Thought Leadership

Common Causes (And Solutions) For Underperforming Remote Employees

What started as a temporary shift now dictates work-life indefinitely; hybrid work models and remote employees are here to stay. According to Upwork, at least 41% of the American workforce continues to work remotely, and over 20% will continue using the model even in 2025. However, remote work is accompanied by its own set of problems for employers, which can be fatal for a business. However, identifying the cause of underperformance and brainstorming solutions can help maximise productivity and make the best out of a hybrid work model.


How Issues Arise During Remote Work & Solutions To Them


  1. Communication Issues

Hybrid and remote work models have undeniably led to zoom fatigue and death by zoom. The time spent organising and getting colleagues on-call is often greater than time spent on the actual call. Prompt and organised responses have disappeared since there is a plethora of communication methods and constant information overload. Moreover, introverted employees have been struggling to connect and engage themselves at work. The concept of reporting and giving simple updates to colleagues and managers is now a rarity. Since remote work started, Gallup reported that 71% of employees are not actively engaged in their organisation and 85% believe the communication they receive isn’t enough.


To tackle this communication issue, Zapier decided to move their official communication mode to instant messaging. This shift allowed employees to see who is online and available despite time zone differences. Moreover, Zapier also sets up weekly team meetings to brainstorm projects and map them.


2. Employee Disconnect

In-person connections and team spirit has completely diminished due to remote work. Employees are unable to connect to organisations and with each other, creating a strong disincentive to join any meeting or discussion. Without supportive relations, no teams can complete a project without feeling burnt out. The ability of trusted teams to manage a heavy workload without feeling fatigued is close to nil. While virtual social activities such as happy hours and games always help employees bond, employees need to feel connected to managers and the organisation as well. Even back in 2018, a Buffer study evaluated the state of remote work and found out that 21% of remote workers believe that their biggest struggle was loneliness. This number has only gone up with the devastating atmosphere around the world.


For example, A CEO personally called every employee who tested positive for COVID-19. Another anonymous CEO decided to send gourmet cookies and a heart-warming personal note to all employees. These acts, whether small or big, help employees feel cared for and valued. Employees were immediately able to bond with the organisation as a whole and reported an increase in loyalty and employee experience.


3. Excess Distractions And Interruptions

It is quoted that remote work and hybrid models have increased overall productivity in organisations. However, this does not mean that employees are maximising their potential and are the best version of themselves. Distractions at home have made it difficult to focus and concentrate. These distractions include family interruptions and binge eating. These ‘breaks’ cumulate and lead to hours and even days being wasted, creating a huge gap in efficiency.


Companies can help overcome these distractions by giving tips to employees about how to work with serenity. These tips can include putting up a do not disturb sign or wearing noise-cancelling earphones. Some companies have gone one step beyond and have booked workspaces for employees or covered their child care costs so employees can focus.


Conclusively, it is important to make sure that the causes of issues in the organisation are identified before moving onto solutions. Leading and managing remote workers is a challenge but with the right strategy, it can be extremely rewarding and successful.