Watch the live panel debate here

Almost 12 months since working changed forever, many businesses are still struggling to adapt to the demands and intricacies of working. Leadership has long been an ever-evolving skill but the modern landscape is laden with treacherous peaks and valleys.

For this Business Leader live debate – in partnership with Harrison Clark Rickerbys – we’re bringing together a panel of business leaders and professionals to discuss how best you can manage your team and boost productivity in the modern era of working.

The panel includes:

Brendan Street: Professional Head – Emotional Wellbeing, Nuffield Health
Jonathan Richards: Country Head – founder & CEO, Breathe
Steve Preston: Managing Director, Heat Recruitment
Victoria Sylvester: Managing Director, Acacia Training
Darryl Brunt: Country Head – UK & Ireland, Fellowes Brands
Michael Stokes: Partner & Head of Employment, Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed during the debate:

Michael Stokes: Harrison Clark Rickerbys has carried out some in-depth research around the Future of Work – can you please tell us more about this and any insight you gained around productivity and whether you can gauge how it’s been impacted by more people working from home? (1:55)
Darryl Brunt: Fellowes have carried out some research too on the impact of working from home – and considering this and research from TalkTalk and Cardiff University which say that homeworking boosts productivity – how have you seen more remote working impact productivity in your business and amongst your customers? (4:06)
Jonathan Richards: Do you think that we can really measure whether productivity is boosted by the significant increase in homeworking – considering that much of it has been forced on us and it may the pandemic that is making people some people not like working from home and feel isolated and unproductive – but not the wider concept of remote working? (7:44)
Brendan Street: In regards to the subject of mental health, stress and productivity, what are the risks and benefits of remote working? (9:54)
Steve Preston: I want to talk to you about your experience during the last eleven months and how have you found motivating staff and ensuring productivity doesn’t dip in your team? And did you find your management team was equipped to manage their teams remotely or have you had to invest in extra training? (12:28)
Victoria Sylvester: I’d like to bring you in now as you deliver training to businesses. Can it be as effective done remotely as face to face? I’m guessing remote training is enough new, but can you give any insight into where businesses have done it well and badly? (17:44)
Michael Stokes: Regarding your clients – what are they telling you about how they can best deliver training and recruitment remotely? (21:28)
Steve Preston: Focusing just on recruiting talent remotely now; does it make it harder for businesses to recruit people via zoom etc? can you really get a good sense of the candidate? Or does it work well and just reality now? (26:01)
Steve Preston: Are you finding candidates are expecting more flexibility now when it comes to how they work? (29:44)
Darryl Brunt: From a recruitment perspective – have you changed how you recruit now? (31:22)
Jonathan Richards: I now want to talk about the role of the HR Director for businesses and how it is been thrust centre stage for many businesses – what would you say are the main challenges they are facing and how is technology helping them? (35:10)
Brendan Street: How can employers ensure they are supporting staff with their mental health and wellbeing whilst working remotely? And in the context of COVID-19 what are the additional challenges of remote working? And are you seeing progress here, with businesses taking it seriously? (38:39)
Victoria Sylvester: You offer training and support in this area and there is a lot of support for employees now but what about the CEOs and Business Leader – who are often the ones who are the shoulder to cry on. Have you found an uptake from them? Or does more need to be done in this area? (44:15)

Questions from the public

Michael Stokes & Jonathan Richards: What if an employee now says they don’t want to come back to work in the office but the employer wants them to? (47:10)
Jonathan Richards & Steve Preston: When delivering appraisals or disciplinary’s remotely – is there anything you should do differently? (49:27)
Victoria Sylvester, Darryl Brunt & Brendan Street: Do you think that you get worse results as a salesperson working from home? (51:22)

• Final word from Brendan Street (55:31)
• Final word from Darryl Brunt (56:25)
• Final word from Steve Preston (57:16)
• Final word from Victoria Sylvester (57:58)
• Final word from Jonathan Richards (58:43)
• Final word from Michael Stokes (59:33)

A special thanks to Harrison Clark Rickerbys for sponsoring this very special panel debate.

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