I’ve been working as an Enumerator for the Census, and I’m sure future dots will have tales of my time in the field. But today, I am struck that while I’ve been working for the organization for five weeks, I have had two hours of in-person training on Day 1 and only one brief call with a human since I began. It gives new meaning to remote work – my entire availability, caseload, results, and pay is conducted through the government-issued iPhone. I speak to no one.

I don’t desire any hand-holding or micromanaging, but one phone call after the first day in the field would have been nice. Even a check-in email that asked if I had any questions would have been welcome. But radio silence. Just work when you want, if you want, for as long as you want – whatever you put into the program on the phone seems to be fine.

If you have remote employees – whether they be permanently remote or just COVID-related — it’s easy to assume that “no news is good news” and that they are being productive on their own. This definitely could be the case. But some small personal contact could pay big dividends in employee morale and loyalty. If you have invested the resources to train someone, you should dedicate equal effort to retaining them.

Don’t be a stranger to your staff and colleagues – no matter where they are located. Pick up the phone.

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