The Covid-19 pandemic triggered a long-overdue social and technological transformation to adopt remote work environments. The success of this global experiment shattered prejudices against employee productivity in a remote workplace, with 82% of business leaders allowing remote and hybrid work as a permanent work model even post-pandemic.
As managers and leaders prepare to lead in the new normal, their success will be closely tied to the success of the relationships they build with their teams and the culture they establish in their organizations. To do this, managers must prioritize and reimagine their 1:1s. After all, it is always the people that define the success of any endeavor.
What is a 1:1 meeting? How is it different from other meetings?
A one-on-one meeting is a dedicated, unrestricted conversation between a manager and an employee. (Sometimes, this could also be structured between managers and skip level employees). In the pre-pandemic work-world, in most instances, the 1:1 was synonymous with coffee or lunch meetings with a team member, conversation about personal and professional life conditions, and usually involved frank discussions about OKRs or project deliverables.
As a rule of thumb, a 1:1 is a more casual and relaxed meeting where two-way conversations can give rise to better communication and understanding. It stands out from other meetings since the 1:1 stipulates that participants do not converse about daily tasks, projects statuses, deadlines, etc., but instead focus on relationship-building which usually leads to increased productivity in teams.
The importance of 1:1 meetings in remote teams:
With the global shift to remote work, the 1:1 meeting has become crucial in not only maintaining manager-employee relationships but also in ensuring that team cohesion and communication thrive while working in socially distanced spaces.
In a remote workplace, a 1:1 meeting is a rare opportunity to get face-to-face time with teammates. This meeting allows managers and team members to communicate and align around shared goals, understand each other’s work preferences, work attitudes, and styles. It becomes a facilitator of effective collaboration.
A Google research code named “Project Oxygen” shows that successful managers were more likely to have frequent one-on-one meetings with their team members. Remote managers are expending the unique nature of the 1:1 meeting as a space to connect and learn about teammates, coach and mentor the talent that they manage, communicate professional and personal goals, and provide feedback while also addressing concerns.