Jul 27

How to Handle Five Types of Difficult Remote Employees

It’s always inspiring to work with driven and dependable employees. While the vast majority of remote workers are such, you’re bound to run into difficult people at some point, and that’s normal.

We’re talking about lazy, insecure, and/or obstinate individuals. When faced with these sorts of employees, you can either try to find a resolution or simply fire the troublesome employees. 

Most of the time, early termination is not the solution – especially if  a difficult employee has a lot of potential to become a solid performer for your company. 

Let’s take a look at five of the most common kinds of difficult employees, as well as suggestions for dealing with them: 

The Victim 

The Victim

This worker is always grappling with a problem that’s beyond their control, or so they say. It can be a slow internet connection, “uncooperative” colleagues, or insufficient instructions. 

Simply put, they have a lot of reasons why it’s impossible for them to get things done. 

Deal with the Victim by setting crystal-clear expectations. Be firm about the output you need from this person – and when you need it. (Provided that you are giving them enough support to get the job done in the first place, of course.) 

The Lazy One 

The Lazy One

There will always be employees who don’t work well with others because they tend to slack off. When pressed to deliver, the Lazy One cops out by turning in mediocre output. Thus, their team members would rather work with someone else.

Obviously, you shouldn’t let this slide. But instead of firing them immediately, try to find out if they’re really lazy – or are simply a poor fit for the job. 

If they happen to be in an especially challenging position, you can also set up incentives or other compensation for when they accomplish significant goals. 

The Drama Queen/King

The Drama QueenKing

This person is like an emotional vampire for the entire team. They know how to turn everything into a problem. And instead of finding solutions, they whine and complain to everyone around them. 

If you encounter this type of employee in a virtual meeting, boot them out of the call as a last resort. 

But don’t forget to follow up with them afterwards and get to the root of the problem. 

The Hothead 

The Hothead

Got a remote worker who always seems to be angry at everyone? You know, the sort that argues with everyone during video conferences (or worse, screams at people). If so, well, you’ve got yourself a hothead. Yikes. 

Address this by making the person understand that their bad behaviour is not and will never be tolerated. Cultivating a culture of respect and healthy communication patterns at work also help.

The Procrastinator 

The Procrastinator

It’s always great to have a person who agrees to work on a project…until they don’t follow through. You’ll know that you have a procrastinator on your team when they always disappear  when deadlines draw near. As a result, their colleagues are left with no choice but to pick up the slack. 

This sort of behaviour is unacceptable, so set clear roles and assignments for each member of the team – and consequences for missed deadlines. You can also use a variety of contact options such as instant messaging, text, or chat rooms for regular check-ins. 

And if this person is a repeat offender despite all yours (and your team’s) efforts, don’t hesitate to kick them to the curb.


These are just a handful of examples of the difficult employees that you might encounter. While they don’t represent the majority, it’s always worth knowing how to deal with them professionally. 

And who knows? With the right guidance, they might just turn out to surprise you. 

But if you’ve just terminated some bad apples and are struggling to find better replacements, you’ve come to the right place! 

Remote Staff has been helping Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs like you find and hire some of the best remote workers from the Philippines since 2007. Aside from helping you find the right people, we also help with onboarding and provide constant support so that you eventually end up with your remote dream team. 

Call us today or schedule a call back and let’s get started.

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