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Posted on 3 October 2022

How to address a dip in remote employee performance

7 minute read

With the current shift toward remote and hybrid work models, it’s not only the employees who are working differently—employers and HR departments must also adapt. With 83% of workers noting that a hybrid setup is their first choice for a work model, companies must turn their attention to making sure employees have the resources they need to get their jobs done as they juggle their time between the office and home.

Why Remote Employees Suffer Performance Dips

Maximizing revenue requires ensuring employees are performing as expected. However, it also requires the understanding that employees are not robots, and optimizing productivity levels can be challenging for staff working remotely.  Here are some factors limiting employee effectiveness.

Lack of Engagement and Interest

Compared to their counterparts working on site, remote workers feel less connected to their employers and coworkers. Research has found that 38% of remote employees are also less comfortable when facing changes in the workplace.

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This can stem from a lack of trust between managers and employees. Managers who can’t “see” what their employees do may have some doubt about their performance and can develop unrealistic expectations of team members. This can be stressful for employees and lead to resentment and poor performance.

Employees also feel disengaged when they’ve gone above and beyond their tasks without proper recognition. Good employees may find no good reason to keep performing if they don’t feel valued.

Personal Issues

Despite reporting a better work-life balance, remote workers often find it difficult to separate their personal and work lives. Personal circumstances can significantly impact work performance. Distractions and interruptions can happen at any time while working remotely, leading to poor productivity.

The always-on mentality also impacts employee satisfaction. A culture that does not encourage down time creates pressure for staff to fill all their time with work tasks, leading to poor engagement over time. For example, over 52% of hybrid employees and 44% of remote workers feel they have an obligation to work despite their health status. 

Poor Mental Wellbeing

Working alone can have an impact on an employee’s mental health. Since there’s less interaction from co-workers, they are at a higher risk of feeling isolated. Remote workers mention various struggles, with 24% reporting having feelings of loneliness.

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As the world moves toward a remote work setup, keeping up with employee performance can be challenging. But it’s not an insurmountable problem. There are ways to address these dips in employee performance.

Addressing Performance Issues

Here are three ways to address performance issues among remote employees:

1. Improve Communication

Communication with employees should be frequent, pleasant, and two-way. Employees should be kept apprised of what’s happening in the company and allowed to voice their questions and concerns.

Communicating business goals allows your employees to see how they fit into the company, including how their roles contribute to the success of the organization.

Management should be open to feedback. This means providing them with a safe space to say what they think and feel, whether it’s good or bad. Following an open door policy, launching employee surveys, and implementing grievance policies are ways to encourage communication. These strategies can help motivate employees to stay engaged and connected at work. 

2. Use Technology to Track Progress

Employers should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and use software tools to track progress and ensure employees are performing at their best.

Not only does his clarity help give managers an unbiased assessment of each team member, but employees can better understand what is expected of them. It helps them see how their roles and responsibilities fit into the company’s goals. To make KPIs accessible to all, integrate them into existing technologies remote employees use so team members can assess their own capacities.

3. Set Attainable Goals and Offer Incentives

When setting goals and assigning tasks, managers must consider the bandwidth and capabilities of each employee. Be clear and reasonable while communicating expectations, and leave room for flexibility when possible. Overworking employees can result in disengaged teams and high turnover If corporate goals are not being met, consider hiring additional team members.

Offering incentives, such as redeemable points or rewards, gives employees measurable short- and long-term objectives to work towards, and helps them feel productive, engaged, and appreciated

Recognition and Reward are Key to Employee Engagement

Productivity does not look the same for everyone. Often, employees are willing to perform but may not be given the support needed to do so. Reducing underperformance requires organizations to develop a transparent structure, clear expectations, and policies that reward performance. This will help managers and employees to identify problems and successes and respond appropriately, which is especially helpful for remote employees.

A company’s goal may be to earn money, but they shouldn’t forget that employees play a major role in achieving this. Make sure you’re giving your remote employees the resources and recognition they need to be productive.

Author Bio

Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies all around the world track time.

Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better. When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.

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Dean Matthews
Founded & CEO, OnTheClock