Start Holding Remote Workers Accountable


Times are changing and studies show remote workers that are held accountable get more done. They take fewer breaks, have less distractions, can concentrate longer, and take off less often than employees expected to be in the office every day. The ultimate question and challenge as a leader is how do you hold remote workers accountable?

Last month we blogged about our tool called an Upfront Agreement and how having one can help with harassment prevention. That same tool is equally as powerful when used to hold remote workers accountable. It’s about clearly defined mutual expectations. Meaning, what do I as your leader expect of you (the employee) and what do you (the employee) need from me (the leader) to be successful?

The questions in an Upfront Agreement are designed to create a pact between you and your employee. They also give the employee a sense of ownership. When an employee has ownership of their work, they will feel empowered and produce better results, which falls straight to your bottom line.

Sample Upfront Agreement questions to hold a remote worker accountable include:


1. What is the best mode of communication?

  • This is a big one especially for communicating with a remote worker. Some people may be much more responsive with texts or calls while the other prefers emails.
  • Emails can get buried amongst hundreds of others. You may want to send an email then follow up with a text. It may sound like extra work but it saves you in the long-term from the “did you get my email?” confusion.

2. What are the consequences if a deadline is not met? What do we do if you are falling short on your commitments?

  • A great way to empower the employee is to ask them what they think the consequence should be. Their answer is guaranteed to be harsher than you probably would have suggested and they make sure that they never have to face it.

3. What do you need from me (the leader) to be successful?

  • This question is already in the Upfront Agreement samples we have provided. In the context of a remote worker, this could be something very simple like a new mouse because the one they had is broken and the trackpad on the computer slows them down. You never know if you don’t ask.
  • The answer could be more complex such as the desire to participate and be more involved with their team. In this case, you would work together to devise strategies to help them. A solution could be having a team meeting in person once a month or using video chat instead of phone calls.

4. How often should we meet? How often should we check-in? When should we schedule RAMM sessions?

  • Checking-in, business meetings, and RAMM sessions are three very different things.
  • Business meetings are strategic and directly related to the business, not the employee.
  • Check-ins can be casual and as frequent as you want. It’s you as the leader asking questions like, “What can I do to help you today?” or “Is there anything you need from me right now?”
  • Regularly-Scheduled Accountability & Motivational Meetings (RAMM) are part of the Accountability with CareTM System. They focus solely on the employee and how they’re doing with their goals and career development.

These examples will get you started. Every business is different so we encourage you to mold these to what suits your needs. We touched briefly on RAMM sessions and employee goal setting/career development, which are big components of the Accountability with CareTM System. We will cover these in future blog posts… so stay tuned!

If you want more sample questions and a template to start your Upfront Agreement, click here.