Remote working has been forced on a many companies over the last year.  With restrictions lifting many are looking at how their workforce will return to the office.  In some cases the need for office working has been greatly reduced.  The pandemic has moved many leaders from managing remote teams to managing remote workers.

So how do you manage the performance of someone where you can’t observe their interactions, wins and productivity on a daily basis?

Firstly monitor who is engaged.  Who turns up to meetings on time, has their camera on and inputs into meetings?  Is the phone answered in a reasonable amount of time?  Are you able to interact with them easily, or do phone calls and emails go unanswered?  A loss of visibility should be a warning sign that a member of staff maybe struggling.  Some extra support, training and engagement at this point maybe all that is needed for those finding it difficult to work remotely.

You need to document changes to the following areas that you see:

  • Communication
  • Productivity
  • Relationships
  • Attendance
  • Quality
  • Accountability

Each time you notice a change in any of these areas note down the date, time and situation.  You will then get a picture of how many times they are late for meetings, react in ways unusual for them, sound out of sorts, or make a mistake with a client.  Your notes just need to be a short description of what happened.

Once you have a log of evidence you can decide how to proceed.  If you think the employee is deliberately performing badly, then it may be misconduct.  If the reason is something beyond their control, then what support do they need?

Follow your internal procedures for managing poor performance.  This should start with an informal discussion to air your concerns and identify any help they need.  Document the help provided – this may be extra training, a buddy system, or daily check ins to see how they are doing.  If performance does not improve  then you  would need to move onto a formal meeting.

Managing home workers requires more effort than managing those who are in line of sight, so you need to change your approach appropriately.

If you need help in training managers to effectively manage remotely then get in touch.