Learning and Development

Campus Address
121-51 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 51
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Managing a team from a distance creates a new set of demands—communicating regularly, establishing respectful reporting routines, providing the right level of autonomy. The following ideas—including using remote work as an opportunity to conduct stay interviews—can help you get started.
Quick summary of top tips for managing remotely.

Supervising Remote Employees

External resources especially for supervisors and managers:

Schedule formal one-on-one meetings with team members to review their work status, accomplishments, etc., at the frequency that makes sense. We suggest a minimum of one 1:1 every two weeks. Meeting can be conducted via phone call or video call—whatever works for you and your team.

Keep in mind that given the reduced level of outside work interactivity, people will be on their own for long periods of time.  Some people will be perfectly fine with this. Others will struggle. Check in with your staff from time to time so you can gauge how they are doing. Ask open questions like ”What’s working well for you in the telecommuting environment?” or “What’s not working well? Where do you need help?”

Use the technology we have at our disposal (Skype, Zoom, etc.) to maintain your team’s routines around staff meetings or other recurring meetings. The more you can mimic the normal work routine, the better, provided arrangements are feasible and make sense.

Consider having each team member write a simple status report on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and share the reports across the team. Reports don't need to be anything fancy or onerous—simple bullet points are fine. This will add another element to info sharing across the team.

Take advantage of Microsoft Teams and set up group chat options (Posts) as another way to stay in touch with one another.

Model your own use of Skype as recommended in telecommuting general practices by keeping your status current and responding promptly when someone messages you.  

Keep in mind that it’s your role to keep your team as productive as possible during this period. Responding quickly to questions and keeping the lines of communication open will enhance your team's work.

Ideas for maintaining an effective team with a mix of remote and on-site members.

Computing Resources and Data Security

Make sure your remote team members have the equipment and computer resources they need to complete their work. ITS has a great checklist for getting set up for remote work. Use this tool to help identify needs and test remote work tools your team members will use.

You also need to ensure that remote team members know how to maintain the security of university data and records. Employees who have access to confidential data annually sign a confidentiality statement, agreeing to utilize that data only for business purposes. In addition, remote workers should understand how to properly store university data and records to ensure security and privacy of those records. For example, university records should not be stored on a personally-owned computer; they should only be stored in university systems. Please review the ITS Security Office's Top 10 Data Security Considerations document with your remote team members and ensure they understand how to store university records.

Using Stay Interviews to Build Engagement

One-and-one meetings are essential tools for supervisors to stay in touch with team members working remotely. Supervisors can use these meetings for “stay interviews”—structured conversations that build engagement and provide a roadmap for development.

Consider stay interviews with your team and use the conversations to inform individual development plans (see above). 

  • Stay interview resources: Ideas and templates from the UI Supervisors’ Toolbox—scroll down and look for stay interview links