The Remote Employee’s Dilemma of Choosing Between Work and Life

Studies consistently demonstrate that remote-based employees are more productive compared to those working in conventional office environments. However, there still exists a misconception surrounding those who work from home – an unfounded belief indicating that they either make a minimal effort to keep their job or compromise their physical and mental health due to overworking. The fact, however, is that the majority of remote workers are efficient in managing their schedules and workloads.

Although there may be some remote workers who exhibit unsatisfactory conduct, such instances are typically at the more extreme end of the spectrum. It is crucial to acknowledge the potential drawbacks that may arise with having a remote worker who lacks motivation or struggles with managing their time effectively. Such scenarios can significantly hamper team productivity and efficiency.

As an expert staffing company operating in the virtual sphere, we have encountered diverse employee behaviors. Over time, we have become familiar with every stereotype, and have formulated the following techniques that employers can adopt to identify such conduct within their workforce, along with preventive measures they can take.

Inactive Employee

It is crucial to recognize that measuring the productivity of remote workers based on the time they spend typing is an inadequate approach. Additionally, this practice fails to consider that conventional office employees are not necessarily more productive by being physically present at work. The primary advantage of remote working is the flexibility it offers, empowering employees to work when they find it convenient, thereby enhancing their productivity. For instance, some work better in the morning, while others draw inspiration from working at night, and the flexibility of remote working facilitates this.

We believe that evaluating the productivity of remote employees based on their outcome rather than the quantity of their keyboard strokes is more effective. If they are accomplishing their assigned tasks in a timely and expected manner, the speed at which they work becomes less significant. Occasionally, taking a break from the computer and allowing the mind to wander can be advantageous in terms of enhancing creativity, particularly in complex tasks like software development. Therefore, if a remote developer produces the anticipated results, they are not considered idle.

If the project outcomes fail to meet the expected standards or the work produced reveals a lack of diligence and precision, it could indicate an issue. Similarly, if there is no response to calls within working hours, no updates to assigned tasks, and no communication in the designated Slack channel, it could signify a problem.

Situations where this knowledge may prove useful

Once you have taken the requisite steps to hire a remote worker, it is crucial to draft a contract that sets out the expectations of both parties. If the remote worker is not meeting the stated expectations, it is important to have a conversation to ensure that the agreement is being upheld.

It is quite common to hastily presume that an employee who appears to be unproductive may be spending excessive leisure hours watching shows like The Umbrella Academy. However, that may not be the most accurate conclusion. When a remote worker is the sole available contributor, they may face significant hurdles making progress without the necessary input from other members of the team, hence causing delays.

Individuals who are new to remote working may find establishing a consistent approach to time management difficult. Providing additional assistance, such as breaking down larger tasks into smaller components and setting daily deadlines, could aid in their transition to this new mode of work.

For individuals who struggle to avoid procrastination during work hours due to distractions like browsing the latest XKCD comic, implementing an application like Cold Turkey could be helpful. This software is designed to aid remote workers in distinguishing between their personal and professional time and limiting access to certain websites while they work.

We do not recommend using time-tracking tools for remote employees. Our research has indicated that evaluating output instead of input time is a more effective approach. However, in the event of an issue with an employee, helpful self-training suggestions such as Timely could be implemented to improve their focus. It is important to minimize administrative tasks in order to prevent replacing one distraction with another.

This presents an excellent opportunity to clarify any employment expectations that have not been previously set. It is crucial to document your working hours, while considering any time zone differences if applicable. Additionally, specifying the communication channels to be used, the employee’s expected conduct, and how they can contact you outside of regular business hours in case of any questions are all important aspects to consider.

The Cause of the Explosion

Burnout can be a harmful consequence of idleness. A well-known example of this can be observed in Sandra Bullock’s character in the movie ‘The Net’, who hides their true identity in seclusion by dedicating long hours to programming. It is generally acknowledged that remote employees can potentially work up to an additional seven hours per week, ultimately resulting in increased work output.

Being part of customer service does not only mean showing up to work when others are absent due to illness or other reasons. It involves commencing work when colleagues are concluding and continuing even after they’ve left. It entails being accountable for replying to technical inquiries and checking emails outside of normal business hours, including evenings and weekends.

Although this methodology may prove to be effective in terms of code production, it can become problematic if the workload exceeds manageable limits. Working prolonged hours within an office setting can negatively impact both our mental and physical wellbeing, as well as our overall satisfaction. It is crucial that we prioritize the emotional and physical health of our team members, and ensure that they maintain a balanced lifestyle between their work and personal life.

Scenarios where this knowledge may be applicable

Having a candid conversation with your super-coder to discuss any observable tendencies of overworking could be beneficial. It may indicate that they are trying to evade dealing with potentially personal issues. It is in the best interest of both parties to ensure that the employee remains healthy and productive, so it is important to remind them of the consequences of pushing themselves too hard.

Assessing the workload assigned to a team is crucial. Having a highly skilled team comes with its own set of challenges, as the demand for their expertise may spread to other departments. It is important to determine whether the team is being overburdened with tasks that may require an excessive amount of time to complete. As their manager, what steps can you take to prevent them from being overworked?

It may prove beneficial to investigate the underlying reasons behind your development staff’s prolonged work hours. They may be compensating for absentee colleagues, tending to inquiries, or undertaking additional tasks to meet project deadlines. If this is the case, it may be advantageous to establish a help desk where all support inquiries can be directed, potentially alleviating the workload on the development team.

Under the given circumstances, it seems that mandating a leave of absence for the employee may be the most rational course of action. It is important to have them select the dates for their absence and ensure that all necessary work has been delegated prior to their departure. Communicate to the rest of the staff that they should refrain from contacting the employee during their absence.

The Ideal Remote Employee

With remote work gaining immense popularity, it is becoming customary for businesses to offer remote employment opportunities. Consequently, a surging number of individuals are opting to work from home. However, remote work may not be suitable for everyone, as it requires a specific set of skills and abilities to be successful and productive in this setup.

If you are seeking to employ a remote developer with the requisite technical expertise and experience, it is vital to get in touch with us as soon as possible to guarantee that you secure the best candidate for the job. During our hiring process, we evaluate all potential employees for both technical skills and remote work experience. Therefore, if you are in need of an exceptional remote developer, we would be delighted to offer our assistance.

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