Remote work and renaissance for micromanagement
After the initial shock, the last fourteen months of the [partly] forced remote, or hybrid working has been somewhat agile developing of own habits and building conventions. Despite of the nature of the work task days have become denser, even monotonous as natural possibilities for recreation and informal interaction are missing.
The lack of immediate contact increases the need for coordination/metawork, i.e., even small things are instructed in writing or a separate meeting is reserved for the issuing of instructions. Asking for or giving advice can be considered burdensome, but without them, there is procrastination, which further weakens the flow at work. Examples of these are extensive written instructions, as well as scheduling and calendaring even small meetings. In addition, the lack of immediate, natural connection causes an increased need for reporting. In many industries, inadequate means of managing cases, knowledge, and projects have led to a perverse approach in which resources are lost to metaprocesses.
In terms of productivity, the efforts used for metawork are removed from the implementation of the core task and from recovery. In particular, the coordination speech related to metawork, i.e., practically different communication, puts a strain on individuals through interruptions and loss of sense of control. Add to this the different working preferences, people’s extra-work lives, and extensive work networks, people are in danger of falling into the micromanagering limbo.
Unnecessary micromanagering should be avoided, as it burdens communication channels, increases the amount of unnecessary work and [often] frustrates employees. A more flexible way would be to learn from work communities where presence, whether digital or physical, is a recurring opportunity to give feedback, ask for advice or even tell a joke without any more bizarre official gimmicks. By creating a community at the current state of affairs, policies that support productivity are being built without unnecessary bureaucracy.