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Remote Workers Feel Policed by Unpredictable Managers

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Daily monitoring can lead to remote workers feeling that their managers have less trust in them, research from NEOMA Business School reveals. 

Birgit Schyns, distinguished professor of People and Organisations at NEOMA, co-authored a study analysing survey data on 450 employees at UK-based firms.

According to the researchers, when working from home, employees can feel that they have less autonomy and are under constant surveillance if monitored too frequently. They say these feelings can be exacerbated if managers’ behaviour is unpredictable.

“Day-to-day monitoring leaves remote workers wondering why their managers are making such frequent demands, which may leave them questioning their own ability and putting themselves down. At the end of the day, some employees feel physically and intellectually exhausted,” says Professor Schyns.

The researchers recommend managers establish clear guidelines for checking on employees’ progress. Once communicated, these guidelines must be observed, they add.

The impact of remote management is so important that the authors recommend that business leaders tackle the issue. This role includes providing managers with guidance about their conduct and defining appropriate benchmarks for managerial behaviour. 

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