Wow, it’s been a year since many employers switched at least some of their workers to remote work. Businesses that previously had zero employees working from home scrambled to make the transition. Some companies are transitioning back to in-person work, but others are trying to figure out how remote work can be successful in the long run. Small businesses are following their big-name counterparts such as Dropbox, Twitter and Spotify in letting their employees continue to work from home.
You may be tempted to micro-manage your work from home employees. But, the website Business2Community recommends you use what they call “an empowerment strategy” instead. They say, “This approach, where management and leadership provide support and guidance to employees without looking over their shoulders, has been growing in popularity.” Here’s more on the differences according to Business2Community:
A monitoring strategy shows that management doesn’t trust employees when they’re not physically in the office. Leadership calls all the shots; they are the ones collecting data from their people and guiding them on what to do or intervening when things are not going well. In contrast, organizations using an empowerment strategy are saying, “We trust our people.” They give them their data and feedback and trust them to make decisions on their own. If you imagine a spectrum between complete empowerment and complete monitoring, I believe that companies that fall near the empowerment and trust end will see significant improvements in engagement, talent retention, and remote employee performance. One major way for employers to move toward the empowerment end of the spectrum is to invest in team-based tools. An example discussed by Stanford professor and organization psychologist Bob Sutton is a remote team charter or “prenup”—a document that group members write together to spell out expectations and boundaries. Instead of rolling out employee listening programs (like pulse surveys) and work on macro-solutions (which are difficult to implement across global organizations), organizations could instead provide tools for individual teams to be empowered to change and adapt to dynamic work schedules and norms. Empowering employees at the team level and decentralizing people analytics to team leaders can drive change because it demonstrates trust.
Which strategy do you use with your employees, “monitoring” or “empowerment”? Maybe you don’t have defined policies and rules, which makes it difficult to empower your workers. That’s an area where we can give you a hand. Our team of HR experts will help develop policies for remote workers, as well as any other policies that can help shape your corporate culture. Reach out to us at VersaTel Solutions and let us support you as you grow your small business.