I read a recent article from Talent Management magazine. In one survey, nearly 75% of remote employees said they were not sure what their team was trying to accomplish.
Managers can make a positive difference simply by being clear on expectations, repeating them constantly, and holding people accountable. To do this, they have to also explain "why".
When I teach people to set expectations, I refer to the 4 W's - Who will do What by When and Why. That last one - Why - is the key to autonomy and the ability to be flexible. Once you know why, you can make adjustments, add value, and meet the expectation. If you don't know the why, you are simply being a robot and getting a task done.
Managers should be clearly defining the purpose of projects and goals - and repeating it multiple times a day.
If the employees don't know it, it is totally on the manager. And if that manager still have a job, it is on the executives.