How Supervisors Can Better Support Remote Workers

In recent years, remote work has surged dramatically. With ongoing technological advancements, organizations are increasingly embracing the idea of hiring employees who can operate without being physically present in the office. Moreover, a growing number of people actively seek out opportunities for fully remote employment. However, this trend raises concerns about the potential blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, which can often lead to burnout or turnover. This article delves into the pivotal role supervisors can assume in alleviating these blurred lines for remote employees.


The researchers (Kangas et al., 2023) interviewed people from diverse backgrounds about the challenges they face while working remotely. The findings revealed that remote work tends to blur boundaries in two distinct directions. First, there is the intrusion of work into personal life. For example, this can occur when an employee is asked to work late. Supervisors can help mitigate this by assisting employees in establishing and safeguarding their work boundaries. Second, there is the influence of personal life on work. This occurs when there is a conflict between family responsibilities and professional duties. For example, an illness in the family could lead an employee to miss their typical working hours. Here, supervisors can promote flexibility and enable employees to maintain healthy boundaries, thus minimizing the impact of non-work factors on job performance.


This study suggests that supervisors play a crucial role in helping remote employees manage the boundaries between work and personal life. As such, the authors recommend a few steps that organizations should follow to better support their remote employees.

  • Encourage remote workers to clearly communicate their boundaries while asking them to be mindful of their colleagues’ needs. This may include agreeing on work communication times, being transparent about work hours, and understanding each other’s availability.
  • Actively communicate with employees to understand their unique situations. For remote workers with families, flexibility in managing daily tasks and adjusting schedules may be crucial.
  • Acknowledge that supervisor work preferences may differ from those of employees and be ready to adjust support accordingly. Focus on respecting personal time and avoid asking employees to work late.


Kangas, H., Pensar, H., & Rousi, R. (2023). I wouldn’t be working this way if I had a family – differences in remote workers’ needs for supervisor’s family-supportiveness depending on the parental status. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 147, 103939.

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