Who's that Girl?


4 Ways to To Engage Remote Workers

Originally posted: December 28, 2020 on TrishMcFarlane.com

*From the dusty archives….and applies today, now more than ever…

empty road surrounded with trees with fogI woke up this morning and as I settled into my chair, cup of coffee in hand, I realized that I could not see my back yard through the fog.  It was moments before daybreak and I could see the thick fog settled into the woods like a warm wool blanket pulled up tight under your chin on a cold winter night.  It struck me because it is unusual for that to happen where my house is.  But, the conditions were just right so that I could not see the large oaks a mere ten yards from my window.

Existence isn’t based solely on the visual

I know they are there.  They are always there.  I wondered if the fog didn’t lift and remained for days on end, would I ever forget that the trees are there.  No, I wouldn’t.  I know that just because I can’t see something anymore, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist.  And, as the sun rose and the rays of light became brighter, it sliced through the fog and the truth of the trees became evident.

Not following the logic at work

Sometimes, we think “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to remote workers.  Have you ever:

  • forgotten to connect with, coach, or mentor a remote worker
  • worked remote and failed to keep colleagues or your boss informed about your work
  • turned a blind eye to an employee’s performance issue in hopes that it goes away
  • turned a blind eye on someone with a problem (health, addiction, anger, etc)

4 steps to take today to engage remote workers

  • Each day, reach out to at least one person you don’t normally talk to.  It can be a text, email or call.  The point is to make effort and make the connection.
  • Suggest a weekly huddle with your boss.  Pitch the idea to keep it to no more than 10 minutes.  This gives time for you to update on the most critical items and for your boss to give brief, decisive feedback.
  • Address any performance issues with team members as they happen.  Don’t let bad performance, or bad feelings about the outcomes, fester.
  • If you see anyone having difficulty at work, either talk to them, or tell someone.  Most organizations have EAP programs (employee assistance programs) or other wellbeing programs.  Make sure everyone on your team knows about them.

There are times when we let the fog settle so thickly around us that the right thing does not get done.  Why?  Because it is WORK to be that ray of light that can address the needs of an employee or of yourself.   Waiting or ignoring performance issues or workplace issues will not make it better. YOU must OWN it.

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