Do you trust your employees to do their best when working remotely? It is all too common that employers don’t, and struggle to adjust to managing remote or hybrid work environments.
This distrust is baseless, as the data actually shows otherwise. Research shows that greater flexibility from remote and hybrid work environments results in a giant boost in productivity.
While we recently wrote about 3 key items for successful remote work, the most important item isn’t on that list.
Some businesses simply don’t trust their employees to perform. They subscribe to the old adage, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” In order to keep an ever presence of management, they utilize monitoring software to track performance.
The problem is nobody likes being watched.
Monitoring your employees typically has the opposite effect than what is desired. Managing by monitoring carries a feeling of “Big Brother” watching your every move and causes productivity to drop.
Constant surveillance can create a culture of distrust, causing employees to feel like they are constantly being watched and judged. This can lead to increased stress and a decrease in job satisfaction. It can also stifle creativity and innovation, as employees may be hesitant to take risks or offer new ideas if they feel like they are being constantly monitored. These are all essentially the inverse of reasons why people like remote working.
In addition, constantly checking in on employee progress can be time-consuming and distract from actual work. Instead of focusing on their tasks, employees may feel pressure to constantly update their status or prove that they are being productive. It has been documented that “digital presenteeism” prevails when monitoring becomes the metric, Digital presenteeism is the act of presenting yourself as looking like you are working rather than actually working. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
But you should monitor your employees
I think there is good logic to monitoring your employees. You should be monitoring all aspects of your business. The key is that monitoring is not about measuring work. It’s about measuring results.
Your KPIs shouldn’t be anything to do with how many emails somebody sends or how much time is their keyboard and mouse in use. It should be if tasks get completed on time and in a satisfactory manner. Is that not what drives your business forward?
We covered this as part of our article on Why You Can’t Manager Your Remote Workers The Old Way. If you choose to monitor employees, be sure to communicate clearly that you are doing so and why. That it’s about measuring the business, not their performance. Hot tip: poor performers will reveal themselves whether they are working remotely or in office.
Let’s not focus on the negative of managing without trust though. Let’s focus on doing it right. Some companies may have reservations about the effectiveness of remote work (or their lack of control over the work), but the proof is in the pudding. Companies that trust their remote workers see higher productivity more often than not.
Why is there such success?
Remote work allows for greater work-life balance. Employees who have the option to work remotely often report higher levels of job satisfaction and are more likely to be engaged in their work. With fewer distractions and a comfortable work environment, remote workers can often get more done in a shorter amount of time.
In addition, trust fosters a sense of ownership and autonomy among employees. When companies trust their employees to work remotely, it sends a message that they have faith in their ability to get the job done. This can motivate employees to be more productive and take initiative in their work.
So what do you do?
Ultimately, it’s important for companies to find a balance between trust and monitoring. While it’s important to have systems in place to ensure that work is being completed to the necessary standards, it’s also important to give employees the autonomy and trust they need to be productive. Trusting remote workers and giving them the space to do their jobs effectively can lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction, while too much monitoring can have the opposite effect.
If you are having any difficulty navigating the remote/hybrid workspace, reach out and we can help.