Remote work has caused a dramatic shift in how companies operate and their ability to manage their remote workers. We conducted an interview with a boss whose hands-on approach to management isn’t as effective as it once was.
How has working from home changed your team’s environment?
“How has it changed? (sigh) How has it not changed? In the office, I was able to run a tight ship. I would circle the block of cubicles like a shark, letting everyone know that eyes were on them. The ‘big man’, me, was watching what they were doing. Not a single person was on their phone. No one was talking. Just pure work. Without my presence over their shoulder, what’s to stop them from slacking off?”
Without your… let’s say ‘intimidation’ to keep them in line, how has your team’s performance been impacted?
“Well, you can’t really get a good read on performance through numbers and metrics and all that. Sometimes performance can look good just by pure luck.”
And your team’s performance has been having some good luck?
“Well, yeah. But that’s probably due to the leftover discipline from me running a tight ship in the office. What happens when that wears off? Huh? You know how hard it is to be intimidating through a tiny computer screen. I can’t tower over them from 30 miles down the road, sitting at my kitchen table.”
You think the dropoff in your team’s performance is inevitable if they continue to work from home?
“Without a doubt. I would stake my name on it. It’s not just about me cracking the whip either. I also can’t be as motivational through a screen.”
How did you motivate your employees before?
“Just in little ways to show they’re doing a good job. The men of course didn’t need much motivation, they always did a good job. But the women, you’d be surprised how far a little attention can go. You know what I mean? A casual wink or a firm pat on the bottom can brighten their whole day, even more so if I can find something about their appearance to compliment.”
Has that kind of, uh, ‘motivation’ ever resulted in any complaints?
“There have been a few ungrateful people who tried to complain, yeah. But that’s okay, I know how to run my team.”
You say “tried” to complain. You mean they weren’t successful?
“Hah, how can they be? I’m not doing anything wrong. Besides, the “anonymous” complaint email address just goes to my inbox anyway. People think they’re telling on me, but really I just find out who the snitches are.”
I see… As we wrap up here, I have one final question: Is there anything you think your company can do to make workers want to come back to the office?
“Funny you mention it, I just proposed last week that we cut salaries by 25% for people that work from home. That way you have to show up to get your full paycheck. It’s only fair. And that ought to motivate ‘em, huh?”
End of Interview.
Editor’s note: The comments, behavior, and actions of the interviewed boss do not represent this publication’s views or opinions.
Update: The boss in question has been fired since the publication of this interview. We have reached out for further comment and he responded with a lengthy rant against certain demographics. The rant will not be featured in our publication as we feel it does not belong in print.