Forums

BLUF 1: How do I maximise the effectiveness of working from my home office?

BLUF 2: Should I expect a different style of leadership from an American manager?

Hi All,

I have recently been successful in gaining an offer of promotion within the same company I work for but for a very different department. The new role will offer me the opportunity to be based at my home office permanently and also within an american chain of command.

The benefits of working from home are significant but I'm wondering what I can do to make sure it is truly effective?

The chain of command within the new department is also now American and while still a UK company I am expecting a difference in style from what I am used too. Has anyone made the change from UK management to American management before?

lindge's picture
Training Badge

Different styles of leadership:

I spent 1994 - 2008 living working in Financial Services in London and then moved over to the US (Boston, new company, new role, same industry) in August 08 and have been living/working here since. 

In answer to your question, at least in my experience it really depends on the managers involved rather than where they live.  In London, I worked with managers  and directs of very different styles and approaches, and here in Boston, there are managers/directs with different styles / approaches as well.  I suggest not entering into your new role with a specific expectation of the American Management Style vs. Uk Management Style... rather, take some time getting to know the new management in your chain of command, build relationships, and develop your approach to communication accordingly...

Maximising effectiveness working at home:

My key thoughts here are around visibility.  You mentioned you're entering a new chain of command but working from home permanently.  Not sure where the chain of command is located relative to your home office and what the set up of the operation is, but would think you'd need to work doubly hard at building relationships, getting yourself in the know with what's happening in the new department etc. etc. Do you have the opportunity for regular site visits?

 

 

 

 

Gareth's picture

Thanks for your reply LINDGE.

My new chain of command are based 300+ miles away so it is not possible to be based with them or the department. I may however become an occasional home worker and be based in a new office (extra 20 minutes of travel) which is a 'key site' for the part of the business I am based in.

I think this may work out very well. I'll still have an office as my base with new people to get to know AND still be able to work at home when I want.

On the leadership style, your right - It will be a matter of getting to know how things work and finding my feet..

jhack's picture

Of course, this week's podcast (http://www.manager-tools.com/2010/02/managing-cultural-diversity-wendii-curve) works both ways, and it makes sense to see your boss as an individual.  

As for the home office...are you already established from a physical situation (an office with a door you can close, dedicated phone line, etc?) or are you setting up? 

The most important thing, as Lindge points out, is visibility.  Don't limit it to your boss and peers.  Reach out, other divisions, groups, levels, etc.  You have to work twice as hard to be half as visible.  Like it or not, your advancement opportunities will be harder to locate and selling yourself will be more difficult.  You'll be eating lunch alone, a lot.  Make sure you get other face time.  

Does your company have videoconference capability?  Can you get budget to visit not just the overseas office, but maybe offices closer to you, even if your chain of command isn't there?   

John Hack

terrih's picture

As a supervisor of three in the office and one working from home, my suggestion (in addition to the above) is to be especially diligent about reporting on the work you do, in whatever form your new supervisors prefer.

Silence from the at-home direct can get unnerving at times, if there is something expected. Also, while I know her well enough to know she's working and not slacking, I also worry about being able to demonstrate to MY boss that she's achieving results. So we worked out a system for that.