Recent studies by Global Workplace Analytics have found that 37% of employees would take a pay cut of 10% if they could work from home. Many employees crave the freedom, flexibility, and convenience of remote work.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cut out for the job. In some cases, distractions pop up that cut into employee productivity. In others, insecurities lead to overwork and job frustration.

Managers often struggle to identify why their employees are having problems. In a traditional office, they could walk over and talk to that employee, or they would be able to identify the problem just from observation.

This is harder for remote workers, who might be in different time zones and rely primarily on digital communication. To make it easier for them to understand what is happening, we created the infographic below:


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Not all employees are a good fit for remote work setups. Some — especially those who don’t have previous telecommuting experience — get easily distracted by their surroundings. They think they’re multi-tasking by running a load of laundry during the day or clearing the dishwasher during a conference call, but they’re really just tuned out.

At best, this person is distracted. At worst, they’re a liability when they miss deadlines and show up unprepared.

Of course, not all hard-to-reach employees are distracted. Some remote workers enjoy working from home to reduce distractions found in the workplace. According to Surepayroll, 61 percent of employees said loud colleagues were the biggest distraction in the office, and 86 percent said they hit maximum productivity when working alone. It’s entirely possible that this employee has signed out of chat boxes and closed their emails as a way to eliminate distractions completely.

This silence is what frustrates some managers. They want to know that their remote teams are working hard and able to meet their deadlines, which they can’t do if their employees are unreachable.

This actually creates a double-edged sword: Checking in distracts employees, but managers need to contact them for regular updates and confirmation.

These are just two types of employees whom managers have to deal with when leading remote teams. In every case, though, by knowing your remote employees’ personalities, you can better understand their behavior and create policies that will keep them focused, on-task and accountable.

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