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.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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