Quadel has employees in 26 states across the country. Since COVID-19, remote work has become commonplace and even the preferred method of employment for many. Quadel Senior Program Manager, Helena Widtfeldt, has worked remotely since 2015. She discusses her approach to remote work and how she and her team remain connected and productive below.
Understand Remote Work Includes Real Life
Widtfeldt is part of Quadel’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) division and works with multiple team members, also remote. The department meets regularly via video conferences and other technical methods. Like most, these meetings may include other members of a household. Widtfeldt and her team embrace real-life moments because it’s part of the work-life balance.
“Since COVID, there is more understanding and normalization around having young kids in the background who are home sick while you are working and perhaps aren’t always as quiet as you’d like while you are in a meeting. There is generally more empathy and understanding that we are all juggling (personal) things on top of work, and that we are all trying to be successful in both areas,” Widtfeldt said. “Having more folks working remotely has normalized this approach/lifestyle. In my neighborhood, we rotate where kids gather and play so we can support one another’s deadlines or meetings.”
Trust Workers to Manage Their Tasks
For most, working remotely allows for more flexibility than the standard office job. Managers are not physically near those in their department to oversee work productivity. But, Widtfeldt sees both of these factors as advantages when managers adapt and embrace the workstyles of their team members.
“With remote staff, there has to be a baseline of trust that is established and built upon. As a manager, you have to be willing to let go of some control, and allow staff to show that they are trustworthy and can manage their time and meet expectations,” Widtfeldt said. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to working remotely. Managers need to be flexible and open to different approaches.”
Don’t Underestimate the Video Call
Remote workers don’t miss water cooler small talk. But, a sense of connectivity must be established for employees to be productive and successful in any work environment. Whether it’s a formal video meeting, a casual project update, or a virtual coffee hour, video calls help remote workers create a community.
“As much as I don’t love seeing myself on camera, I do think having opportunities to see one another ‘face-to-face’ is important,” Widtfeldt said. “I don’t think every meeting requires a camera, it is helpful to foster a sense of connection from time to time. Feeling connected (to your team) and understanding what we are all working towards helps folks understand their role and creates a feeling of purpose.”