I don’t trust that my team are actually working from home

2020 hindsight! It’s the year that has torn up everything we know about the world of work and got us to start thinking again. One of the key aspects to emerge is that remote working CAN work! Yes indeed, who knew? Well actually, there was quite a lot of research on the many benefits of remote working and flexible working – but Managers were unfortunately, pretty resistant. There’s a well worn list of the reasons why; but this one usually tops the list (even if it’s not often overtly stated).

I don’t trust that my team are actually working from home

Most of the other issues can be resolved through good processes:

  • Health and safety
  • Collaboration / teamwork
  • Home office
  • Privacy/security issues
  • IT issues

But trust is a tricky one to overcome through process/procedures.

Covey’s The Speed of Trust suggests that trust has two components – character and competence. 


Character is made up of two elements – integrity and intent.

According to Covey, integrity is more than just honesty. It’s walking the talk, being congruent inside and out and having the courage of your convictions.

Intent is our motives, agendas and resulting behaviour. Just grows when the motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit; when we care not only for ourselves but the people we interact with, lead or serve.”


Competence is made up capabilities and results.

Capability is pretty straightforward. It’s our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style. In other words – do we know what and how to do we are meant to do?

Results is about getting stuff done – having a track record that achieves. Delivering what we say we will do.

What’s causing the distrust?

When Managers say that they don’t trust someone to be working from home – dig deeper..

Digging deeper is key. Is it the employee that the Manager doesn’t trust? Or the principle of working from home? 

  • Is it a credibility or competence issue?
  • If it’s a credibility issue – can they be clear on what’s causing them to believe that?
  • Competence isn’t going to change whether someone is at work or at home, so if there’s a competence issue whilst working from home, perhaps that is a broader issue that needs resolving.
  • Does the person know with absolute clarity what they need to be doing at home? Actually, full stop – not just at home.
  • What is the single most important thing that they need to focus on during this period in order to succeed?
  • Is the Manager concerned about the employee’s personal circumstances and the employee’s ability to manage those? Are there kids at home, and the Manager thinks the employee is playing with the kids rather that working?
  • If it’s an issue of motivation or lack of engagement – has the Manager dug deeper to understand what is going on? Is it really a lack of motivation or is it stress around broader issues that’s affecting the employee’s ability to effectively work?
  • Sometimes, it’s a projection of how the Manager works. There are some people for whom working from home really doesn’t work. They find the lure of the TV or home maintenance or any other of the million available procrastinations to be overwhelming. If the Manager believes the this to be true of themselves, they often project this onto their employees as well.

It’s true that there are some situations and some people where working from home or remote working really doesn’t work – but for the vast majority it really really does. There are so many benefits for both the organisation and the employee – so getting to grips with the resistance can only mean good things for all.

Want some more reading?

Want more?

If the above has whetted your appetite, and you’re keen for more.. Here are some ideas:

Does leadership interest you? You can sign up to my FREE seven day “Be a Better Boss Challenge” by clicking here. And you can click here to buy my book.

Want to chat? Click here to get in touch.

Want some help in meeting your goals? Sign up to the permission to dream programme, by clicking here.

Want more to read? You can read any of the 300+ blog posts on this site, by clicking here.

See you soon,

Have you got questions, or would like to take the next step? Simply get in touch for a friendly, obligation-free chat, and/or :

Sign up to my free mini course :
– Be A Better Boss In 7 Days

Check out my year-long accountability program:
– Permission To Achieve Your Dreams

Find out more about Your Leadership Story Retreat

Read my books:
– Enterprise Agreements – Made Easy
– Do What You Say You’ll Do

Want more?

If you’d like to receive my musings on all things leadership and culture related and beyond, pop your email address in below. To say thank you for sharing, you’ll immediately receive a free chapter from my book, and a free infographic on the ten tools of leadership.

1 Step 1
FormCraft – WordPress form builder