Managing Misunderstandings: Remote Employee Illness vs Ghosting

When working with a remote team, there will be periods where you are not necessarily in communication with your other team members. Depending on how you have your organization structured, this might be a few hours or even a few days. What happens, though, when you don’t have a regular check-in scheduled but you also do not hear back from your employee? Are they ghosting you? Are they sick? Are they experiencing a power outage? What should you do?

Take Proactive Steps

The obvious answer is to immediately reach out to your employee / contractor if you have not heard from them. It is important to check in regularly on an individual level to be certain that everyone feels heard and feels comfortable coming to you with issues. This is especially important if you are worried that your team member might be ghosting you. After you reach out and wait the appropriate amount of time for a response, you should then turn to the emergency contact list to see if your employee can be reached other ways; there are times where someone is sick or injured and unable to reach out but their emergency contact can tell you what is going on. At this point, if you still do not hear back then you are probably being ghosted.

Implement Clear Policies

To avoid any sort of misunderstanding in the future, you should implement clear policies on when employees need to check in as well as collecting emergency contact information from them. A solid framework of explicit policies can effectively dispel any uncertainty regarding employee absences, sick leave, and instances of ghosting. It’s important to articulate what exactly constitutes ghosting, delineate the protocol for reporting illness, and enumerate the repercussions of disregarding these norms. This should be part of your employee handbook.

Providing Support to Remote Employees

To maintain trust and transparency, it’s crucial to extend support to your remote employees. This can be executed by equipping them with all necessary tools and resources needed to efficiently carry out their responsibilities. But, support goes beyond just work resources. When remote workers fall sick, they should be provided with the same understanding and assistance as on-site employees. Cultivating a work environment that respects and values employees’ health encourages them to be more forthcoming about their wellbeing. It eliminates the need for them to soldier on when unwell, thereby reducing unnecessary stress. Let’s prioritize a support system that not only boosts performance but also advocates for employee health.

Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

Navigating the complexities of remote work is an ongoing learning journey. Each unexpected absence, whether due to illness or a suspected ghosting incident, serves as a teachable moment to refine your strategies and protocols. Continually nurturing open communication, empathy, and support is vital; think about communication skills when hiring too — choosing a candidate up front that has good skills in place can also help avoid these situations. Adopting this approach promotes a positive remote work atmosphere where honesty thrives and ghosting diminishes. It safeguards your team’s wellbeing and enhances their trust in your commitment to their health and job satisfaction. As you learn and grow from these experiences, you strengthen your leadership skills and foster a remote work culture that values transparency, understanding, and collaboration. Keep marching forward, evolving, and learning to build a resilient remote work environment.


Stay up to date on work from home opportunities!

* indicates required


Please wait a few seconds after clicking subscribe to complete the captcha.

<!–End mc_embed_signup–>

Remote Teams, remote work