Our clients are often experienced with virtual staff, but even then, still sometimes forget the differences in managing someone who is virtual. Especially now, when everyone is working from home, those one on one meetings and regular check-ins are important. Just like so many are, you may be juggling the challenges of working from home alongside your spouse, kids and even pets.

Remember when a normal workday kept family interruptions to a minimum because being out of sight resulted in being somewhat out of mind? Now, toddlers can see you from the other side of those french doors and preschoolers know you are squirreled away in the basement trying to secure just 1 interruption-free hour. Pets whine for a midday walk and the cat just caught and released another chipmunk in your office. Some of us have swapped the stress of commuting w/the tension (and guilt?) resulting from chasing the elusive isolation zone.

All of these reasons certainly justify why you have to, yet again, reschedule an employee’s 1:1 meeting. But, the repercussions of doing so are far greater reaching than just the inconvenience of rescheduling.

  • It Wastes Time – Your employee probably prepped for the meeting in advance to make sure it flows efficiently and covers everything they need. Rescheduling requires at least some additional preparation time.
  • It communicates to the individual that they and their work just aren’t that valuable – remember, your employees perform work that is valuable to you, keeping you from having to manage your files and books. A highly-skilled paralegal, legal secretary, or office manager has valuable time, too.
  • That they aren’t part of the fold – It’s so easy to manage someone when you can just walk by their desk and remember to drop a note. Virtual employees don’t benefit from that easy office camaraderie, so are easy to forget. You brought them onto your team for a reason, so don’t forget to build that relationship and use your virtual staff.
  • That you don’t really hold them to high standards – You hold yourself to a high standard in performing work, being on time meeting with clients, and delivering above and beyond. Your team wants to give you the same level of service.
  • That you don’t really hold them to high standards – You hold yourself to a high standard in performing work, being on time meeting with clients, and delivering above and beyond. Your team wants to give you the same level of service.
  • That there is little point in being very prepared because the meeting will probably fall through anyhow – When a meeting repeatedly falls through, you’ll likely find your team less and less prepared. After all, why do work that’s not necessary?
  • That they probably can’t be successful in this role – If you’re never available to your staff, they’re unable to ask you critical questions, receive feedback, and build a working relationship. Without this, they’re unlikely ever to rise to the level you expect to see, meaning they can’t be successful.

While it may be tempting to cancel or reschedule meetings, first, pause and think about why you constantly want to reschedule. It may make sense to move the meeting to a different time or day when you’re less likely to be putting out fires or stressed by the interaction. If you must, switch the one on one meeting to every other week and have them send you a structured, bulleted email with updates and questions in lieu of a meeting. However, as soon as possible, get back on the cadence of meeting regularly. Just as with in-person staff, building that working relationship is key to success.

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