HR, Training & Performance

Managing Employees Who Struggle in the Remote Environment

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As many organizations are adapting to newly remote teams, leaders are challenged with addressing the challenges of the remote environment. Remote work remains a relevant topic for employers, and it will continue post-coronavirus. Many managers find themselves tasked with effectively leading remote employees and helping their teams adapt to the virtual workplace.

While many employees thrive in a remote environment, you may find that some members of your team struggle. While leaders often can keep an eye out for social or performance queues effectively in person, monitoring employee performance can present new challenges in the virtual environment. By thoughtfully monitoring employee performance and behaviors, you may be able to notice employee struggles and help provide necessary support.

How Are Employees Adapting to Remote Roles?
Though remote work has been a growing trend even pre-coronavirus, the pandemic has pushed many organizations to expand their telecommuting practices. While numerous studies show that expanding telecommuting options can offer benefits for both employers and employees, findings show that not all employees adapt to the virtual environment equally. The Harris Poll conducted a study on behalf of Zapier to see how employees are transitioning to remote work.

Results show that:

  • 66% prefer working in the office or workplace.
  • 42% miss socializing with co-workers.
  • 27% report working more hours.

The same study found many positive attributes of expanded remote work—but this insight indicates that not all employees are adapting with ease.

Challenges of Managing Remote Employees
Remote employees face unique challenges. While numerous studies show that remote employees can achieve levels of productivity that are the same as or higher than their non-remote peers, obstacles do exist. According to the Harvard Business Review, common challenges remote workers face may include:

  • Reduced motivation
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction
  • Social isolation
  • Limited or lack of access to necessary information
  • Distractions within their home

Many employees can overcome these challenges, and often even thrive when working remotely. However, you may find this won’t easily be the case for all. Managers can focus on identifying issues their team members may be having, and create a plan to address them.