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Working with a remote manager

Published: Thursday 20th June 2019

Whether it’s working at multiple sites within an organisation, working from home, or on the move, more people are working remotely than ever. In fact, by 2020, it’s estimated that 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely, which, in turn, means more of us will have a remote manager.

But this can have a huge impact on the way you work, particularly when it comes to liaising with your manager. Ultimately, the success of working remotely comes down to good communication practices.

Escaped of office. Business style dressed man sitting at natural country style wooden desk with electronic gadgets around working on laptop drinking coffee sunlight and green terrace on background

Communication is the key to successful remote working

Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are plenty of options out there to facilitate remote working and effective communication between an employee and their office manager. So the first step before you start remote working should be to research what’s available and what’s best for the needs of the organisation.

Even if you’re good at your job and confident that you’re on top of things, when you begin remote working you’ll need to update your manager more frequently to put their mind at ease and keep projects moving smoothly, so you can expect to spend more of your working day on communication. That can mean extra work for you and your boss, especially in the early stages of a remote working arrangement.

Technology can remove the human element from your day-to-day routine and cause miscommunication, so make sure you schedule a weekly face-to-face video call. Monday is ideal for this so you can run through the objectives for the week.

Many hands showing different ways of communication like mail, phone or internet

A changing boss-employee relationship

You also need to be aware of a change in the boss-employee relationship and your manager’s expectations. For instance, depending on their management style, when you work remotely, you can’t rely on body language to gauge mood, attitude or a sense of urgency. This can lead to misunderstandings.

So, before beginning a remote working arrangement, it’s important to have an in-depth meeting on how the arrangement should operate. Clarify expectations, the technology you’ll use and set guidelines on how to communicate effectively, including reasonable timeframes for responding to messages, queries, and updates.

As well as constant communication, it’s vital you get an insight into your manager’s own schedule and goals in order proactively think ahead to meet those needs. Track your progress on projects, keep records on accomplishments and maintain a portfolio of completed work, if possible.

Diverse group of business associates having internet based web conference over video chat

Remote working is good for employees and management

Management needs to be able to trust you, so, at the outset, one of your key focus should be to make this happen. Make it easy for them to know what you’re doing. Be punctual, and at your desk when you’re meant to be, especially when working from home and contact your remote manager the minute you run into any problems with availability.

The benefits of working remotely can far outweigh the cons for both employee and the remote manager. Employees have more flexibility and avoid losing time and money on the daily commute, while companies see higher levels of productivity. It’s just as important to make sure that all the processes are in place to get the most from the arrangement from the outset and to continually refine processes to avoid issues later on.

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