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Quick Guide On Managing Underperforming Remote Workers

Management must have meaningful communication and relationships with their remote workforce, as much as they should with in-house staff. However, what happens when a remote worker is underperforming? Are they slacking off? Are they experiencing something outside of work?

Many times, remote workers will have to juggle school, work, and home life as part of their day-to-day struggle – not to mention the social isolation that may come with working remotely. So, what needs to be done?

This quick guide will explore the 5 ways to effectively manage remote workers that are struggling in their works!

Underperforming Remote Worker

1. Fully Evaluate Remote Workers

“When working with remote workers, you’ll have to evaluate them in every nook and cranny,” says Jamie Cortez, a writer at Academized. “Base your evaluations on differentiating underperformance from the underperformer. In other words, look for any lack of initiative and commitment, any moments of poor attitude, or for insufficient skills.”

With that said, keep these questions in mind when evaluating your remote workforce:

* “What’s different about my remote worker?” If you notice anything different about your remote worker – say, a sudden bout of underperformance – then address it. Don’t leave anything to chance, because chances are, you’ll miss the bigger underlying issue you’re your remote worker might be facing.

* “How can things be worse?” Sometimes, your remote worker will have a minor issue that might affect their performance; but that doesn’t mean that there’s no issue. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the situation.

For example, if a remote worker is underperforming due to family obligations, then at the very least, they’re not leaving you hanging, right? If your employee tells you that they have family commitments, then that should be okay just as long as they continue to put in the work.

* “How can I tell the difference between fact and emotion?” Fact and emotion can be two different things. Facts are things you see at basic face value, while emotions are the underlying reasons why those facts came to be.

Consider a remote worker underperforming due to a death in their family.

* Fact: The remote worker is underperforming.

* Emotion(s): The remote worker is overwhelmed with grief and depression from losing a loved one.

* “What’s mine, and what’s theirs?” Both you and your remote worker should take accountability for things. Having healthy accountability on both sides makes little room for misunderstandings and underperformance.

2. Revisit Expectations

If you had established expectations for your remote workers at the beginning of their work tenure, have a quick look at those expectations. If your expectations are becoming unrealistic and antiquated, then fix them, and explain the changes to your employees.

Plus, make sure that your remote employees can still meet your expectations. If not, revise your expectations, so that your remote staff could follow them better.

3. Observe Remote Worker Behaviors

Instead of saying “You haven’t done X…” say “I noticed…” Rather than degrade your remote worker for not doing something, let them know that you’ve experienced some changes in them, and then ask them what’s going on. Rather than acting accusatory, be observant. The more you show how observant, the more likely your remote worker will open up to what’s going on, and why they’re underperforming.

4. Learn More About Your Remote Workers

It’s good to get to know more about your remote workers.

Maybe, when there’s little to no work to be done, why not take the time to give your remote worker a video call, and ask them about their hobbies, interests, etc. Ask them how you can improve their remote-work experience. By learning what’s good, and what needs to be improved, you’ll feel happier about their work ethic.

5. Show Empathy, But Stay Firm

“While it’s important to express empathy for your remote workers, don’t let that hinder your leadership,” says Frank Vargas, a human resources expert at Stateofwriting. “One way to keep a healthy level of empathy is to have video calls with your remote workers so that you can read one another’s expressions and tone as you talk to them. Remember: Check in with your remote workers before checking on them. Plus, don’t be afraid to provide possible solutions to help them get back on track.”


So, now that you know how to effectively manage underperforming remote workers, you can make sure that your remote staff works well regardless of their circumstances, their emotions, etc. Use strategic and empathic leadership to motivate your remote staff to work hard and stay active in your company.

written by: Lauren Groff, a writer and editor at Literature Review Help. As a career blogger, Lauren writes articles about management strategies, remote work, and career trends.


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