Practice #2: Be more intentional with each contact.
You don't have as many opportunities, so you want to make each one count!
Make every contact productive and constructive.
Incidental contacts that occur on your way to the coffee machine or when someone passes your desk don't occur when folks are working remotely. Since you don't have as many contacts with your remote workers, you need to make sure that every contact is productive and constructive.
Most of your contacts with remote workers will be within the context of a scheduled meeting. The key to getting the most out of these exchanges is to be intentional about them. This means that you might take a few minutes ahead of a meeting to think through what you want to get out of the meeting, to have an agenda, and to be sure any supplementary materials are ready and easily accessible. It would help to share with the party or party's what the agenda is and to clarify what outcomes you are expecting.
An interesting cross between a touch-base conversation and a meeting is the pulse-check conversation. This exchange is held as a follow-up to a brief survey you send out each week. In that survey, you can ask a couple of questions like, "What has gone well this week?" or, "What should I be aware of that perhaps I am not?" You might even ask them to rate, on a scale from 1-10, their satisfaction with their job this week. Keep the questions positive and maintain a curious, but supportive tone. When you get their written answers, you can then follow-up with a conversation about their responses when you have your next contact with them.
Being intentional about exchanges with team members has always been important but, when dealing with remote workers, it is essential. Make the best of every contact and both your relationships with team members and the quality of work produced will be enhanced.
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