School Business Affairs July-August 2020

asbointl.org SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | JULY/AUGUST 2020 21 LEADERSHIP I n response to the uncertainties presented by COVID- 19, most districts have asked their employees to work remotely. While a surprising 25% of the U.S. work- force normally works remotely at least part-time, it’s a new experience for most school employees and their managers. School teams had little or no time to prepare for the implications of the pandemic, leaving many feeling lost and overwhelmed. We know how to manage well when we can connect physically with team members for meet- ings, check-ins, and problem-solving discussions, but how do we do that remotely? Let’s explore the challenges and best practices associ- ated with remote work and leadership. Challenge: Lack of Access to Information One of the most surprising aspects of remote work is the amount of time it takes to find information. Formerly, in the office setting, that might have been as simple as walking to the next office. Now, employees must digitally connect with others who find the information, convert it to an electronic medium, and transmit it to the seeker of the information. This process requires tremendous effort, slows down the workflow, and increases frustrations. Best practice: Effective managers help team members clarify the most expedient ways to request and retrieve information, establish online portals that provide access to commonly needed materials, and create communica- tion processes that support efficient data acquisition. Challenge: Lack of Face- to-Face Supervision Workers often feel their leaders are out of touch with their needs. Managers report that they are concerned about whether team members will work as diligently or as efficiently in a remote environment. Best practice: Team leaders can use several strate- gies to address both of these concerns. Scheduling daily check-ins with each direct report will ensure time for Managing Newly Remote Teams Exploring the challenges and best practices associated with managing remote workers. By Nan Wodarz, Ed.D. BLUE PLANET STUDIO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

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