Stumbling Block: It can be difficult for an employer to trust that their team is working when they’re remote.
Advice: Trust your team. Jason and Kanu at Missouri State say they’ve seen horror stories of companies installing big brother software to watch their team. “That sends a message that your manager/company doesn’t trust your employees,” Jason says. To avoid this pitfall, Lisa at American National starts off each relationship with her team members from a place of full trust. “If you don’t perform or meet expectations, that trust will erode,” she says. “And yes, it’s harder to know what your team is working on when you can’t just pop by their desk, but I still want to start things off with trust.”
Stumbling Block: Communication can break down when you don’t see your team each day.
Advice: Check in with your team frequently. This way, your employees can keep you updated if they need something, and you can catch a potential issue or concern before it becomes a problem. Kanu at Missouri State compares these check-ins to the “mid afternoon walk down the hallway to say hello” to each person if you were in-person. At American National, Lisa uses these check-ins to talk through a project. “It gives me a chance to check in and look for signs that they’re struggling,” she says. “It also shows my team that I care and am there to support them.”
Stumbling Block: Transitioning to remote work isn’t easy, and team members can get frustrated if policies and expectations aren’t clear.
Advice: Be flexible and patient and ask for your team’s feedback. Most companies can’t flip a switch and know how to work in this hybrid world, so know there might be some stumbling blocks. You need to be okay with that. This was even true at American National when the company switched to a hybrid remote work model. “It’s not an easy transition,” Lisa says. “That’s why it’s important to make sure senior and mid-level leadership is on the same page with expectations ahead of time. The logistics need to be discussed and worked through before you start moving to remote work.”