Remote workers feel disrespected by onsite colleagues, new study shows
- More than a third (35%) of remote workers in a new survey said their colleagues team up against them, and another 52% found their colleagues treat them unfairly. David Maxfield and Joseph Grenny, who ran the survey for VitalSmarts, said remote workers are especially challenged by communicating and working at various locations through technology.
- The survey's remote workers (67%) claim that their colleagues don't support their priorities, compared with 59% of non-remote workers; 41% said their colleagues talk about them behind their back, compared with 31% of onsite workers; and 64% said their colleagues make changes to projects without notifying them, compared with 58% of non-remote workers.
- Grenny and Maxfield concluded that effective communication from managers is key to managing remote workers. They identified the top managing skills, which include checking in on or meeting frequently with remote workers; meeting face-to-face or by teleconferencing at least once a month for team-building; and using communications skills, such as good listening and asking about the workload.
Remote work is here to stay. A Softchoice study released in September found that 75% of workers would leave their current job for one with a remote work option. Therefore, employers should find effective ways of managing remote workers and addressing their concerns.
Communicating with remote workers through technology, such as video or instant messaging, is important, but communication must have a human connection, according to a recent TRaD (telecommuting, remote and distributed work) forum. Employers also must understand that remote workers aren't just those at home with a laptop and a smartphone, but also truck drivers, "road warriors" who conduct their organization's business from location to location, salespeople, construction site workers and others. Finding the most appropriate way to communicate with each type of remote worker is critical.
Studies show that remote workers often put in longer hours than their onsite colleagues due to a lack of separation between work and life. They frequently struggle with stress and related health problems. Employers might need to adjust their workloads, set limits on how much time they're connected electronically to the office, insist that they take their allotted vacation time and promote taking frequent breaks.