Telecommuting: what your boss should do to manage remotely

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La start-up Axel annonce lever un million d'euros pour déployer son assistant virtuel à destination des managers.

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Posted on Feb 9, 2021 2021 at 7:31Updated Feb 9, 2021 2021 at 9:27

We initially thought that this crisis would be short-lived. The sudden switch to telecommuting was a necessary evil, during which you just had to grit your teeth, without changing anything. Little by little, English companies have understood that there cannot be and that there will be no turning back. Some are reducing the size of their premises, others are signing agreements to perpetuate teleworking …

The most critical change for English companies is not logistical or legal. It is cultural. The English “Latin” managerial philosophy, which relies heavily on the informal and spontaneity, does not operate in isolation. Teleworking does not tolerate improvisation very much.

More than just a logistical detail, distance is above all a new way of organizing work. The weight of this transition rests primarily on the managers. They are the ones who are at the front to orchestrate this new way of working and support employees. The difficulties they encounter are multiple:

The information flow no longer happens naturally in the team. In face-to-face, employees spontaneously share with each other and with their manager, who must have a 360 ° vision. This is no longer the case in teleworking, team communication must be restructured.

The vertical management mode, “Command and control”, to use the Anglo-Saxon terminology, already undermined by the aspirations of the new generations, becomes materially impossible. The manager is no longer able to control working time, to go behind the screens! We must move from a logic of means to a culture of results, based on trust. As such, developing the autonomy of employees becomes essential.

Theisolation linked to teleworking, the disappearance of the social bond, amplifies the psycho-social risks. It is even more necessary that the manager establishes privileged exchange times with each employee and learn to put himself in a listening posture.

It is difficult to develop the soft skills of managers in a short time. Without neglecting training, concrete levers exist to address the aforementioned issues. They are based on managerial routines inspired by agile methodologies. Their objective is to circulate information, develop the autonomy of employees, and promote a listening posture on the part of the manager.

3 examples to manage your teams remotely

The best known of these is Monday team meeting which allows to align the team and to highlight collective or individual successes. Each employee is invited to speak for 5 to 10 minutes to share their successes from the past week and outline their priorities for the coming week. Here we see the paradigm shift: the manager is not in a vertical logic to distribute tasks, but asks everyone to identify their priorities.

Comes next individual interview, or “one to one”. At the rate of 30 minutes every two weeks, the manager discusses non-operational matters with each employee. “How have you been feeling the last few weeks? How do you perceive your workload? What can I do to help you? “” To get the most out of these exchanges, research suggests that the manager spends 80% of the time listening and 20% speaking.

A final example: the daily stand-up, literally stand-up meeting in English. Very short, it allows the manager to inject momentum for the day. Everyone is invited to briefly state what they have accomplished the day before and what they intend to do the same day, in addition to the blocking points they have encountered. Some managers ask everyone to activate their camera for more convenience – and to mark the start of the working day.

Crises can be turned into opportunities. This is no exception to the rule. The companies that will do well are those that will seize the opportunity to grow their managers and by extension their teams. The health crisis should be an opportunity to accelerate the transition to management based on trust, autonomy and listening.

* Axel is a start-up incubated at Station F and created in 2018 which is developing a virtual assistant for managers.

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