How to handle underperforming remote working employees

The pandemic has brought about a significant increase in remote working trends. As we gradually exit the pandemic, it is unlikely to expect that remote working will cease. It has become a flexibility that numerous employees expect nowadays. Although remote working brings about several benefits, it comes with its own challenges, as managers would find it more difficult to identify why some employees may be underperforming.

The new trends of remote working underscore the importance that managers need new ways to remain connected with employees, to immediately address any performance related issues and maintain productivity.

One of the common assumptions revolving around the lack of employee productivity is due to less working hours because of reduced supervision. Although this may be a problem, there are other challenges to consider and in this article, we shall be discussing some of these.


Employees may be in a position where they are doing important work at high productivity levels, however fail at communicating their progress. When at the office, managers can monitor better what their employees are doing and initiate spontaneous discussions about tasks and projects, better identifying the different statuses. In this regard, it is important for managers to create good communication structures between the different team members, to ensure frequent updates. These can include regular scheduled calls and group chats so as to embrace communication and make it part of the team culture, especially when remote working.

Distractions and lack of discipline

Employees may be less disciplined when they are working from home. With family members close by, the refrigerator and pets, being distracted from the tasks at hand is a real possibility. To maintain a degree of accountability, it could be a good idea to introduce the practice of group working with cameras switched on.


Some people may find that the isolation of remote working impacts their productivity. Without connections, some may find themselves bored, stagnated and in certain cases, even depressed. This is another problem which can be addressed through more frequent communication. One tip is to schedule time slots allocated for information sharing, idea generation, creativity and discussions surrounding how certain problems during the week were resolved.

Personal crises

Employees who may be facing personal problems and situations are less likely to have the opportunity to divulge what is impacting them when they are working from home. To compensate for such troubles, it is important that managers adopt emotional intelligence skills and find the time for one-to-one meetings. Another important factor is encouraging employees to embrace work-life balance.

Identifying the issues for lack of performance can allow managers to create the right action plans to ensure better performance going forward.

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