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Work From Home? Here’s How to Keep the Boss on Your Side

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Depending on your situation, it could be frustrating or liberating to work with a remote manager. While on the one hand, you don't have her hovering around your desk and sneaking up on you, on the other hand, you do not have easy access to her whenever you need. You're also probably not her first choice when she has a project to assign to her team, just because of the sheer logistics. But, there are a few ways you can have an effective remote reporting relationship.

Depending on your situation, it could be frustrating or liberating to work with a remote manager. While on the one hand, you don’t have her hovering around your desk and sneaking up on you, on the other hand, you do not have easy access to her whenever you need. You’re also probably not her first choice when she has a project to assign to her team, just because of the sheer logistics. But, there are a few ways you can have an effective remote reporting relationship.

video conference call

(Photo Credit: numberstumper/Flickr)

1. Make the maximum use of your regular check-ins

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Any good manager knows how important it is to stay connected with her team, even more so if the team members are remote. Set up regular meetings – video conference, Skype, or call, and keep it consistent. Send an agenda to your manager a day in advance, as a reminder and also to let your manager know that you value and are respectful of her time. Work around your schedules so your meetings are uninterrupted and you have each other’s undivided attention. While it is important to come prepared for the meetings, it is equally important to follow up with meeting notes so both of you are on the same page.

2. Set ground rules for emergencies and quick turnaround situations

If you are working in a different geography or time zone, communicating could be tricky. Sometimes it’s too late or too early to connect with your manager. Depending on your job, you may be in situations where you need to execute swiftly, handle emergencies, take quick calls. When chalking out how you should stay connected, ensure that you agree on how you and your manager want to be contacted during those situations.

3. Attend virtual team meetings and plan in-person meetings

It’s the best way to get information firsthand. Sometimes news gets diluted or lost by the time you have your 1-1 with your manager. Make every possible effort to participate in your team meetings. It’s not impossible to find an “almost” convenient time for different time zones. Be flexible. These meetings are also usually when new projects are assigned, and team goals and important updates are discussed.

If you have to travel for work, plan so that you are able to meet your team and manager in person. If your office budget permits, travel once a quarter or so for an in-person meeting with your manager and/or team in either one of your locations or the corporate office. 

4. Respect your manager’s authority and follow expected decorum

Just because you are remote does not mean you can take off whenever you want. Understand that you are your manager’s responsibility and your performance directly affects her. Keep your manager posted on major schedule changes, so she has time to consider and manage project priorities. Being remote, it is all the more important that your manager can trust your work ethic. Once your manager is confident about your commitment to work, she will be more understanding and willing to accommodate your requests.

5. Create a career development plan with your manager

Because opportunities do not necessarily fall into your lap, have a career discussion with your manager and share your aspirations and how you’d like her to help you. Seek out assignments that you think would help you develop. Let your manager know your interests so she can keep you in mind when new projects come up. Your location may be an issue, but offer solutions and a plan for delivering. 

Tell Us What You Think

Do you work remotely? How do you manage? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments section below or join the discussion on Twitter!

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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Rajesh
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Rajesh

Great information Padmaja, Managing remote workers can really get tricky as you have no clue if the worker had really worked for the time he is suppose to work, also keeping all the workers on the same page to avoid any communication gap is a must. With the help of tools and softwares available in the market one can assure productivity.
Tools such as :
Skype for video conferencing
Dropbox for file and data sharing
http://www.hivedesk.com for Time and productivity management
http://www.slack.com for communication
Hangouts for instant messaging

Rajesh
Guest
Rajesh

Great information Padmaja, Managing remote workers can really get tricky as you have no clue if the worker had really worked for the time he is suppose to work, also keeping all the workers on the same page to avoid any communication gap is a must. With the help of tools and softwares available in the market one can assure productivity. Tools such as :
Skype for video conferencing
Dropbox for file and data sharing
http://www.hivedesk.com for Time tracking and productivity management
http://www.slack.com for communication
Hangouts for instant messaging

idreddy
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idreddy

Good and presize points Padmaja. Hypocratic Managers suspect their subordinates and very often make calls and cross check and distrub the work,which is not good .

Make your subordiantes work well and deliver the work,where ever they were.. Targets met don’t worry and don’t distrub.

With Best Wishes to ALL

idreddy

Mark
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Mark

I work remote as do all my colleagues and supervisor. We are in constant communication all day via instant messenger, except if she is on a conference call. She still chooses the same people for projects as she did when we were all office based, and we all work to the same schedule including lunches and breaks as we did when we were office based. She can monitor when we are on calls at any time, the only thing she can’t monitor is what we are doing when we are not on a call (most of our work is done… Read more »

Worksnaps
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Worksnaps

Great post, Padmaja! Remote working has many challenges with trust being at the top of the list. It can be difficult for employers to trust individuals when they cannot physically see what they’re doing but this doesn’t have to be a problem. Building trust between managers and remote employees with time tracking ,like Worksnaps (http://www.worksnaps.net/www/), is easy and beneficial for everyone concerned. With the right equipment, companies can greatly increase productivity and everyone can benefit.

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