You’ve heard the saying “out of sight is out of mind”, and while it can be true when everyone is working from home, it doesn’t have to be. On one side of the “screen” you have management that is feeling a huge gap in knowledge and the ability to assess team members, and on the other side individuals who may feel that their work is going unseen and unappreciated.
I worked very closely with a company for three years while they went from analysis, through design, technology adoption and full production. I helped identify roles, grow people from within to take on new roles, and hire externally. They built a robust team that was highly productive and focused. A good part of that success was due to the manager. He had a process where he did a “drive by” each day, often twice a day, and stopped by everyone’s desk to check in and just chat to unofficially get status, boost morale in insane periods, and take the constant pulse of the team. With the rapid transition to remote work this fell by the wayside until new processes were established.
You can’t go by their desk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t touch base every day. Establish times for one-on-one quick chats. Design them to fit the rhythm of their day. Catch them early and fresh, mid-afternoon when their energy levels are slumping, or at the end of the day in preparation for the next.
The chats don’t have to be long, five to ten minutes max. They don’t even have to be every day, but don’t expect to effectively manage a team through formal meetings alone.
Have you moved to a system of assessment based on results, not hours worked each day? Do you know who works quietly but diligently in the background vs. those who are always very visible? Do you recognize all their strengths and work to optimize those strengths?
If your management isn’t reaching out to you how do you stay on their radar? First, ask your manager how often they want to be in touch with you. Then set up regular one-on-one meetings with them. Provide updates, ask questions, and get resolution on issues that are out of your area of responsibility. Summarize your successes and accomplishments! Ensure that they understand what you are doing and how you are doing. Be pro-active!