Today’s workplace is markedly different from that of even a decade ago, with open office designs and in-house baristas commonplace. Additionally, many companies now have their bosses managing remotely from miles away. With modern technology, the need to be within physical proximity of an office is essentially obsolete. Companies are employing based on merit and compatibility now. This shift has caused entire teams to span across different time zones, states, and even countries! It may appear daunting reporting to a remote manager but don’t fear – it can certainly be accomplished.
For the past year, I have excelled as an employee of a non-profit in Washington, D.C., while my supervisor works from her home thousands of miles away in southern California. Thanks to this remote arrangement, I’ve been able to take on additional responsibilities and receive a salary raise. Want to know how? Here are some secrets that aided me in succeeding:
To stay in the loop with your boss, it’s essential to establish a weekly call or Skype session. For example, on Mondays, I have an appointment with my supervisor for 45 minutes where I go over what was completed last week and address what is planned for this upcoming one as well. Additionally, It provides me an opportunity to check if she wants anything specific from me throughout the week.
Even if you can’t face-to-face, I truly believe phone calls are the most effective way to stay in touch. But for those times that are not possible, a weekly email is your next best option. The classic saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies here: You don’t want distance getting between yourselves just because you no longer see each other every day at work! To enhance your relationship with your supervisor and make sure that they know you are an effective worker, send them a concluding email at the end of each week including all tasks completed. To ensure that communication is kept smooth between you two to not irritate or bother them, inquire about their favorite methods of contact beforehand.
[Related: 8 Get-Ahead Questions to Ask Your Boss]
My successful relationship with my manager thrives on trust. She isn’t a nitpicker and doesn’t incessantly send emails seeking status updates; however, we remain in communication throughout the week.
When my project is assigned, she bestows me with the autonomy to finish it. Establishing trust requires time and patience—that’s why communication is so significant. To begin with, you should aim for consistent contact until a sense of reliability has been developed between the two parties; then frequency can be lessened accordingly. You don’t have to be in the same room as your manager to reach out with any queries or problems you may have. You should, however, refrain from calling them every five minutes – but if you are stuck on project prioritization or need assistance completing a task then it is certainly appropriate to seek their counsel. Demonstrate to your manager that you value their input and recognize them as more than just a source of directives. Showing initiative when facing difficulties will prove to your boss that you take responsibility for the situation, rather than being too proud to request assistance. Establishing such trust between each other will lead to an improved professional relationship.
Though it can be easy to feel independent when your boss isn’t in the office every day, you still need your manager’s permission. I always stay honest and open with my supervisor on days that I’m working remotely or plan to go out for lunch with a donor. Respect for authority is critical, even if they aren’t physically present – this will help them respect you as an employee while granting more responsibilities and freedom!
Photo: Morsa Images / Digital Vision / Getty Images