changing.
Plan, plan, plan…..
Create an internal
Align your plan with the business, and create your own strategy and objectives to share with your team and stakeholders, so they have a clear understanding of the journey you’re on.
After spending 60 days analysing and absorbing info, it’s now time to
present your findings. Show your stakeholders your problems and create
solutions of how to make improvements and how you will measure success.
Now it’s time to really get your sleeves rolled up and start making the
Making a good first impression is important when you’re starting any
management role, and by now your confidence should have grown and you will have
made an impact on the team in some shape or form. Planning your first 30,90 and
60 days is important if you want to achieve your goals.
In my case, chemistry was at the heart of the recruitment
company I started nearly 5 years ago.
My degree was in organic chemistry, the main purpose of the
degree was to make a chemical called Chrysanthemic acid. Now, you weren’t just
measured on succeeding in making it, but on the purity of the final chemical
that was made, as well as the % amount that you made from the starting
This meant that you had to work out the processes needed to
make this more effective – i.e. you needed a more refined process.
“Developed or improved
so as to be precise or subtle.”
When launching my business, people were always saying how
poor recruitment firms were and that they didn’t do a great job. I didn’t want
my firm to be perceived in the same light.
I took the decision to launch a business that would
continually try to improve and refine what it did until it became refined
Now, unfortunately, someone had taken the web domain I
wanted, so it made sense to think of an alternative, hence the name refind
(Well we do find candidates after
And so re:find was born…
To chat to me about re:find you can email me
You can view more about James Cumming our
change and business transformation specialist here.
Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you
should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.