HR Q & A – A Remote Employee’s Roommate Is Disruptive to Their Work. Do We Get Involved?

by Paul Devlin

Handling a situation where a remote employee’s performance is suffering due to disruptions from a roommate requires a delicate and empathetic approach. Here are some steps you can take to address the issue effectively:

Private Conversation

Schedule a private, one-on-one conversation with the employee to discuss their performance concerns. It’s important to approach the conversation with empathy and without making assumptions about the cause of the performance issues.

Identify the Issue

Gently inquire if there are any external factors contributing to their performance decline. Allow the employee to share their challenges without directly mentioning the roommate issue unless they bring it up themselves. The goal is to make them feel supported, not accused.

Offer Support and Solutions

If the employee discloses that their roommate is causing disruptions, discuss potential solutions together. Maybe consider temporary adjustments to their workload or deadlines while they work on a more permanent solution to their situation. If they are local, see if they can come into the office until a resolution is found, but it’s ultimately on the employee to make whatever changes are necessary.

Encourage Professionalism

Remind them gently of the importance of maintaining a professional work environment, even when working remotely. Offer guidance on setting boundaries in shared living situations if needed.

Review Remote Work Policies

Use this as an opportunity to review your company’s remote work policies and ensure they include guidelines for creating a productive home working environment. This can help prevent similar issues in the future. It’s crucial to handle the situation with sensitivity, recognizing that remote work can come with unique challenges. By offering support and practical solutions, you can help your employee navigate their situation and improve their performance.


This article does not constitute legal advice. For more information please reference related articles in your APlus HR resource center or ask your friendly APlus CSS about our On-demand HR live advice line where, for a small fee, you can be connected to a certified HR advisor. 


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