Micromanagement during COVID 19

Jul 9, 2020

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As many of us enter another month of quarantine, we’re experiencing new ways of working and living that come with its own set of challenges.

If you’re the type of leader who likes to micro-manage, oversee every action your employees take and ensure that they have no autonomy or sense of control, then you’re probably feeling a little disoriented by having everybody work from home as a result of your ‘COVID-19 policy’ being activated.

One of the biggest reasons that managers micromanage is due to lack of trust. For employees, it’s important to ask the manager to be explicit about what they expect of you. For managers, it’s also important to understand how your team best operates. After all, micromanaging is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.

Below is a list of actions you should be taking today in order to minimize unrest among the employees and maintain order.

SCHEDULE MEETINGS THROUGHOUT THE DAY – It is imperative that you schedule meetings at the start, middle, and end of the day. This prevents your employees from front-loading or back-loading work and taking half a day off to pursue COVID-19 friendly recreational activities, such as watching Netflix or going for long walks in the park.

USE VIDEO-CONFERENCING SOFTWARE TO SPY ON EMPLOYEE STATIONS – You don’t want to run the risk of employees pulling the wool over your eyes and taking calls from the beach. As such, you can use free tools such as Zoom or Skype to run your remote meetings with video. This empowers you to observe your employees’ station to ensure that there is no foul play going on.

SET FIRM AVAILABILITY EXPECTATIONS – Insist that employees are online and available from 8am to 5pm. Enforce this rule. Offline, away or ‘do not disturb’ mode is not to be tolerated.

MANDATE END-OF-DAY REPORTING FROM ALL EMPLOYEES – Every employee is to submit a 1,000-word report by no later than 5pm on what they accomplished during the day. 

USE SCREEN-LOGGING TO TRACK EMPLOYEE TIME – Just because your employees are at home and online, it doesn’t mean that they’re actually working and not watching Netflix. You can use screen tracking tools like to determine how much time employees are actually spending on their desktops (you should expect no less than 8 hours per day), and what they’re doing with this time.

MANDATE THAT ALL WORK-RELATED NOTIFICATIONS ARE TURNED ON – Employees shouldn’t miss a beat when it comes to new emails, instant messages, and other work-related updates. Ensure that all work-related push notifications are turned — with sound and with the volume all the way up — on both their smartphone and desktop.

CHECK-IN WITH EMPLOYEES SPORADICALLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY – You should make a habit of calling employees sporadically at different times of day in order to ensure that they are reachable and maintain a sense of impending doom or anxiety.

EMPLOYEES ARE TO WORK FROM HOME, AND HOME ONLY – By having employees work from just one location, it becomes much easier to apply the above-mentioned measures. They are under no circumstances to work from a cafe or a private office, even if they insist that doing so makes them more productive.


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