While an open-door policy is a great approach to increase your accessibility to employees when everyone is working in person, with many organizational now having an increasing remote working environment, it is important to consider approaches for maintaining the open-door environment when working remotely.
The importance of meeting with remote employees
There may be increased issues that remote employees have
Part of the need for putting an emphasis on meeting with remote employees, and making it easy for them to discuss their concerns, is that remote employees may have unique needs. working remotely has its own challenges – potentially regarding getting information from others, or knowing who to contact on various issues, and making sure that you are aware of such issues is particularly important.
Employees may be more isolated
In addition to the greater number of possible issues that remote employees may be facing, there may be reduced support structures in place with remote workers. While in-person employees have the opportunity to discuss issues easily with colleagues, the ability to do so for remote workers is substantially reduced. As such, not only may remote employees have more potential sources of concern, but their ability to share and resolve their concerns is reduced.
Approaches for encouraging employees to raise their concerns and suggestions
One approach to make it easy for employees to maintain contact is to have dedicated drop-in times when you are already available on Zoom for any employee to pop by and discuss what is on their mind. This can reduce the barrier to arranging a specific time – allowing smaller issues, that may not be as suited to advanced scheduling to be brought up and discussed.
Calendar to schedule appointments
Another approach to making yourself accessible is to have calendar slots where employees are able to easily signup. While there is slightly more friction involved than just popping by in a traditional open-door environment, the approach is still easier to arranged than scheduling a meeting via email.
Making it known that you are available
A final consideration is to make sure it is known within the organization that you want to encourage others to come by. This is maybe especially important when working remotely – while in-person it is possible for employees to see others discussing their concerns with you, when working remotely this is not possible. The visual cues that you have your door open to encourage people to come by are also lost. As such, it is maybe especially important to highlight your availability and willingness to meet with employees.