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Remote Work

Has Remote Work Turned You Into a Micromanager?


Managing a remote team is no easy feat. You have to actively organize and lead team members spread across different locations, time zones, backgrounds, and cultures.

With no way to physically go over the team members’ desks to check up on them, it’s easy to feel like you constantly need to be in the loop with what they are up to. But this constant need for status updates paired with overcommunication can often lead to micromanagement and turn you into a remote micromanager.

Remote employees need some space and freedom to manage their work efficiently, but overcommunication and constant check-in can end up hindering their productivity.

As a remote team manager, it is your responsibility to create a healthy working relationship and maintain healthy morale for all the team members. After all, micromanaging will only result in a toxic work environment with frustrated and angry employees which will make talent retention all the more difficult for your organization.micromanaging-remote-teams

Four ways to know if you’re micromanaging your team

1. You approve every task personally

Before any task is marked as completed by the team, you make sure that as the manager you have seen it, reviewed it completely, and made any necessary edits. You can’t even stand the thought of letting the team members complete a task without your stamp of approval. The team does not have complete ownership and control over their work, which has eventually caused a rift.

2. You want to be included in every email and conversation

As a remote team manager, you feel anxious at even the thought of being left out of work-related conversations. As a result, no conversations happen within the team without your knowledge. You have a constant need to know what is happening in the team, at all times. As a result, you insist on being CC’d on every email that goes out within the team or being a part of all the communication channels.

3. You are always aware of your remote employees’ schedule

At every point in time, you are aware of what your employees are up to and what tasks they are currently handling. You also know their break timings and when they come back to resume work. If your employees take too long a break or don’t submit their work on time, you end up messaging them or calling them directly to get an update. As a result, you find yourself often feeling frustrated when your team members don’t respond to your messages right away.

4. You expect your team to follow a strict schedule

You always expect your team to create and follow a very strict work schedule with little room for flexibility. Even though team members work from different locations and time zones, you expect them to work the same number of 9-5 hours so that it’s easier for you to monitor them. You also insist on them taking approximately the same breaks, even though it may be impractical for many of your team members working from home (WFH Meaning) to take lunch/coffee breaks at a fixed time every day.

Monitoring vs empowering teams in achieving their goals

While it’s natural to want to constantly monitor employees when you can’t see them working at their desks, the only way to gain the benefits of remote work is by giving your employees more flexibility and freedom to manage their tasks and everyday schedules.

Constant monitoring can make employees feel like you don’t trust them enough which can eventually disengage them and cause low employee retention. The idea is to empower remote employees to help them achieve their work goals instead of constantly monitoring them. According to research[1], when employees feel empowered at work, it directly leads to high job satisfaction and performance.

For empowering employees, business leaders need to show that they trust their employees by creating a safe work environment where anyone in the organization can ask questions, raise their concerns, and give feedback without risking any retaliation.

Organizations that constantly monitor their employees put trust in themselves, instead of their employees. They make all the decisions and guide employees on what to do and what not to do.

On the other hand, organizations that empower their employees put trust in their employees. They give employees all the data and tools to manage their work and trust them enough to make their own decisions. While most organizations fall somewhere in the middle of both of these two spectrums, the ones that are tilted more towards employee empowerment see significant improvements in remote employee performance, retention, and engagement.

Empowered employees are also more likely to be confident, powerful, and skilled in achieving their goals while actively demonstrating initiative and creativity. Moreover, empowered employees’ efforts into achieving shared team and organizational goals without feeling like they are being exploited. Here are more tips for managing remote teams to get the best out of them.

The right remote team management software can empower your employees

A tactical approach for organizations to empower remote employees and build trust is by introducing a remote team management software like a digital workplace platform to establish virtual workspaces that can encourage much-needed transparency in the team.

A digital workplace gives employees all the tools that they need to manage their work and makes it easier for them to collaborate and communicate with remote team members. It improves employees’ experiences and journeys, empowers them, and helps them succeed.

A digital workplace can streamline projects, processes, tasks, and cases to help remote teams work better together, even with location limitations. Since all the work, data and applications are accessible through the same centralized dashboard, it becomes easier for remote managers to track team members without turning into a micromanager.

Kissflow is a no-code digital workplace platform that allows remote teams to streamline and digitize their internal business processes. It offers project management, process management, case management, collaboration, communication, and more within the organization to help optimize, manage, and track all the work.