There are some jobs where employers can directly but discretely monitor how much work their staff are doing, like builders and mechanics.
Well, if the house doesn’t get built or the car doesn’t get fixed, and employees are frequently found scrolling on their phones or having a chat, it’s obvious their work output isn’t up to much.
How about digital employees, though?
Like any other job it’s important that the work gets done, but it can be hard to see exactly what’s being done when your employees are based at a desk.
This quandary has given rise to a new style of management frequently observed in office environments: micromanagement.
This is when employers have a level of distrust in their employees to get the job done, so they closely monitor everything their employees do on a micro level.
From frequent trips around the office and not-so-sneakily having a look at computer screens, to logging in to employee email inboxes or demanding daily progress meetings and reports from everyone, it all counts as micromanagement.
Those who do it believe it’s boosting workforce productivity, but in actual fact, it has the opposite effect.
If micromanagement is your way of checking on how much work your employees are doing, you need to stop it because it could be damaging your business rather than helping it, and here’s why.
As mentioned, a lot of micromanagers do so because they don’t fully trust their staff to do the jobs they’re paid to do.
This is more common in smaller businesses, but it can happen at larger companies, too.
Employees who don’t feel as though their manager trusts them are more likely to doubt their capabilities or feel like they’re being coddled, and that’s never a good thing.
If you’re hired someone, odds are you’ve done so because they know what they’re doing and they’re capable of doing the task at hand.
Make sure you trust employees do what they were brought in to do, otherwise they’ll go elsewhere.
Not only this, if employees aren’t trusted and certain jobs are held back for management to do, the management team will likely have a lot of work which will make them unavailable to staff when they’re really needed, and this could cause more serious issues later down the line.
There are two types of people: those who manage, and those who like to be managed.
When you micromanage someone because you don’t trust them entirely, you end up making decisions for them which means they don’t have to think of solutions or initiatives themselves.
If this goes on too long, they will likely lose the ability to take any form of responsibility or make decisions, and eventually, they’ll rely solely on you to fix everything that goes wrong.
You’ve probably turned down their advice and/or thoughts frequently in the past, so they won’t even bother to speak up with ideas if all you do is shoot them down and do your own thing.
More work for you and less capable employees, and this could impact on their skill set as much as it will impact on your workload and the smooth running of your business.
As mentioned earlier, staff who don’t feel trusted are likely to go elsewhere.
If you stamp out their creativity, make them feel like they’re not capable of making even the smallest decisions, and like
they’re not trusted to do a full day’s work without being closely watched, it will make for pretty low morale, and that results in a high staff turnover.
Employers everywhere will know that a high staff turnover ends up costing more money as more time is spent training new people and away from doing the jobs that actually need to be done.
This is why it’s of utmost importance that you ensure your staff know you trust them, if not to reduce turnover, to maintain a quality output.
Constantly having people leave your company and hiring new people is detrimental to how knowledgeable your staff are, and this could be reflected to your clients.
Try this Instead
Making sure your staff are doing what they’re supposed to do is important, but it can be done from a distance.
Try holding a morning meeting and seeing what everyone has planned to get done that day, let go of the reigns and give people more responsibility, and work on increasing the mood in the office.
It will be beneficial to you staff, your business, and you as it will ease a bit of the pressure.
If you want to keep track of what your staff are doing, you can implement software that tracks how long it takes them to do tasks.
There are desktop apps available for commercial tasks, including Toggle which tracks how long a person spends on software.
It’s a good tool for monitoring what a person spends their day doing, and you can take advantage of the collaborative calendar so you can see what people have pencilled in every day.
This will allow you to keep an eye on what your employees are doing, but from enough of a distance that they don’t feel like they’re being micromanaged.
If all else fails, put yourself in your employee’s shoes.
Would you feel comfortable if every action you did was overlooked and scrutinised?
Would you be happy and excited to come into work everyday, or would you go running the other way?
The answer is probably that you wouldn’t be comfortable and you’d rather be trusted, so taking a minute to see things from your employees perspective can make all the difference to creating stronger bonds.
The less you micromanage and the more you trust your employees, the better your relationship will be, the more positive your workplace will seem and the more productive everyone will be.
You have so much to lose from micromanaging yet so much to gain from avoiding it, so it seems like a no brainer.