31,000 UK CEOs have children under 16 – how to juggle home schooling and running a business effectively from home?

31,000 CEOs in the UK have children under 16, meaning they’ll have to juggle home schooling and steering their businesses through one the biggest economic crisis in decades, says New Street Group, the leadership and people solutions consultancy.

New Street Group says that the ONS figures show other business leaders with children under 16 include 33,000 senior managers and directors in financial institutions and 739,000 other senior managers and directors.

Whilst business leaders share the challenge of home working and home schooling with their employees, they do have the added burden of bearing more of the responsibility for their businesses’ fortunes in trying times.

Doug Baird, CEO of New Street Group, says:

“Running a business has always been an exercise in balancing a huge number of different demands but CEOs now need to be more agile than ever before. It’s vital that they adapt quickly to new ways of working.”

“It’s critical that CEOs can ‘take the temperature’ of the office, even when they are working remotely, so they understand what’s going on at every level of their business. That means keeping information flowing, both through apps and regular calls.”

Baird says that there are five key tips for business leaders working from home, which give them the best chance to keep their businesses running smoothly through coronavirus disruption.

 

Keep communicating – it’s more important now than ever

A key part of the CEO role is communicating with stakeholders of all kinds – whether they are shareholders, regulators or Government representatives. That doesn’t stop just because you – and they – are all working remotely. In fact, it becomes even more important, as there is likely to be considerable concern about the effects of coronavirus on your business. The media and the public at large may also be key audiences. Your words and actions could be more closer analysed than normal.

 

Set the tone for everyone – they will be looking to you for reassurance

CEOs have always set the organisational tone, but it is even more important to do this in a time of crisis. Many members of your team will be worried about the future of the business and their own careers. It’s vital that you reassure them where needed, while acknowledging issues where they exist and explaining the business’s plans.

 

Be ready to respond to the recovery when it comes

The inevitable recovery from the current economic disruption will present opportunities for the most nimble businesses. Are you looking at potential acquisitions? New growth markets for your business? New products to address changed customer requirements? Don’t focus completely on mitigating the downturn and miss out on your business being able to take advantage of the recovery.

 

Don’t forget the ‘water cooler’ talk – it can be invaluable

CEOs often find that the most valuable information they pick up in the office is ‘water cooler’ talk. It can provide crucial insight into what is happening ‘on the ground’ in the business, in a way that formal meetings might not. Professional collaboration apps like Slack, Yammer and Hangouts can be vital to keep that information flowing.

 

Once this is over, assess what changes could be made permanent

You may well be finding that certain areas of your business have become more productive (or at least have stayed at the same level of productivity) during the pandemic. You should already be assessing whether changes you have been forced to make should actually become your ‘new normal’. Could more of your team work from home on a permanent basis, allowing you to reduce leased property overheads?