Northumberland businesses invited to sessions on future of rural work

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Rural business owners in Northumberland are being invited to a series of workshops designed to help firms evolve in order to attract, retain and engage employees.

Developed in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic, the Future of Work for Rural Employers programme is to help businesses prosper in an increasingly competitive market.

The workshops – beginning with ‘Culture and Communication’ on November 15 at the Rivergreen Centre, Stannington – are free to attend and will be led by a team of human

resources, culture and employee engagement experts.

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Neil Harrison, director and co-founder of reheat.Neil Harrison, director and co-founder of reheat.
Neil Harrison, director and co-founder of reheat.

One business signed up to the programme is Alnwick-based re:heat which provides renewable heat consultancy, design and installation services.

Director and co-founder Neil Harrison said: “As a rurally-based employer working in the fast-paced environment of renewable energy engineering and consultancy, we’ve had to evolve and adapt systems that enable us to meet the needs of both our employees and our customers as our business has grown.

“The increased use of IT platforms to facilitate communications and manage real-time data from widely-dispersed customer sites, home-based workers and peripatetic field engineers has certainly helped, but there are still many challenges associated with managing and supporting staff that need a more human touch.

“The Future of Work Workshops are providing our team with some fantastic insights into how culture, systems and communication are all dynamic elements which need to be planned and actively managed so that in a complex business like our own, our staff feel included, supported and focused.

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“The availability of this kind of support for small and medium-sized enterprises and other employers is really important, and we’re looking forward to learning more in the workshops.”

The second workshop is on ‘Flexibility and Fairness’ on November 24 at The Catalyst, Newcastle, and the third is ‘Employee Mental Health and Well-being’ on December 1 at a venue to be confirmed. There is no requirement to attend all three.

The workshops have been organised by the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project working in partnership with Di Gates of Stick Theory and the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise.

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