Remote and hybrid working has changed the role of people management.

Recently Jackie Macritchie, Dianne Lee, Jonathan Betts, Amina Yesufu-Udechuku, Elisabeth (Liz) Mortimer-Cassen and Sara Vandenberghe discussed why middle managers are so important and how to nurture and develop.  This was shared in a previous post.

As part of that discussion, we identified that remote and hybrid working has added extra challenges to effective people management.  For example, survey results from one organisation saw that junior staff feel less visible, their voice is not heard, and they do not have the same informal learning opportunities.  There is a need for managers to develop their existing strengths to build trust as we discussed in previous posts.

Here are five tips for people manager success in remote working:

1.     Spend more 1:1 time with reports.  This is needed to ensure strong communication of company values, foster engagement, and create clarity. This can create the connection that can be missing in remote working.
2.    Work side by side virtually by having an open Teams meeting. People can work on projects and ask questions without having a formal meeting.  This is a great way to mentor junior staff who don’t always feel visible and create those “water cooler moments” in a remote working environment.  It’s especially useful for time sensitive projects or when fluid and efficient communication is needed.
3.    Create purposeful reasons to come into the office – don’t just mandate.  Agree that the whole team will come in on specific days. Work on your projects that need innovation or have team building activities that make it worth the commute.
4.     Sharpen feedback skills, especially to ensure that feedback is understood.  That can be more challenging in a remote environment and it’s even more important when you don’t have informal touchpoints.
5.    Be clear on working hours expectations.  New ways of working have brought the positive opportunities of flexible hours but for some it can feel that there is pressure to work extended hours.  Role modelling is important and using the email sign off“My working hours may be different to yours” is one way to express that you don’t expect an immediate response and relieve that pressure.  This is particularly important in companies that span, or work across, different time zones.

If these five suggestions are adopted, then we think the engagement of employees working remotely will increase leading to more aligned and successful organizations.

Any other suggestions for how we can support people managers in remote working environments?