The Thoughtful Approach This Manager Takes To Protecting Remote Team Members’ Time

The majority of the workforce prefers work-from-home arrangements, but optimizing the benefits of remote work — and ensuring healthy boundaries are drawn — falls largely on the manager.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Jun. 29, 2023
The Thoughtful Approach This Manager Takes To Protecting Remote Team Members’ Time
Brand Studio Logo

When given the option to work from home, many in the United States have responded with a resounding “yes.” 

In fact, a 2022 McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey found that if given the ability to work remotely, 87 percent of employees will choose to do so, while a 2023 Pew Research Center survey found that of hybrid workers currently working from home most of their week, 34 percent would prefer to increase that to their entire week.

Because remote work is now so coveted by employees, offering the benefits is a tactical advantage for businesses. But remote work can have its downsides, especially on employee work-life balance.

For instance, while 98 percent of survey respondents in Buffer’s 2023 State of Remote Work report said they would recommend telework arrangements to others, 81 percent said they check emails outside work hours, 1 in 5 report being burnt out, and 22 percent said they felt unable to maintain work boundaries and unplug. 

As the traditional idea of a workspace fades into the periphery, managers are tasked with ensuring work-life balance is maintained in the new normal. 

At Teachable, Director of Brand, Creative, and Content Marketing Bethany Cantor protects team members’ time by saying no to endless workweeks and yes to personal days. 

Read how Cantor ensures remote team members are able to balance their professional and personal lives. 

 

Bethany Cantor
Director of Brand, Creative, and Content Marketing • Teachable

Edtech company Teachable hosts over 100,000 instructors and creators who use the platform to monetize and share their knowledge with learners, track and analyze their business performance, and more.

 

When it comes to leading a remote team, what are some of your best practices for ensuring you protect your team members’ time? 

Leading by example is key. If I don’t want to lead a burnt-out team I need to model habits that prevent endless work weeks — logging off at a reasonable hour, not sending work requests late at night or on weekends, and encouraging personal days. I’ve also cut down on meetings and made it clear that unless there is an emergency, employees can assess whether or not any given meeting is truly necessary for them to attend. We’ve also begun holding quarterly prioritization meetings where teams can assess upcoming work and flag any points in the quarter where they anticipate a resource crunch.

 

If I don’t want to lead a burnt-out team I need to model habits that prevent endless work weeks.”

 

What role does technology play in helping you protect your team members’ time? 

It’s a delicate balance, because technology can be a distraction as well as a time saver. We use Asana for task tracking which is very effective since each team member can see a list of their to-dos on a given day. We also practice good Slack etiquette, using it for quick updates and check-ins. When there is a big discussion to be had or an emergency decision to be made, we take it live to avoid endless back and forth.

 

What benefits have you seen by taking a thoughtful approach to protecting team members’ time? 

One of the biggest benefits has been more time for true creative brainstorming. With less time spent in meetings about the small stuff, we’re finding we can hold more in-depth workshops to solve big strategic problems. Those types of meetings are much more productive and really boost team morale and focus. I’ve found that people are volunteering to spend time in workshops because they’re energized, and that has been exciting to see.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via Shutterstock and featured companies.

Hiring Now
West Monroe
Cloud • Professional Services • Security • Analytics • Consulting • Utilities • Renewable Energy