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Are Managers Still Needed in the Age of Remote Work?

remote work

People who work within an organization are used to having a point person to oversee their behavior at the office and to oversee the quality of their output. However, the world is changing. There are now companies that are adopting the four-day workweek to improve productivity and quality of life among employees. The past year has also seen work transition from office to home as employees are asked to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.

While the four-day workweek is still in its trial stage, the work from home setup may be permanent for a lot of workers. Many companies have already turned completely remote or are now offering employees a flexible work schedule. More people prefer to work from home because it leads to greater money savings, prevents them from having to waste time on commutes, and boosts their motivation and efficiency.

The Case Against Managers

When offices had to close down because of the pandemic, people realized that there is no reason why they have to commute to and from the office every single day. They also found that they can finish their work faster because there are fewer interruptions throughout the day.

Apparently, the so-called helicopter-style management, which involves the boss hovering over everyone’s shoulder to make sure that they are working and that they are performing their tasks correctly, is a distraction. When they were sent home to work during the pandemic, employees dedicated their time toward finishing their tasks without managers looking over their shoulders or calling them into the conference room for meetings.

In some companies, managers found that they had nothing much to do when they switched to working from home. There is now a question of whether, in the present day, there is still a need for hierarchy in the workplace. When employees are left alone to do the work they were hired to do. It turns out, adults are capable of being productive without supervision.

However, it is not for everybody. Organizations, especially ones that have hundreds of employees, still need a point person to ensure that the department is on the right track. Moreover, during a crisis such as a pandemic, people need a leader to unify and guide them.

Here are some things that managers can do to continue making valuable contributions to the company and provide support for their subordinates.

No More Authoritarian Leadership

Micromanaging does not work. While older generations were used to having a boss watching their every move, younger generations are not. Millennials, who now form half of the global workforce, are willing to walk away because of a bad boss.

Managers need to employ new ways to run the department or team.

Many can benefit from facilitative leadership coaching, a type of leadership model that effectively delegates roles and boosts collaboration at the workplace to guarantee results. A facilitative leader empowers members of a group to contribute their knowledge and skills, share their concerns and ideas, make decisions that will benefit the project, and share responsibility for failure and success. This type of leader inspires and motivates.

Become the Team’s Troubleshooter

Managers tend to be treated as the person who subordinates serve. However, in the present, it should be the other way around. Managers, to be effective, should support their team, and help them achieve their goals. The role of the manager should be to create a strategy that will reduce time and resources wasted and improve employee performance. This involves removing any roadblock – both physically and emotionally – that could be preventing the team from achieving their goal.

If an employee is struggling with a certain task, they step in to help. They provide advice and work with the employee to come up with a solution. They might also negotiate with a client or upper management to extend the deadline if needed to give the employee more time to do their work.

A manager should be a troubleshooter that aids members of their team who are in need of help.

Be the Cheerleader

Managers are still part of their team. A team’s success, therefore, is the manager’s success as well. However, employees might not feel motivated if they see the manager taking sole credit for the team’s achievements.

Managers should spend less time criticizing and more time celebrating successes. This way, employees see that their hard work and contributions to the organization are being recognized by their employers.

The role of the workplace managers has changed now that employees are no longer coming into the office. To remain relevant to the organization, managers should change their leadership styles and establish a more positive connection with their team.

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