https://www.bonnielowkramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/WhyYouNeedto-CareAbout-TheNo-Fly-Zones-on-YourTeam-LowKramen.png 445 626 Bonnie Low-Kramen /wp-content/uploads/2020/08/bonnie-low-logo.png Bonnie Low-Kramen2023-12-22 13:34:012023-12-22 13:34:01Why You Need to Care About the No-Fly Zones on Your Team
By Bonnie Low-Kramen for Executive Support Magazine | November 2023
If the pandemic showed us anything, it is that time is our most precious commodity. The new hybrid and remote workplace has changed all the rules regarding time and work schedules of the staff. People have their No-Fly Zones.
No-Fly Zones are the non-negotiable time constraints that employees now have as part of their lives – deal-breakers of a sort. The pandemic created a work environment that was unprecedented.
How did this happen? Suddenly no longer forced to travel into an office, many staff had the chance to have dinner with their families for the first time in a long time. Children were able to have regular access to their parents. Staff experienced a flexibility and a freedom that many had never known. Improved quality of life has brought us to no-fly zones and there is no going back.
Existential Crisis Brewing?
The workplace of 2023 is one where managers want staff back in the office and staff are struggling to comply while holding onto their flexible schedules. There is a growing conflict brewing in many companies. Staff are wanting to understand why they need to go back to the commute. Some are simply refusing to come back, which can be a crisis for leadership. Managers are being tested as never before.
What is emerging is a variety of work schedules that are being decided upon by managers and their teams in a collaborative way. One company is mandating staff coming into the office 11 days out of every month and it is up to the team to decide what that looks like.
Another company has instituted a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in-office schedule which was designed after polling the team. Even in these arrangements, compromise is needed.
What is clear is that there is a benefit to having staff work with one another in-person, at least part of the time. What is also turning out to be true is that the most successful teams are led by managers who are respecting their staffs’ no-fly zones.
No-Fly Zone Case Studies: Make or Break Decisions
- Beth is a divorced mom and gets her kids every Wednesday night. She has a lengthy and trafficky commute so this means that Beth needs to leave work by 3:30PM every Wednesday. The team knows to not schedule meetings that require Beth at this time.
- Mike needs to work at home every Monday because he takes a family member to chemo treatments.
- CEO Jennifer was happily surprised that the most successful team event of the year was a barbecue that she hosted at her home. Staff were invited to bring their families and everyone truly enjoyed meeting one another. Everyone saw the value of being together in person and have asked to keep doing it.
Leaders who take the time to ask about each team member’s no-fly zone are seen as caring humans. Leaders who respond positively are the ones who have the most stable teams. In exchange for flexibility, staffers go above and beyond and ensure their work is getting done, even if it means hitting deadlines outside of regular work hours.
No-fly zones imposed by staff require managers who are committed to fair treatment among staff and hold the team accountable for following the rules that they helped design. And when life situations change, it is the leader who responds with compassion who have a line-up of candidates who want to work with him/her.
Set-Up For Success
For no-fly zones to be successful, leaders and staff need to be committed to getting the work completed on deadline and with excellent results, communicating clearly along the way.
Don’t be the bottleneck and the reason that a project is stalled since everyone’s work is often dependent on others. Every member on a team needs to care about avoiding burnout and maintaining a no-drama environment as they navigate their workload. If the tasks become overwhelming, it is imperative for managers to stay on top of the project timelines and who is doing what.
The biggest difference in the workplace of 2023 compared to 2019 is that hybrid work is here to stay. It is increasingly rare for staff to be required to go into the office 5 days. It has become normalized and supported to reveal family commitments and have them integrated into the workday.
Some managers are concerned about a them vs. us two-class society among the team – the people who go into the office and those who don’t. It will remain to be seen the impact of no-fly zones on productivity and team connections as we head into 2024.
I am Bonnie Low-Kramen, TEDx speaker, author of Staff Matters, People-Focused Solutions for the Ultimate New Workplace and Be the Ultimate Assistant and trainer of Executive Assistants all over the world. As part of my work to build ultimate business partnerships, I was published in Harvard Business Review and featured in a Forbes online cover story.
I have spoken in 13 countries and clients include Wharton, Starbucks, and the British Parliament. I am excited to work with you towards building your ultimate workplace. Click here to set up a time to speak with me about your training needs which can be delivered virtually or in person.
This article first appeared in Executive Support Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe through us. Visit the website at www.executivesupport.com to find out more or to get your 30% discount email email@example.com and tell them we sent you.