Managers’ First Experience of the Transition to Distance Management During COVID-19

Christine Ipsen*, Kasper Edwards, Giulia Nardelli, Nelda Vendramin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Managers at all levels have been forced to change their managerial activities during COVID-19 lockdowns. This paper describes early findings of a case study of 13 Danish first- and second-line managers’ experiences with distance management during COVID-19. The qualitative study collected data from May to December 2020 during six rounds. The analysis shows that the managers take the responsibility on them to make working from home function for their employees and seek new ways of organizing and manage work from home. They appreciate the flexibility and that meetings have become more efficient but also equal and inclusive. The new role provide them with new skills and tasks. However, distance management also comes with a cost i.e. longer workdays and awkward working hours, the tasks are demanding and require planning. The managers miss the social interaction that the office provides and work hard to create a sense of proximity and trust across distance. The study shows that the lockdowns have impacted managers’ experiences of their management job in a positive and negative way. If workplaces are to continue with WFH or hybrid-remote-work workplaces they are to ensure that managers’ wellbeing is safeguarded by new efficient ways of working rather than working harder and longer.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2021)
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesLecture Notes in Networks and Systems


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