What is the greatest concern of supervisors agreeing to have their employees perform their duties outside the office? Not surprisingly, they worry that while they work hard, their teams are busy with other things (such as household chores) and spend less time on assigned tasks.

Such fear can lead a supervisor to start micromanaging individuals, which can quickly result in, among other things, a deterioration of the atmosphere, negative feelings among employees and, consequently, departures from the team. Here are some tips on what you can do to avoid the appearance of such negative effects after switching to remote work.

Micromanagement – what does it consist of?

Micromanagement is a style in which a supervisor controls and monitors the activities of his employees in detail, focusing on the smallest details and making decisions on their behalf. In practice, such approaches mean excessive interference by team leaders in day-to-day activities and processes which employees should handle on their own.

Naturally, the majority of staff usually find this kind of behavior annoying. Among the key characteristics of such behavior, one can notice:

  • Lack of autonomy – the supervisor makes decisions on behalf of employees, even in matters that are within their competence (does not take into account the knowledge and experience of employees, and does not give them space to carry out activities independently),
  • Lack of trust – evident in the lack of freedom, excessive control (the supervisor checks the progress of the work, all tasks or the time of completion) and the inability to make decisions independently,
  • Over-reporting – micromanagement often means that an employee has to report in detail on every activity performed, which takes up time that could be assigned to subsequent tasks (focuses attention on writing instead of actual work).

Remote working and the best strategies for avoiding micromanagement

When a supervisor controls every stage of work and focuses on the little things instead of looking at the overall result, employees may experience many negative feelings from neglect to low self-esteem or frustration. It may lead to a decrease in motivation or even abandoning the company.

Such a situation will be reflected in the results of activities, efficiency and productivity. Leaders should recognize such symptoms and look for ways to avoid micromanagement also (or perhaps especially) when working remotely. Here are 3 strategies you’ll find helpful in such scenarios.

  1. Set clear goals and expectations
  2. To avoid micromanagement when working remotely, a key element is to set clear goals and expectations from the supervisor. Jointly agreeing on such issues (along with indicating tasks to be performed and deadlines for completion) makes it possible to indicate priorities and plan the implementation of activities. This reduces the need to control whether the employee knows what is expected of him. It is imperative to try to make the goals measurable and achievable, allowing employees to evaluate their progress and focus on the results.

  3. Schedule regular meetings
  4. Excessive real-time monitoring of work (e.g., through daily status inquiries) means a lack of autonomy and trust for employees. The best way to avoid such feelings is to schedule regular meetings to share information, discuss progress and solve problems (not one person, but all team members simultaneously). In the meantime, you can use a particular program to improve team collaboration – such as Firmbee – which will provide constant insight into work progress, reducing the need for direct contact with the employee.

  5. Trust your employees
  6. The basis for avoiding micromanagement is trust toward employees, which means first and foremost recognizing their competence, skills, experience and ability to act independently. The supervisor should demonstrate this attitude by giving employees the freedom to make decisions and carry out their assigned tasks. This type of delegation of responsibility is the best way to motivate employees to work effectively – and give them a chance to be judged on their performance and work results, not on the speed or manner in which they complete tasks.


Micromanagement – summary

Undoubtedly, the opening up of companies in various industries to the possibility of remote work has brought many benefits (especially by providing employees with greater time flexibility), but at the same time, it has “created an opportunity” for excessive control by superiors.

Team leaders should dutifully remember that micromanagement has a detrimental effect on the psychological well-being of employees, translating into a decrease in work motivation and achieved efficiency, and try to avoid this type of behavior. After all, in some cases, they can even lead to quick quits – after all, everyone wants to have some freedom at work, to feel trust from their supervisor and to make their own decisions on issues that fall within their area of responsibility.

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Author: Zofia Lipska

With over 10 years of experience in digital marketing, Sophia not only knows the rules of this industry but above all knows how to break them in order to achieve outstanding and creative results.