Women of Power Summit Shares How to Master Relationships When Working Remotely

The dynamic of workplace relationships changed drastically after the pandemic. Managing relationships without face-to-face interaction can be hard.

With more of us working hybrid or strictly from home, BLACK ENTERPRISE used this year’s Women of Power Summit to tackle the importance of “Mastering Relationships When You Work Remotely.” Moderated by our Managing Editor of Digital, Kia Smith, she spoke candidly with Yolanda DeGrange, Vice President of Strategic Relationship Management & Consulting at John Hancock; Shavonne Gordon, Global Head of Diversity for Company and Infrastructure at Morgan Stanley; and Dr. Sabrina Kizzie, Digital Media Consultant/Lecturer at Baruch College, about building and maintaining connections with staff, allies, and sponsors in a remote work world.

DeGrange made sure to remind attendees how important it is to show up work-ready to a Zoom or virtual meeting, the same way you would to an in-person meeting.

“You are the brand of the organization, so how you show up matters,” she said.

Proximity bias was also discussed, a concept where supervisors believe on-site employees work harder than their remote colleagues, just because they can physically see in-person staff doing the work. DeGrange touched on ways team members can make themselves visible in the workplace, even if working remotely.

“Be intentional In being there even when you can’t be,” she said.

Gordon spoke of the importance of producing good work that others can identify as your own, in the event proximity bias comes into play. Having a sponsor or someone in the room who can vouch for you can be vital to saving your job.

It’s why Kizzie said making connections in the workplace is a key component to success in your professional development at work. With it being the first time in history that four generations are working together in the workplace, Kizzie stressed the importance of making connections and sponsors.

The ladies shared some tips for leaders to consider in creating a productive and welcoming remote work environment: having in-person meetings, trying to manage expectations for the company, networking, and communicating your goals.

Most importantly, protect your peace and demand what you need to be successful, even if you are an introverted remote worker.