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Return-to-office dress codes, executive job titles & leadership ‘voice’


In this month’s myGrapevine magazine leadership roundup, we look at whether leaders should enforce a dress code as staff head back to the office, whether the coronavirus pandemic has changed executive job titles, and how bosses can improve their leadership ‘voice’ at work. Aside from this, and with many employers currently faced with a talent crisis, we take a look at the business case for a four-day work week...

 

Should leaders enforce a dress code amid office return?

 

Should leaders enforce a dress code amid office return?

As more employers and staff head back to the office, and following the news that MPs have been told to smarten up their clothing when they return to the Commons, the topic of work dress codes is back under the spotlight.

It’s sparked a question around whether it is necessary to wear traditional work attire to the office. In a recent interview with the BBC, Foot Locker Chief Executive, Richard Johnson, noted that he believes the benefits of prioritising comfort over formality will propel most workers to shun their smart clothes.

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He said: "As people do go back, I think their wardrobe will change, their uniform will change a bit. But I don't think it'll go back to 'more formal'. I think it will still be fairly casual, it will be a new level of business casual in my opinion."

His comments align with various studies which have pointed towards the benefits of casual wear in the workplace. For example, a study from Stitchmine found that 87% of employees believe a casual policy improves morale, whilst 47% believes that it positively impacts their productivity.

How leaders can improve leadership ‘voice’

Regardless of whether you are a leader speaking to six people in the boardroom, or six thousand people in a conference, public speaking is a concept that many find stressful.

Some of the most famous speakers, including Winston Churchill, have had to overcome challenges in this area.

Marjorie North, a Speech Pathologist and Lecturer at Harvard University, told NBC that the acute anxiety – commonly referred to as ‘stage fright’ – that people feel before speaking to a crowd is inevitable.

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“When your heart starts pounding, you’re sweating, your hands are shaking, your knees are shaking, and you feel like you’re going to pass out – that’s the way everybody feels,” she said.

So, how can leaders improve their own skills in this area? As North pointed towards, being okay with your nervousness, taking your time, and putting yourself in the shoes of your audience are some ways to combat this.

How leaders can improve leadership ‘voice’

 

Regardless of whether you are a leader speaking to six people in the boardroom, or six thousand people in a conference, public speaking is a concept that many find stressful. Some of the most famous speakers, including Winston Churchill, have had to overcome challenges in this area.

Marjorie North, a Speech Pathologist and Lecturer at Harvard University, told NBC that the acute anxiety – commonly referred to as ‘stage fright’ – that people feel before speaking to a crowd is inevitable.

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“When your heart starts pounding, you’re sweating, your hands are shaking, your knees are shaking, and you feel like you’re going to pass out – that’s the way everybody feels,” she said.

So, how can leaders improve their own skills in this area? As North pointed towards, being okay with your nervousness, taking your time, and putting yourself in the shoes of your audience are some ways to combat this.

 

Has the pandemic changed executive job titles?

 

Has the pandemic changed executive job titles?

The pandemic has sparked many changes to work, with some ability to work remotely now a widespread expectation for many prospective and incumbent staff.While this has caused a huge shift in where work is completed, some are changing leadership functions to manage this.

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With many employers now touting the ‘work from anywhere’ perk, some companies have decided to create leadership positions to exclusively handle this change going forward.

There are advents of titles such as ‘Chief Remote Officer’ – there to handle a global talent pool, and the technology need to facilitate this type of working.

With a digital-first future on the cards for many employers, a ‘Chief Meeting Designer’ is also another new title – tasked with having oversight of all things meeting-related.

The business case for a four-day week

Businesses are currently faced with a talent crisis caused by a myriad of things such as burnout, a lower demand for roles and high turnover levels.

Pandemic-sparked employment conditions and Brexit have worsened this situation for many, and one leader believes that the four-day work week could be the fix to some of these woes.

Joe Munns, CEO and Founder of cookware retailer Bakedin, said: "A four-day week is an excellent way of retaining staff and keeping them loyal."

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Many employers and nations have trialled this concept, with some reporting huge successes. And it seems that the benefits for leaders could go far beyond talent attraction and retention.

In fact, research from Henley Business School reported that companies adopting a four-day week found that over three-quarters of staff were happier, less stressed, and took fewer days off ill.

The business case for a four-day week

 

Businesses are currently faced with a talent crisis caused by a myriad of things such as burnout, a lower demand for roles and high turnover levels.Pandemic-sparked employment conditions and Brexit have worsened this situation for many, and one leader believes that the four-day work week could be the fix to some of these woes.

Joe Munns, CEO and Founder of cookware retailer Bakedin, said: "A four-day week is an excellent way of retaining staff and keeping them loyal."

Many employers and nations have trialled this concept, with some reporting huge successes. And it seems that the benefits for leaders could go far beyond talent attraction and retention.

In fact, research from Henley Business School reported that companies adopting a four-day week found that over three-quarters of staff were happier, less stressed, and took fewer days off ill.

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