Dealing with a Difficult Boss Remotely

Micromanaging from a distance isn’t fun.

Working from home has its benefits. You don’t have to commute to work, you can wear whatever you want, and you might have a bit more leeway in setting your own schedule.

However, there are definite disadvantages as well. And one of those is working for a difficult boss. Some managers might be great at managing their team in the workplace, but terrible at communicating remotely. Others may be less-than-stellar managers in general and managing remotely just makes their controlling tendencies even more evident.

Regardless of what type of remote boss you’re working for, we wanted to provide a few ways to make interactions easier.

  1. Communicate (but not too much)

Some managers find it difficult to know an employee is working if they can’t physically see them typing away at their keyboard or workstation. These types of managers can get thrown for a loop from working remotely and might start checking in with you numerous times throughout the day. This is fine, but if the video calls and emails start to impact the quality of your work in a negative way, it might be time to take control of the situation.

If your manager doesn’t initiate the conversation, ask if you can have meetings each day at set times. That way these check-in calls won’t be an interruption to your day. You can also send daily emails letting them know how you’re progressing on projects. This is also a great way to deal with a manager that doesn’t communicate at all. Regardless of their communication style, you’ll want a paper trail to show that you are indeed working.

  1. Let Your Boss Know About Conflicts

Working from home has its own unique set of challenges. If your kids are going to school remotely or if you’ve chosen to home school them during this difficult time, they’re probably going to pop up from time to time. You might need to ask your boss for some additional time to address these situations.

Let your boss know that you won’t be missing any deadlines, and you’re committed to the company, but that you might need specific pockets of time and flexibility to deal with home situations.

  1. Be a Helper

Many folks are still learning what working from home looks like. This might be true for you, and it might be true for your manager. So, if your manager is struggling, look for ways that you can help. This could be anything from researching the best video communication platforms to asking your boss if they need help on certain projects when you can tell they’re swamped. You want your boss to see you as a problem-solver, not a problem. Going the extra mile can help with that.

It’s true, working from home can make a bad boss worse and a great boss suddenly less-than-great. But if you stick with it and change your behavior and communication style to match your new situation, you’ll come out ahead.

Have you had difficulties working with a remote boss? If so, how did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!

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