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Do Remote Workers Feel More Left Out?

The Harvard Business Review’s Nov. 2017 study of over 1,000 employees revealed trends of remote workers reporting more feelings of being left out than in-office workers.

Many companies have turned to remote work as a solution for potential efficiency and productivity benefits. Yet, hazardous costs may loom over these organizations, many of which stem from an inadequate leadership system.

One of these costs, according to the study, may be the emotional consequence of isolating employees outside of the office. The professional shift that has seen more and more workers moving outside office walls is a more recent trend, and for companies with regular operations in an office setting, employees may feel negative effects from the transition.

In particular, two main kinds of negative emotional effects may result. First, remote workers may simply feel shunned or left out of daily operations. Similarly, their status may give them a sense of anxiety over the unknown, as many employees in the study mentioned worrying about coworkers saying bad things behind their back or making changes to projects without informing them.

These concerns can be amplified by the passive response that is common among remote workers. In fact, nearly half (47 percent) of remote employees would allow common issues to drag out for several weeks before addressing the problem.

As seen in our previous Tip-of-the-Month feature on remote worker productivity, companies daring to transition to remote work can see drastic productivity benefits, but those rewards are not without risk.

Avoiding the potential pitfalls may be a demanding challenge, but one key variable is leadership, and a manager who checks in with remote workers frequently may help ease the loneliness epidemic in the remote workplace.


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