“Why does it matter where I work as long as I get my job done?” This is the sad lament I hear from employees whose request to work remotely is denied by their boss. Telework options are rapidly becoming the norm with organizational leaders realizing that the benefits in allowing employees flexibility in their work schedules far outweigh the challenges in monitoring work. Telework polices and procedures abound making implementing remote work schedules much easier than it has been up until now.
So why deny someone a telework option? When I look closely at examples that come to my attention, what I see is not a problem implementing flexible work arrangements but more a problem of someone using sound leadership practices. Put simply, I see a high control micromanager who lacks trust in their staff. I actually had one business owner say to me, “If I can’t see them, how do I know they are working?”
I’ve written about the perils of micromanagement before and probably will again because this trait has such a pernicious presence in our workplaces. Micromanagers exist in such great numbers because they simply do not see their actions the same way their staff does.
So here is a simple first question in the test to see if you are a micromanager. Do you support flexible work arrangements that include at least partial telework for your staff whose productivity can be remotely monitored? If the answer is yes, good, you are demonstrating trust in your team. If you answered no, take a good look at why not. If the staff person is an underperformer who you feel needs face-to-face supervision, what is your plan to develop performance levels or remove them from the team? If you are denying everyone because you have one or two problem employees, don’t manage by exception, as I described in this newsletter article. Establish telework as a benefit to be earned by demonstrated achievement of goals and objectives. Turn your “stick” of saying no into the “carrot” your team will strive to earn.