What does it take to manage people remotely? As the founder and CEO of Athena, that’s all I’ve ever done. We didn’t “transition” our business to a “work from home” business. That’s been the primary benefit for our staff right from the beginning. With the pandemic came many articles about managing remote workers. I particularly like this one from the Society of HR Management.
Item #7 in this article talks about being connected with your people and that is more important now than ever. Frankly, it was always important, but we could skate by without putting much effort into it in the past. Knowing and empathizing with whatever your remote workers are dealing with is critical in these times. As someone who has always had staff who work from home, I have always been interested in what’s going on at home. Why? Because that’s the environment in which they are working (for me and our clients). It gives me a sense of how hard or easy it is for them right now to be working from home.
Staying connected to your people is an ongoing job. You can’t assume that how they were last week is how they are this week. People and their circumstances are always changing. As a leader it serves you to always be interested in what your people are dealing with in life and with their work. If you have more attention on listening than speaking, you’ll be amazed what you will learn.