Out of Sight; Out of Mind

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The reality of managing remote employees is that, if you are responsible for their performance, you can never allow them to be completely out of your periphery.  It may be helpful for you to keep an eye on the aspects of support that seem to be slipping out of sight for many such leaders.

Recent Gallup data identified an engagement* ‘sweet-spot’ as they evaluated the 43% of U.S. employees who now work from home at least a few days a week.  They discovered that employees who work remotely between 60% and 80% of their work hours responded as being more engaged than those who consistently spent less or more time working remotely.  Yes, engagement went down if they worked more than 80% of their time out of their ‘connected’ environment.

The Good and The Bad

Remotes working in this ‘sweet spot’ of 60%-80% say these positives foster their engagement.

  • They feel their opinions count.
  • They feel they get to do what they do best every day.
  • They feel they have materials and equipment to do their work right.

You can likely figure out why these are more true for remotes than for employees who work together in their boss’s location, but if you wonder why, ask us!

But even in this ‘sweet spot’ of working remotely 60% – 80% of the time, remotes say they miss out on goal-setting input, clarifying priorities, feedback from coworkers, reviewing their successes, and regular discussions of what they should be doing to reach their goals.

Mitigate the Damage

The damage: When we aren’t invited to weigh-in on things we consider critical, our buy-in is weaker.
Mitigate this by soliciting input in a way that genuinely includes and respects all employees inside and out of the room during those critical goal-setting times.

The damage: When the critical need to clarify priorities creates hesitation, we waste effort or do harm.
Mitigate this by creating expectations and using short-hand processes with your remotes for when and how they should clarify priorities as changes impact plans.

The damage: When we have minimal input from those we impact, we assume we’re perfect.
Mitigate this by creating opportunities for interaction and structures to gain input on how their performance impacts other employees they support or work with.

The damage: When our wins get no response, we stop trying to win.
Mitigate this by simply ensuring frequent spotlighting of positive performance.

The damage: When we can’t course-correct as things outside our periphery progress, we miss opportunities and offer wasted contributions.
Mitigate this with calendared discussions on what they are doing daily or monthly to drive their overall performance and career goals; use this to confirm their projected steps are still on track.

There are great and simple tools and ideas for successfully supporting employees you rarely see.  If you need to tap into some, just reach out!  Pepperbox Solutions has years of experience working remotely and leading remote and distanced employees recognized for their success.

 

*Gallup evaluates engagement based on employee responses to 12 questions.
(Their questions are listed in
this article.)