Leadership Soapbox – How Much Should We Trust Our Staff When They Work From Home? Part 1

Is monitoring staff working at home a good idea?


Hi, my name’s Neil Poynter and welcome to the Leadership Soapbox.

For those of you who’ve been here before, welcome back. For those of you who are new viewers, you are very welcome. This is where I sometimes get on my soapbox about things, and I talk about things that matter to me, and I think are pertinent around leadership and management.

Today’s is one of those. I want to talk about something that’s really relevant to COVID, to where we find ourselves in the work situations that we’re dealing with now.

It’s caused and provoked by some news I saw last week that Microsoft are bringing out some new software for monitoring homeworking. I’ve got a real problem with this.

What’s the message that we are giving our people who are the people who go out and do wonderful work for us and make all the things happen? And I say to you, now you’re going to do remote working, you’re going to work from home. Now I’m going to monitor you. I think there’s a real problem in the message, if you like.

The underneath message that that sends, because what is it? I think it is, we don’t trust you. We don’t trust you to put the hours in, to do what we say, to be good employees.

So what’s the impact of us saying to people, we don’t trust you? I think we’re going to see a drop in performance. I don’t think we stand a chance of getting that real optimal performance that we would really like to get from our people.

If you look at all the studies around engagement, around motivation, one of the big things is you’re trusted, you’re empowered, we believe in you, we want you to go, go do it. Organisations that work on the basis of this is the result I want, how you do it is up to you.

And yet here we are in really testing circumstances, where people are feeling under pressure for loads of reasons. There’s looking after children, there’s looking after relatives, there’s the worry of the overall context. And yet we’re saying to them, we don’t trust you.

I have a real problem with that. Now, if you are in an organisation, that’s thinking of doing this, I want to challenge you about this and go please think about this and really don’t do it.

What I really want you to think about doing is going, we trust you, we want you to go away and work like this, and we believe in you. Now at the end of this video, there’s going to be a link onto another where I’m going to go into three bits of theory that really back this up. Okay?

First of all, there’s a psychotherapy model. Some of you will not know that I’m a trained psychotherapist. Well, there’s a piece of theory that really backs this up. I want them in adult. I don’t want them in child. I don’t want to talk to them as a parent. I want to talk to them as adults. Do I monitor them as adults? Hmm, interesting.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Are they going to feel good about themselves if I don’t trust them?

And then finally McGregor’s XY theory X theory manager, versus Y theory manager. I’m going to go into those on another video. But right now let’s just think about the impact of a message that says I don’t trust you. I think this is really key.

Now I’d love to hear your views on this. What are you doing? What do you think about this?

How do we develop an environment of trust, where we want people really performing at their highest level as much as possible giving us their best but at the same time we’re telling them we don’t trust them. I think this is critical, I think it’s vital that it’s something we think about before we go too far down this avenue of over monitoring them. Sure there’s a right amount, but is it monitoring how they do it or what they do?

There’s the jury let’s have a think, let’s have a chat about this. If you’d like to have a conversation about this neil@neilpointer.com, send me a comment below. Let’s have a conversation about it. What are you doing about it?

Let’s open this up to people and follow up, click on the link on to the next video, and I’ll tell you more about it there. But let’s just think about this. What are the benefits of really developing trust?

Thank you very much. I’ll see you in the next video.

Explore the series:

  • Building trust with work at home staff – video 1
  • Building trust with work at home staff – video 2