The Most Difficult Types of Remote Employees and How to Deal with Them

difficult types of remote workers

This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog by Maxmillion.


Remote working offers a wealth of benefits to businesses and workers. It’s often cheaper for employers and it offers a more flexible work-life balance for employees. However, there are also some challenges associated with remote working that you should be aware of

You’ll encounter a whole host of personality types when you hire a team of remote workers, but some can make the job more challenging. Despite this, there are several ways that you can deal with difficult employees, regardless of whether they work at home or in the office. 

ghost in autumn

The Ghost

The ghost is the employee that you can never get in touch with when you need them, or at any other time for that matter. With remote working, it’s impossible to account for an employees’ presence at all times; however, all workers should be available during normal working hours to assist with any potential issues. 

Solution: 

As a manager, it’s important to relay this information to your remote workers. If your organization’s office hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, make sure that your employees know this is when they should be working. 

Communicating this early on can help you to avoid being ghosted further down the line. 

The “Innocent” One

The “innocent” employee is the one that is never to blame when something goes wrong. Sometimes referred to as the victim, they will produce a barrage of excuses when asked why a task isn’t completed on time or why it is sub-standard. 

Solution:

A lot of things can go wrong when working out of the office, but if your employee is regularly underperforming because of factors “out of their control,” it can help to incite a discussion about accountability. 

Communicating deadlines and expectations with remote workers can help you manage those who like to relinquish responsibility. 

annoyed cell phone emoji

The Stick in the Mud

This person is openly resistant to change which can make things difficult for other employees and clients. 

If you’re an organization that has recently transitioned to remote working, this person’s complaints can overshadow the opinions of the rest of the organization. The stick in the mud will also try to resist new processes and go against the grain despite clear instructions. 

Solution: 

Polarizing opinions are important for the success of any business, therefore, it’s important to make sure everyone’s opinions are considered. However, if this means that you regularly have to clean up this employee’s mess, you’ll need to step in. 

Avoid putting this person on important client calls and meetings, and have a separate discussion with them to see why they feel the way they do. This can help your employee feel like they’re being heard without causing any significant damage. 

remote worker in coworking space

The Pest

This pest is the opposite of the ghost. They find it difficult to work independently and require constant reassurance over the phone or via email.

It’s usually easier to support these members of staff when working alongside them in an office, however, remote working can make this more difficult. If you and your team members regularly have to interrupt meetings to answer trivial questions, this can have an adverse impact on your organization. 

Solution: 

If your employees are struggling with working independently, it might not be the right time for them to work from home. The best remote workers are usually self-starters, and you can rely on them even when they’re left to their own devices. 

In the initial stages, it might take time for your employees to adjust to working remotely. Alternatively, you can avoid this by hiring employees who have had prior experience working from home or by encouraging employees to work from a coworking space where they can be productive and meet other remote workers.


This guest post was written by Maximillion. Maximillion provides event management, team building and team development sessions throughout the UK.

Leave a Comment