What Is Meant by Direct and Indirect Supervision?

Thomas Gordon/E+/Getty Images

Direct supervision means that an authority figure is within close proximity to his or her subjects. Indirect supervision means that an authority figure is present but possibly not seen or heard.

In a jail setting, direct supervision requires that correctional officers are in the living unit where they have direct personal contact with inmates. Indirect supervision in jail requires that correctional officers supervise inmates from enclosed posts. Occupational therapy and dentistry require direct supervision, meaning daily, on-site contact with clients and patients and the ability to attend to their needs. Direct and indirect supervision are used in multiple workplaces and homes in order to meet the needs of customers and families.