Building rapport with a remote boss is something that many of us are going to have to contemplate in our roles. Many of you are already working with a remote boss, and in the future, it is going to become more common that you will support an Executive who is even on the road constantly or lives and works in a different location. Som how can you build rapport? To make an Assistant/Executive partnership successful there needs to be rapport. You have to work well together; this is hard to create when you see each other every day but can be impossible when you don’t even live in the same timezone. So how do you build rapport with a remote boss? I’ve asked some experts who are currently EAs to Executive’s who either travel all the time or live in a different location. Here are their tips:

Building rapport with a remote boss

My boss and I speak throughout the day and we also Instant Message and text. I find texting is excellent especially when he’s travelling and in different time zones. We have seen each other in person about 6-7 times when I’ve attended meetings with him, but not much more than that! Communication is key, and when it works, it’s amazing. However, if there’s a lapse in communication on his part, it makes my job more difficult. I have access to his email which helps me immensely. There are times he forgets to copy me on important emails, but I find out what he needs on his email, and I can figure it out from there. Brianne Sirota Kreitman, EA at Juniper Networks 

My Executive is based in another country. He works at our office in Switzerland, and I work in our office in The Netherlands. We have daily calls and about every four weeks we have a meeting in person, he travels to The Netherlands, and I travel to Switzerland regularly. We have a Google Sheets doc with all our to-do items and we both update that list daily, we also add questions or remarks so that we can collaborate effectively. My Executive also travels a lot, to different time zones, which makes it also challenging. Ellen Kosters, Manager Corporate Services Team and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Xeltis

I’m in Houston TX, and my CEO is based in Raleigh, NC but travels extensively. We rely on email, phone, and text to stay in touch. I am also available after hours as much as I can be. Kelly Neely Olsakovsky, Executive Assistant at Pharm-Olam International

Have some sort of ‘getting a signature’ protocol in place. I use Diligent Boardbooks for most of the Executive signatures on things and DocuSign for others. Joley Oxenreider Hidaka, Executive Assistant at LTC Properties, Inc.

My boss travels about 90% of the time – we talk on the phone regularly (sometimes during the day more than once). We WhatsApp all the time; we also have WhatsApp groups for certain events too. We have a diarised call every other week for non-urgent or activities that need more than a five-minute call or too long for WhatsApp. I travel with him sometimes – that helps build rapport. I also have a fantastic team of EAs across our EMEA region who can get him to sign documents for me if needed – so building a good rapport with the wider Administrative team for me is critical. The time difference isn’t an issue for us; if he works in the USA, then I do tend to start and finish later if he is going East then I get up earlier, if it’s European time then I tend to be around anyway. My smartphone is vital to help us keep in contact with each other – I will say that’s he’s very mindful of not interrupting my evenings or weekends unless necessary. Charlotte Logsdon, Senior Executive Assistant to the President EMEA for Dell EMC

I work remotely 85% of the time, and my Executive travels nationally and internationally as well. We typically text, and I screenshot requests I need to work on later and email them to myself or add them to Asana. We usually meet once a week face to face or via FaceTime. If something is urgent, I am available, and if he is out of the country, I try to be available 24/7. Otherwise, he’ll send me something, and I’ll complete it during my regular work hours. Erin M. Wagner 

The Executive I work with travels every week. I’ll see him whenever he has a meeting in my location. We talk every morning and touch base most afternoons. We share to-do lists via Wunderlist (brilliant multi-platform software & we use the free version – I downloaded it to his laptop, iPad, phone etc.) We have monthly 1:1 Skype for business calls, where we talk about performance & any niggles either of us have. We have a coding system in place for his emails (Action / Read / Reports etc.), and lastly, we also use our Gateway SharePoint site and Diligent to share documents (or, I will save it in his email drafts folder.) Jaisha Bruce, Executive Assistant at The Open University. 

During this October’s Virtual Summit we will be joined by Melissa Mosher to discuss how exactly Assistants can work with Remote Workers. This session will be live and we will talk through all of the amazing technology that you can use to make sure you cover everything your remote Executive needs. To view the Summit programme and to book your place, head over to the website. 

Building rapport with a remote boss