When you work remotely it’s even more important to earn the trust and respect of your boss.
If you work remotely and don’t see your boss very often (or work for a boss who’s not around the office much), it can be a challenge to establish a good relationship. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to ensure your manager sees the value you provide to the organization.
Ask. Say to your boss, “How can we best work together?” Learn your manager’s leadership style and preferred method of working and communicating, and then flex yourself to work with his or her style. How does your boss prefer to interact? With weekly, biweekly or monthly updates? Reports with lots of details or brief email summaries with just the highlights? Try to adapt your communication style to best fit your manager’s. An excellent book on this topic is “People Styles at Work…And Beyond: Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better.”
Agree on your objectives and projects. Meet with your manager via video or audio conferencing (or in person) to ensure you fully understand and mutually agree upon your goals and objectives for the next several quarters, as well as all projects for which you’ll be responsible.
Create a project list. Use this document to keep track of your key projects, assignments or duties as well as your progress toward completion. This can be a simple spreadsheet with columns for the name of the project or task, description, timeline, timing and progress. Using a document like this makes it easy to show your manager what you’re working on and demonstrates your contributions to the organization.
Check in on a regular basis. To avoid being “out of sight, out of mind” try to meet with your boss on a regular basis to provide updates on your progress, reinforce your commitment to the company and ensure your work remains aligned with the department’s overall goals and objectives. Handle your check-ins in a way that fits with your manager’s preferred style of communication.
Understand the criteria on which you will be judged. Find out how your boss will determine if you’re successful in your job. This is also why you should schedule progress discussions on a regular basis with your manager; it gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve been working on and obtain your boss’s feedback on how you’re doing in your job. This will also help you avoid surprises during performance evaluations because you’ll have been discussing your performance throughout the year.
Understand your manager’s goals. Find out his or her priorities and key objectives, and then think about ways you can help achieve them. Be helpful, be supportive and be a team player.
By working with your manager to clearly define your objectives, consistently delivering on your commitments and providing ongoing progress updates, you’ll earn the trust and respect of your boss and create the best possible remote working relationship.