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4 Questions That Help Determine Why An Employee Is Struggling While Working Remotely Through COVID-19

Working from home has become the standard work-around to the current pandemic. While some are adapting seamlessly, others are still having trouble with their new work environment.

How do you assist the employees that are struggling? What if they were among your top performers before you had to implement remote work?

Job performance issues are more complex to address because of the unfamiliar variables introduced by COVID-19. While lack of skills, initiative, commitment, and the right attitude are obvious contributing factors to under-performance, they often do not account for all of it. This means that in order to effectively address a performance problem, you need to focus on the situation instead of the under-performing employee.

Here are 4 questions you can use as guides:

Here are 4 questions you can use as guides:

1. What’s different?

Pinpoint any new variables that may be disrupting their work. This new set-up may come with obstacles such as technical issues, self-management challenges, and workspace concerns.

Isolating these disruptive factors entails persistent conversations where your sensitivity and perceptiveness play a huge part.

2. What’s worse?

Remote work can magnify the problem aspects of your business operations. For example, redundant, or clunky processes may be magnified when working from home— putting more stress on your employees.
For managers and HR leaders, it is a matter of engaging with employees for feedback so you can identify which organizational weak areas are problematic for them.

3. What’s fact, and what’s emotion?

In a crisis, emotions can run high. Isolation can amplify anxieties, fear, and anger, resulting in irrationality, defensiveness, and finger-pointing.

Productive management involves the ability to distinguish between emotion and fact. Managers and HR leaders need to be self-aware and recognize when they’re being influenced by their own emotions regarding an under-performing employee. Honest acknowledgment of this, allows them to effectively and clearly discuss with the employee only what is factually true.

4. What’s mine, and what’s theirs?

As a leader, you can start by acknowledging a possible role you may have played in an employee’s performance problem:

  • Have you set clear expectations of your team while considering their new working arrangements?
  • Have you provided the necessary resources, coaching, and feedback?
  • Are you accessible during your employees’ shift?

When leaders acknowledge their shortcomings and hold themselves accountable, it opens the door for others to do the same. Once the issues have been clearly identified, the problem solving can begin.

Need HR management advice? We’re here for you.

We can also help your team with HR and payroll with our human-supported integrated and automated payroll system, so you can focus on helping your employees who need you to perform the way they should.

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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.