What remote employees want from their managers has changed. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace has been turned upside down and inside out. While some people are returning to their traditional work environment, others are still working remotely (and will be indefinitely).
Despite the many benefits of remote work—such as more schedule flexibility and no commute to and from the office—there are still a variety of challenges associated with it. And that holds both for managers and their employees.
While no two people are facing identical circumstances, most remote employees want the same things from their managers. Let’s take a look at five of these:
When working from a traditional office space, structure is a big part of what you do. You know when you start work, when you eat lunch, when you take breaks, and when you leave work—and that’s just the start.
However, when working in a remote environment, all this structure goes out the window. Now, it’s you, your home office, and an entire day staring you in the face. Not to mention all the distractions that are sure to come to light, ranging from your television to all the food in your refrigerator.
On the plus side, when a manager provides structure, it’s easier to maintain stability throughout the workday. It is possible to provide structure while still offering flexibility.
2. Regular Communication
One thing remote employees want from managers is regular communication. There’s no denying the fact that working remotely can be lonely. And that’s especially true if you don’t have anyone else in your home.
Regular communication with your manager and co-workers is a must. This can come in the form of Slack messages, emails, phone calls, and even video chats, but beware the scourge of constant interruption. . Better yet, when managers provide a dedicated space for remote employees to ask for and offer help to one another (like Givitas), engagement and produtivity improves.
Taking this one step further, the best managers take advantage of ideas such as virtual team building games. It’s these types of activities that keep employees engaged, even when they’re unable to spend time in a face to face environment.
3. Access to the Right Tools
The right tools can make or break the remote work experience.
When you have everything you need at your disposal, it’s easier to maintain a high level of efficiency despite your remote location.
Conversely, if you’re lacking in regards to the tools you can access, you’ll struggle with everything from communication to organization.
For example, remote workers often struggle with the idea of securing IT support when they need it the most. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools give employees peace of mind.
One of the primary benefits of working remotely is the flexibility it provides.
When you work in a traditional office space, you’re there for the entire day (or at least a good part of it).
But when you work from home, this all goes out the window. It’s nice to have flexibility in your schedule, as it helps you strike a better work-personal life balance.
The problem comes into play when your manager attempts to micromanage your every move. Maybe they expect you to be at your desk for eight hours (or more) straight. Maybe they’ve made it clear that you’re not supposed to step away from your work to take your kids to school or cook them breakfast.
Remote employees want their managers to allow them to take advantage of a flexible work schedule. This makes for a much more productive and enjoyable work environment.
5. Off-site Meetings (when possible)
While this may not be possible during the pandemic, there will come a day in the future when people can once again meet in person without fears about their health.
The best managers understand the desire for off-site meetings, so they do their best to schedule them when possible. This allows everyone to communicate face to face and have human contact with the people they work with.
Even if it’s only one off-site meeting per year, it’s better than nothing at all.
Adjusting is a Challenge
Anyone who was thrust into remote work as a result of the pandemic is likely to tell you how difficult it was to switch gears. This makes workplace culture even more important.
As an employee, you know how hard it was to adjust. You should realize that the same holds true for your manager, but on an even higher level. That’s because they have to manage an entire team of remote employees.
If there’s something you want from your manager while you’re working remotely, don’t hesitate to share your feedback and offer advice.
By doing this, you give your manager a nudge in the right direction, while also showing them that you care about the future of the company and overall workplace culture.
Things continue to evolve in the modern workplace, so both employees and managers need to do their part in making for a seamless transition. This means having a clear understanding of what the other side wants and needs to succeed.
About the Author
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business and leadership topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.