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Five top tips for switching to hybrid working

Covid-19 restrictions having lifted, some organisations are planning to return to the office. However, with many employees wishing to keep working remotely, a hybrid approach may be the best way forward. From taking advantage of smaller or shared spaces to adapting their current working practices, what can employers do to optimise their office space?

1. Think about the whole business

Before making any change, it’s important to think how it will impact the wider business. Adopting a holistic approach to transformation.  Organisations must think about which options best support their business models and then considering the implications for people, processes, infrastructure and systems.  This will reduce the risk of changes having an unwanted domino effect on other areas of the organisation.

2. Understand what people want

Holding group discussions, sending out surveys or carrying out one-to-one meetings with employees are all good ways to understand the thoughts and feelings around hybrid working. Some people may want to stay working remotely while others will prefer to go back to the office. Considering the circumstances and preferences of each employee will support with a smoother transition.

3. Remember that there’s no one-size fits all approach

It’s important that any working practices put in place fit the business model, from considering the need for employees to work collaboratively to training arrangements, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. There are many different options to choose from, such as making use of flexible workspaces or hot-desking, and most of these will enable the business to take advantage of cost-effective arrangements.

4. Fully equip your workforce

Ensuring that people have the right set-up and equipment is essential, both in and out of the office. Reviewing the team’s current needs and considering whether upgrades or additional services are required is a key part of this.

5. Make the most of blended teams

Using external support can help the transition to hybrid working to go more smoothly. Specialist advisers can help to fill any gaps in the team’s knowledge, ensuring that vital tasks are completed while upskilling staff at the same time.

Hybrid working is likely to be the future, providing the flexibility that many have enjoyed throughout the pandemic while allowing people to benefit from the traditional office experience. Considering people’s individual needs and how the space will fit the business’ evolving needs will ensure any changes bring positive impacts to the way people work.  

Additionally, the transition into this new way of working will require consideration and careful management.  The pandemic driven changes to our way of working are not yet over and we still have the opportunity to find a silver lining.

For more advice on how to approach business change, contact us here.

Photo by LYCS Architecture on Unsplash

Meet the consultant… Matt Garrett

1. What does being a principal consultant consist of?

Key to being a principal consultant is the ability to build relationships with your clients. By really getting to know a business and its people, you can learn exactly what they need, making it easier to add value to the organisation. Collaborative relationships enable the successful delivery of a project, as well as helping to shape a business’ strategy and improving communication throughout the organisation. My role also involves identifying any potential obstacles on the road to project completion and solving them at the earliest possible stage.

2. How did your consultancy career begin?

I started my career as a data analyst at a business solutions company. However, an opportunity to join its consultancy team arose, and I thought I’d be a good fit. I went for the role and my consultancy journey began.

Fairly soon, my role shifted from an internal one, to one that involved me working hands-on with clients. I loved the collaborative aspect of the job and went on to work my way up through the ranks, before founding my own consultancy company. It was during this time that I assisted Entec Si with a project at Birmingham Library. After having seen the business work its magic first-hand, it wasn’t long until I joined Entec Si as an employee.

3. What is your main professional strength?

I’ve always been calm under pressure. My mind works very logically, so rather than panicking when something goes off course, I’m able to identify the steps that need to be taken to resolve the issue. In the world of consultancy, where projects don’t always go according to plan, this is a particularly useful skill.

People have also told me that I’m a bit of an influencer. Not in the social media sense, but in the way that I can get anyone on board with a project. It can be challenging to convince everyone that change is positive, but I tend to be able to persuade most people to give it a chance.

4. Are there any skills that you’d like to develop further (inside or outside of work?)

Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for mentoring people. Seeing their growth first-hand and knowing that I’ve been a part of it is incredibly rewarding, so inside of work I’d like to continue passing on my consultancy experience to others in the field.

Outside of work, I’ve always had a passion for cars. When I was younger, I did a lot of F1 experience days and wanted to be a professional racing driver. It might be a bit late for that, but I would love to give off-road driving a go and learn that as a new skill.

5. What lessons have you learnt since being at Entec Si?

I’ve learnt that effective communication and a willingness to engage make a world of difference with everything that we do. Collaboration is essential in every business, but particularly in consultancy.

More generally, I’ve also learnt that you have to create your own opportunities in life. Never wait for something to be handed to you, go out and get it for yourself.

6. What’s your idea of a perfect weekend?

Staying in a cottage in the Lake District with my family. I grew up in the countryside, so being amongst nature is something that has always made me happy. There’s nothing better than spending time with loved ones in a beautiful landscape.

7. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try but have yet to do?

I’ve been snorkeling before, but I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving. As well as witnessing the sea life up close, I’m fascinated by the history that you can come across while diving. Exploring a piece of history, such as a shipwreck, that is inaccessible to many people would be amazing.

Our CEO takes dedication to Birmingham businesses to the next level

Having lived in the city for over three decades, our CEO, Dr. Eman Al-Hillawi, has taken her passion for the Birmingham business community to the next level by applying to be part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Council.

With 22 applications for the 11 places available, an online election is taking place to decide who will secure each position.

Why vote for Eman?

Having studied, lived and worked in Birmingham since 1987, Eman considers the city her home. With a considerable network of local connections, she knows the challenges that the region’s businesses and people face. This understanding will enable her to contribute effectively to debates regarding the future of the city she cares so much about.

Eman is also hugely community focused and has a passion for people development. Having been a local school governor for five years, she is currently one of Andy Street’s ‘One Million Mentors’. This is reflected in several of the Entec Si team being involved in the Chamber’s Future Faces network.

Throughout Eman’s career, she has worked with a number of major organisations based in the city. These include over 20 years with Birmingham City Council and more than five years with Birmingham Airport. Now as a Birmingham-based employer herself, Eman has a vested interest in the city’s prosperity, and wants to play her part in building a bright future for everyone that calls it their home.

Entec Si has been a proactive member of the Chambers since 2014, and it’s time to take that involvement one step further.

If you’d like to support Eman by giving her your vote, you can do so here. You have until 6th September.

Our senior leadership team is evolving

As Entec Si goes from strength to strength, we’ve appointed a new CEO and executive chair to drive the business forward on its growth journey.

Our co-founders and former managing directors, Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden, are stepping into the new roles as part of our strategic move to a new consultancy-based operating model.

Introducing our CEO and executive chair

As CEO, Eman will be responsible for Entec Si’s day-to-day running This includes delivering our business plan, financial management and the development of our senior team.

Peter will focus on guiding our long-term strategic direction. His role includes business planning, forming new commercial partnerships and identifying future growth areas.

Entec Si is evolving

Our recent move to a new consultancy structure is enabling us to strengthen our cross-sector service offering. Similarly we’re able to accelerate the development of our team.

The business is now made up of seven different levels of consultants. This new structure means that our people receive training across a wide variety of consultancy skills. Our approach enables us to support clients on all aspects of a project. 

During the pandemic, we also kept up our commitment to people development, sponsoring 21 people across the business to participate in training sessions or complete professional qualifications.

A word from our CEO, Eman Al-Hillawi:

“The way that we have pulled together and grown stronger over the last year and a half has demonstrated the resilience of our team. It’s really shown what can be achieved with the right people around us.

“Peter and I are now ready to take the next step on Entec Si’s growth journey. We believe that our new roles will be key to taking the business to the next level.”

A word from our executive chair, Peter Marsden:

“Being a managing director at Entec Si has been a hugely rewarding experience. But taking on the role of executive chair will enable Eman and I to embrace new challenges, while playing to our strengths.

“Our continued investment in the next generation of consultants is also vital for passing on the leadership baton. It also ensures that the business delivers exceptional consultancy for years to come.”

Find out more about our team.

Meet the consultant…

1. Please define your role in just a few words

As an Assistant Consultant, it’s my job to support the wider team on all stages of a project and ensure that it’s completed on time and on budget.

I‘m also a key part of the business support team. This involves everything from organising internal events and meetings, to assisting with resource management tasks.  

2. What does a day in the life of a consultant look like?

No day is ever the same, but that’s what makes my role exciting and interesting. Some days I’ll find myself fully immersed in project delivery or meeting with clients, and on others, I might be helping our senior resource manager to better understand the team’s capacity.

3. What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?

I’m currently working towards achieving my Level 4 Association for Project Management (APM) apprenticeship. I’ve got two more exams that I’m studying for. Fingers crossed that I’m able to pass them both first time!  

Alongside my APM, I’m also interested in developing my Powerpoint skills, so I can design creative and professional slides for the business to use.

4. What makes Entec Si such a good place to work?

The excitement and passion that people bring to the table is infectious. Everyone is very determined to succeed and know that the key to this is working together as a team.

The friendly atmosphere and strong team spirit make coming to work every day very enjoyable.

5. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment to date?

I joined Entec Si as an apprentice but after gaining plenty of hands-on experience, I was offered a permanent position within the business. This was a very proud achievement for me and one that has enabled me to continue progressing my professional skills within an amazing company.

6. What are you most passionate about outside of work?

Outside of work I adore animals and can’t live without my two dogs! I am also very passionate about dance and have just started taking private lessons in salsa and Argentine tango. Dancing is my escape and a great way to just switch off after a busy day at work.  

7. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take and why?

Very practically, I’d want to take a private jet…if that counts? It would give me a quick route home!

I’d also want all of my animals to come with me as I’d feel very lost without them. Lastly, I’d bring some food to feed both myself and my pets.

Meet our managing director

From research scientist to businesswoman, learn more about our managing director, Eman Al-Hillawi’s leadership journey and her ambitious plans for Entec Si’s future.

It all started in the lab

Eman attended the University of Birmingham, where she completed a Biochemistry degree before embarking on her PhD. Working in a lab coat provided her with the perfect foundation for a career in consulting.

Although Eman found academia interesting, she knew that her true passion was for people. She sought a position that was more dynamic and engaging, which led her to take on the role of business analyst at a major IT company.

It was in this role that Eman got her first taste of the consultancy world and met our managing director and principal consultant, Peter Marsden. When Peter asked Eman to join him in running Entec Si, she took a leap of faith and has never looked back.

Evolving Entec Si

To begin with, Entec Si was focused on IT and technology implementation. However, as time moved on, it became clear there was a gap in the market between the ‘Big Four’ management consultancies and one-person contractors.

Entec Si was doing things very differently to other consultancies. Its ‘blended teams’ approach focuses on working alongside clients as partners to get them the best results.

The business became a chameleon organisation that could adapt quickly to the needs of its clients.

Overcoming hurdles

The biggest challenge of Eman’s career (and her proudest achievement) was the delivery of the Library of Birmingham. A project spanning five years, Eman learnt that when surrounded by the right people, anything is possible.

More recently, Eman also had to guide Entec Si through the challenges the pandemic has presented. While the uncertainty was daunting, it instilled resilience into the business and the team is emerging stronger on the other side.

Looking towards the future

Eman is now looking forward to tackling new challenges both in her personal and professional lives.

She will soon be embarking on her new ventures as an author and a helicopter pilot in training. Professionally, she is focused on growing Entec Si and fully transitioning into her new role as CEO.

To learn more, contact us.

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