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ATD Blog

Trusting Remote Workers: Communication Is Key

Friday, February 4, 2022

While the global pandemic changed the nature of where and how we work, many of the underlying issues are not new. Lack of trust and micromanagement have been stressors between management and employees since the beginning of the modern workplace. How will trust and management style play out in an increasingly distributed work world? It all boils down to staying connected through improved communication.

Managers Struggle to Trust Their Employees

While micromanagement is not a new phenomenon, our new way of working presents some interesting trends and challenges. About 40 percent of the 215 supervisors and managers in a recent study by Harvard Business Review expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely. Employers are also spending more on monitoring software. A recent study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) regarding surveillance in the workplace found that global demand for employee monitoring software last year increased by 108 percent.

Employees Don’t Want to Be Micromanaged

That employees don’t want to be micromanaged shouldn’t come as a surprise, and it is a strong indicator of what is leading to the great resignation. One out of five employees believes that micromanagement is the most stressful aspect of working from home. However, employees have also reported significant benefits to their performance when working remotely. Recent studies have shown that employees are reporting increased job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and a total workforce reduction on the roads.


A new phenomenon in the workforce—-commonly referred to as “boomerang employees”—is the situation where an employee leaves and then comes back. There may be trust issues on the management side with an employee who has already left once, but we are all trying to navigate these uncertain times one day at a time.


Bringing It All Together

While the global pandemic accelerated the trend to work from home, many of the trust issues between employees and management come down to the art of communication. If we maintain an open line of communication, trust, and better performance—hallmarks of a healthy organization—will flow.

Learn more about the dynamics between trust and working from home in the visual deep dive below:

Now That Everyone is Working From Home, Who Can We Trust? -

About the Author

Brian Wallace is the founder and president of NowSourcing, an industry leading content marketing agency that makes the world's ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present.

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