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Telework Tips for the Manager and the Worker Bee

by Mary Isner / March 18, 2021

It’s hard to believe, but this is my 25th Miss Office Manners blog. We have come a long way! I started off as Miss Open Office Manners and then became Miss Telework Manners about a year ago in response to the pandemic. I wonder where life will take us next! In this installment of Miss Telework Manners, I offer solutions to two additional telework challenges. Happy reading!

Being the Best Telework Boss Ever 

Dear Miss Telework Manners: I am the manager of a wonderful team that went from working in an open office to full-time telework last March, as many others have done. The transition was a success largely due to the people that I manage. My question is what can I do as a manger to make their telework lives easier?

 -- The Boss  

Dear Boss:  

How nice of you! Here are some tips to help you better manage your tele-workforce, which should help make their lives easier as a result:

  • Be clear about your expectations for telework. Do you expect employees to keep certain hours? Respond to messages in a certain amount of time? Whatever your expectations are, make sure that you clearly articulate them to your team. That way, everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
  • Engage regularly. Engage your remote workers on a regular basis through instant messages, email, phone calls, and/or virtual meetings.
  • Provide resources. Provide your employees with the tools they need to be successful in their telework. This could be anything from better Wi-Fi to a good headset.
  • Focus on outcomes and not on activity. Once you define specific outcomes that you wish for your employees to accomplish, step away. Let them decide how they wish to achieve that outcome. This creates a sense of ownership for them, plus it is pretty difficult to micromanage from a distance, anyway.
  • Be flexible. Every member of your team has a different home environment. Some people have a private office, while some people will be working from their dining room table. Some people have spouses and/or children, some don’t. Good managers understand the circumstances of each employee and recognize things won’t be perfect all of the time (i.e., packages will always arrive during videoconferences).

 Hope these tips are helpful to you. Good luck!

How to Be A Great Teleworker

Dear Miss Telework Manners: I have been working remotely since last March. I have the greatest manager who has gone above and beyond to make sure my team made a successful transition from our open office to full-time telework. What I am wondering is - how can I be not only a good remote worker, but a great one?

 -- Trying to Be Telework Employee of the Month

Dear Telework Employee of the Month:  

What a great question! Hopefully, these tips will take your telework game to the next level:  

  • Communication is key. Use instant messages, email, phone calls, and/or virtual meetings as often as necessary. Always stay in contact with your manager and teammates and use their preferred means of communication when possible.
  • Always be transparent. Share your calendar with your team and give regular updates on the tasks you are working on.
  • Avoid personal tasks. It is one thing to throw in a load of laundry during a break, but do not let personal tasks overtake your workday. Not only will they ultimately extend your day past your regular work hours, but the constant interruptions will impede your productivity and performance.
  • Dress the part. It’s OK to be comfortable when working at home, but it’s kind of hard to feel motivated when you stay in your pajamas all day. Not to mention, you should dress professionally if you are on a videoconference.
  • Take breaks. Take small breaks throughout the day so that you can come back even more energized. It does no one any good to sit at their desk all day without so much as getting up to stretch their legs.

 Hope this helps! Stay well!

 I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy work environment, wherever that may be! Be safe and well, everyone!


Tags: Telework

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Mary Isner

Mary Isner

Mary has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as a facility planning analyst for Fentress since 2003. In her free time, she enjoys baking, decorating, and spending time with her family.