27 lt. 8 RULES OF REMOTE WORK, OR HOW TO TAKE CARE OF RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK WITH PEOPLE WE MAY NEVER SEE
How to maintain not only correct, but also effective, relationships at work with people with whom we never see face to face? This is an important question at a time when remote work is becoming more and more popular.
Remote work is work outside the office. An employee may only come to the office from time to time. However, there are more and more situations when an employee lives in a different city than the one in which the employer’s headquarters is located and does not appear in the office at all.
The possibility of remote work already offers 60 percent. companies around the world – according to IWG research. The Gallup Institute report shows that in the US in 2017 already 43 percent. employees performed remote work. In Poland, 30 percent of employees spend at least one day a week outside the office.
In connection with the growing popularity of remote work, there is a question about interpersonal relationships, on the employee-boss line, employee-colleague or employee-customer line. Video conferencing tools and messengers have become commonplace, which means that people are less and less often face to face to do business.
The problem is that remote work requires a different set of character traits and skills than working in the old „office” style. The employee should be active, move within the scope of specific norms and rules, and show a high degree of trust in another employee, often a completely stranger and never seen person.
How to be a good „remote” employee? What skills and qualities do you need to have? Can you train them? The answer to these questions came in the pages of „Harvard Business Review” Barbara Z. Larson, professor of management at NortheasternD’Amore-McKim School of Business and Erin E. Makarius, also a professor of management at the College of Business Administration at the University of Akron. Both ladies conducted research on people working remotely for many years.
It turns out that the best remote employees have what can be called „virtual intelligence„. Two inalienable features of this ‚virtual intelligence’ are the ability to communicate through electronic devices in a cultural but effective way, and trust in a colleague or client.
Remote work – 8 rules
According to Larson and Makarius, there are several basic principles that should be used in remote work:
Establishing the basic principles of communication – The principles of communication should be established in advance at the very beginning of cooperation (e.g. in matters of low to medium importance and urgent contact by email, in matters of urgency and urgent via Skype).
Setting communication time – Communication time should also be established in advance so that the remotely cooperating people can respect each other’s time (e.g. Skype contacts at 12:00 every day, unless urgent matters arise).
Rules for sharing information – You should develop and practice how to share important documents, e.g. via Dropbox, right from the start.
Remote socialization – Life is not just work, so it is good from time to time, also as part of remote work, to discuss a topic not related to professional matters, preferably via a non-invasive messenger. Of course, do not overdo it and endlessly discuss the latest movie or rock album, which distracts and means wasting time. Neither should private or personal topics be discussed (after all, we often haven’t seen the person with whom we contact in remote work, so it’s difficult to talk about friendly or friendly relations).
Showing charisma and „true self” – It is worth gushing with enthusiasm and good humor, also in virtual contacts. It is also not worth pretending to be someone you are not, because the truth can come out during a meeting in real life.
Sharing knowledge and experience – Also in remote work, it is worth sharing knowledge and experience with colleagues, especially if it may affect the current project.
Taking the initiative – It is worth showing initiative and reporting short tasks. This is good for the atmosphere and, of course, for the employee’s perception.
Online vigil – Unfortunately, but remote work usually requires being almost non-stop by email and ready to talk on Skype or other messengers.
Cultural remote communication – Communicating via Skype or e-mail does not mean that you can forget about the basic principles of personal culture. One should not be rude, surly, reply in one word to a long e-mail asking for performing a task. You have to remember that there is a human on the other side of the monitor.