With a steep rise in hybrid and home working, many businesses have provided employees with work devices to use from a location of their choice. However, according to a study commissioned by ExpressVPN, it seems this has caused increased worry among UK employees regarding being monitored too closely by their employers.
The study conducted by the consumer privacy and security company polled 1,000 hybrid and remote workers across the UK, to determine their attitudes towards being monitored and managed when working.
The research found that almost two-thirds (65%) fear being micromanaged, with a fifth (20%) fearing being monitored all the time. Over one-fifth (22%) are nervous about being monitored when using their workplace tech for personal use, and fear being caught out. Overall, men appear to be more nervous (67%) than women (64%).
Regarding whether employees feel as though their employer has the right to monitor their work and how they use their device, almost two-in-five (37%) believe their line manager has the right to monitor them, but only during working hours. However, 1 in 7 (13%) don’t think they have the right at all.
Looking beyond this, the research also revealed that 74% of senior management expect employees to be working outside of their contracted hours. Checking emails from managers and other employees (41%) is the task employers most expect employees to undertake, followed by all other tasks that are part of their role (19%). This pressure to consistently work overtime may be part of the reason why so many employees fear they’re being micromanaged.
With a large percentage of employees worrying about being micromanaged in the workplace, ExpressVPN has worked with HR Advice & Consultancy director Kate Palmer, to share tips on how to deal with micromanagement in the workforce, and how employers can also avoid doing this.
For the employee, Palmer recommends:
- If you feel comfortable, have a quiet, informal chat with the manager, another line manager, or someone from the HR department. This might be enough to make them recognise and understand the impact their management style has on their team.
- You can follow the organisation’s grievance process and raise a formal grievance to the relevant person. In this, try and set out in writing the exact details of the issue, providing as much information as possible. The employee should then be invited to a grievance hearing to investigate the matter further.
- If a group of employees feel the same way about the issue, there is also the option of raising a collective grievance. Here, employers can better understand the scope of the problem and the impact it is having on the organisation as a whole, so it can help give more strength to the employees’ argument and drive change.
For the employer, Palmer also recommends:
- Managers can benefit from setting clear goals and targets, with a deadline for when these should be completed. They should then trust that their teams have the necessary skills, training, and experience to be able to meet these and put measures in place to enable them to comfortably and confidently raise any questions or issues which arise along the way.
- Employers who trust and respect their teams will ultimately reduce any acts of micromanagement, so it’s important this is encouraged.
- Some level of monitoring and management is essential to identify burnout and safeguard employee wellbeing. However, this is a fine balance and employers should avoid placing unnecessary pressure on staff.
ExpressVPN’s study explored further statistics regarding employees’ attitudes towards hybrid and remote working, including the percentage that use their workplace tech for personal use and how often. You can find more information here.