Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
Prior to the pandemic, working from home was a privilege affording to a small segment of the US labor force. Now, over 42% of workers have a remote full time job. At the height of the pandemic, 69% of all employees were remote. Now that so many people have experienced working from home, a majority of workers want to keep it around in the post-pandemic era. They see savings and flexibility benefits to skipping their commute. Remote work increases job satisfaction, lowers employee turnover rates, and reduces traffic congestion. On the employer side, businesses save on overhead and replacement costs when they let workers do their jobs from home.
Despite all the benefits the new system brings, it also introduces some growing pains. Employers are struggling with their own trust issues when it comes to remote employees. 69% of managers now feel uncomfortable when communicating with employees. These feelings of discomfort and insecurity are leading to a rise in micromanagement, to the detriment of workers affected. 1 in 5 employees say micromanagement is the most stressful aspect of working from home. As a result, micromanagement is reversing some of the benefits remote work offers. Job changes, productivity drops, and increased employee turnover are all consequences of excessively controlling managers.
How can managers avoid becoming too controlling? The main thing they should focus on is establishing a sense of trust with their team. In communicating with team members, managers should make sure everyone understands their expectations the first time they are shared. Communication should also be a two way street; managers should want their employees to be transparent with them about working needs. Knowing what’s going on in an employee’s life, within reason, goes a long way in improving a manager’s trust in them. Furthermore, many remote jobs’ engagement metrics would be better measured by output rather than hourly labor. If someone can meet all their productivity goals in less time, they shouldn’t be criticized for working fewer hours so long as quality is sound.
Finally, artificial intelligence can take some of the strain off of managers. AI maintains an open line of communication that saves time and money. They are able to prepare timesheets, plan work schedules, and manage leave forms. All three tasks are things managers stress over and have the potential to micromanage. Remote workplaces are a new innovation that require new tools and management practices for success.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked