How Can I Manage What I Can’t See? Why a Remote Workforce Can’t Work


Can I trust my employees when they’re not in the office? This is an ongoing question for employers. In an era dominated by discussions about work/life balance, entrepreneurs are pushed toward creating a virtual model for their business.  Regular work-at-home employees has grown 103% in the last 10 years, according to Kate Lister, president of the San Diego-based Global Workplace Analytics. Currently, 2.8% of the workforce now work from home at least half the time.

But can a remote workforce really work? Can you ensure productivity, measure success, increase job satisfaction, and avoid creating other problems for your staff?

3 Reasons A Remote Workforce Can’t Work

1. You can’t manage what you can’t see. The best metric for measuring an employees’ performance and productivity is to see them in action. Managing “face time” allows employers to identify their A-players. Without that interaction, it is extremely difficult for managers to use current protocols for assessing success and measure productivity.

2. Discourages the connection employees are looking for. Research shows that professionals are looking for more than a job. They want a career in an industry and role they are passionate about and includes the opportunity for growth. Most importantly, these professionals want to reshape the traditional manager-employee relationship with a boss who communicates clearly and effectively, encourages autonomy, and accurately assesses performance.  If that want today’s talent wants, how can you possibly deliver when a significant percentage of the staff isn’t present in the office on a regular basis?

3. Isolation negatively impacts the collaborative process. A “team atmosphere” is the norm in many organizations. It is also one of the factors candidates include when considering an offer. A collaborative environment allows for departments to strategize together, resulting in “out of the box” thinking and creative solutions. By allowing key employees to work from home, they are no longer part of the action in a consistent way. Requiring weekly check-ins, strategy meetings via Skype, and weekly emails may allow managers to track progress. Unfortunately, these things do not foster the collaborative process. In fact, employees who only appear in the office on a weekly basis can significantly disrupt a team that has worked alongside one another every day.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question…

What if, in spite of all the above factors to the contrary, a remote workforce can work and is exactly what your business needs to reach the next level? What if incorporating a virtual model could reduce turnover by 50%? What if you could significantly increase productivity while saving thousands of dollars…

Learn how to make your remote workforce work- Download our latest Quarterly Talent Report.


About the Authors

Ken Schmitt is the President and Founder of TurningPoint Executive Search and the Sales & Marketing Leadership Alliance. Specializing in placing sales, marketing and operations professionals across the country, Ken’s 18 years of recruiting experience have equipped him with the knowledge to serve as a thought partner to his clients for all recruiting, hiring and human capital-related initiatives. Ken sits on the board of Junior Achievement, San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI), AA-ISP Orange County (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals), San Diego HR Roundtable and is an Advisory Board Member for the American Marketing Association.

Vicky Willenberg has served as the Social Media Manager for TurningPoint since 2011. In 2014, she was elevated to Digital Marketing Manager, broadening her participation across all things digital for the firm. A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Vicky is an active and published blogger at The Pursuit of Normal and a marketing professional. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in the recruiting, hiring and leadership sectors.

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