Where awesome workplaces grow.

Performance Management Without Borders: Coworking and Remote Employees

Latte-Cup.jpgThe loud whir from the milk frother and frequent calls of “Grande triple-shot mocha with soy, no whip!” can interrupt even the most focused train of thought. It’s an unfortunate truth that working from a local coffee shop has never been a great long-term option for most professionals. While the laid-back environment and social atmosphere is attractive, there are many drawbacks. Loud background noise makes it hard to hear on conference calls (or any calls, really), and the unpredictable space means you may not have enough room to spread out your paperwork or the wifi may not be up to par some days.


At the same time, working from home seems convenient and relaxed at first, although many people find they don’t have the personality for it day in and day out. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of (or chat with about the latest episode of Game of Thrones), and the potential distractions make it too easy to get up from your desk to grab another snack or toss a load of laundry in the wash.


Yet 20 to 30 million Americans work from home at least one day each week, and 3.7 million employees (2.8 percent of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time according to Global Workplace Analytics.


The Rise of Coworking

Over the last 10 years, a solution has arisen for this growing population of remote workers: coworking spaces. Used by remote employees, entrepreneurs, freelancers and other independent professionals, coworking spaces offer a professional environment outside of the home for people to work, socialize with other professionals, network, and conduct their business life.


There are approximately 11,000 coworking spaces worldwide today, and that number is expected to more than double to 26,000 by 2020. Large corporations such as Verizon, Microsoft, and many others have begun entering into rental agreements with coworking spaces to offer their remote workers an alternative to working from home.


As coworking continues to expand and the gig economy further drives remote work, how can HR teams address the resulting challenges to performance management?


Performance Management for an Increasingly Remote Workforce: It’s Not as Different as You May Expect

While many HR and management teams already work with remote employees, the percent of remote workers is expected to continue to rise over the coming years. Companies may or may not already have in place performance managemet tools and processes tailored for the unique needs of remote workers – but either way, these tools will be a necessity in the rapidly approaching future.


However, before your mind begins to swim with completely overhauling your existing performance management approach, take comfort in the following two statements:

  1. Managing remote workers is not drastically different from managing on-site workers. It’s not an entirely different skillset, it simply requires a more proactive approach.
  2. We are about to provide you a short list of strategies for tailoring your performance management processes to remote workers – whether they are in coworking offices, at home, on the road, or guzzling down lattes at a corner coffee shop.

4 Proactive Performance Management Strategies for Remote Workers

Research published in the Harvard Business Reviewshows that people thrive in coworking spaces. So how can businesses harness the power of this positive impact, while also fostering a close connection with their employees? How can performance management help remote workers progress in their careers, stay focused on goals, and feel part of a larger team and organization?


Set Clear Expectations Up Front

Remote employees need to clearly understand exactly what is expected of them. This may include:

  • Identifying a regular workspace and set hours
  • Defining individual and/or team performance goals
  • Setting a schedule for performance conversations
  • Identifying a timeline and format for regular reporting
  • Defining minimum expectations versus what exceeding expectations would look like
Foster Regular Communication – Both Scheduled and Impromptu

If you can’t peek around a corner or stroll down the hallway to catch up with an employee, then communication becomes the glue that holds everything together. And email alone won’t cut it – you need exposure to tone of voice and body language to fully assess and understand what your remote workers are communicating.


While scheduled communication like in-person visits, regular calls and videoconferencing will set great baseline for establishing routine information sharing, impromptu conversations are also critical to building rapport and trust. Create opportunities for asking questions, getting clarity, and discussing changes in direction.


In addition, in-person visits are important for building relationships. Depending on the remote worker’s distance from the office, face-to-face visits may only occur once or twice per year. Regardless of the frequency, these visits are a critical way to show remote workers that they are valued and not forgotten as part of the team.


Focus on Results

To encourage strategic productivity and engagement, performance management for remote employees should be focused on accomplishingpre-determined and agreed-upon goalsin place of observational assessments. When employees are involved in the setting their own goals, they are also more likely to be engaged to achieve results.

Use 360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback helps individuals understand how their work is viewed by their colleagues and others who work directly with them. Given on a regular basis, 360-degree feedback delivers more nuanced information in a more immediate and direct way than an annual review. It also offers managers a more comprehensive view of their employees’ performance.



Get the tools to help make performance management easier and more effective for all of your employees, no matter where they’re working. Click below to learn more about Quantum Workplace’s performance management platform.


Unite Your Team With Performance Motivation!





Post A Comment