To say that working from home caused some serious trust issues between bosses and employees is an understatement.
As the latter, I get where the wavering trust stems from. Without being able to physically see people in the office sitting at their computer, minds can very easily create scenarios where employees are sending sporadic emails to make it seem like they’re present while they’re actually getting blackout drunk on a beach in Hawaii.
Alright, that might be a stretch given the global pandemic and all, but transitioning from a physical to an online presence has definitely played tricks on the psyche over the past year-plus.
Interestingly though, most people I’ve spoken to who have been working from home say that they’re even more pressured to stay connected and in touch because they feel like the trust isn’t there, so it’s a two-way street, I suppose.
Regardless of your position in a company, here are a few issues that have arisen since all of this began – whether they’re valid or not.
1. An unstable internet connection
Let’s just get the problem child out of the way.
A poor internet connection has definitely ruined careers before. I don’t have any hard evidence of this but is it a coincidence that the Golden Globes empire crumbled after a poorly connected Zoom ceremony? Multiple firings are going on over there.
So, I can only imagine how suspect the Big Dogs would be if employees are giving them radio silence for a third of the day. My advice to bosses would be to give their employees the benefit of the doubt, while employees should consider either investing in a better internet plan or if it’s just a one-off hiccup, having some sort of backup just in case.
I’m not encouraging breaking into your neighbours’ house and writing down their wifi password, but I’m also not not encouraging it. A minor stint in jail is entirely worth it for free wifi, to me.
While you’re there, help yourself to the fridge. You’re going to jail anyway, you may as well get a few free meals out of it.
2. Out of sight, out of mind
It can be a difficult adjustment having to bestow blind (ayyy) faith in employees working from home if you’re used to interacting with them in person, so to just let the work alone reflect their levels of productivity can be a daunting task.
I feel like this is eerily similar to the whole ‘high school vs. university’ dynamic though. In high school, teachers crack the shits if students ask to piss during class, while in uni, you could get abducted by aliens, probed, returned four days later and the professors wouldn’t bat an eye.
As long as there are deadlines and regular updates, there should be no reason for bosses to go all ‘do you have a toilet pass?’ on employees unless their track record is pure trash.
3. The routine’s been broken
As a self-confessed hater of change, altering any form of routine is about an 11 on the anxiety scale. Honestly, who actually likes change? Psychopaths, probably.
It makes sense that any disruption to a workday is bound to throw everyone for a loop. What do you do with all the extra time you’re saving by not commuting? Do you still shower? Will you develop a fear of going outdoors and talking to people?
I mean, it’s not your bosses’ business whether or not you shower every day but it is their business to know if you’re still working the same hours, so just make sure you’re meeting the same standards as before to crush any concerns the higher-ups may have.
4. Feeling a sense of unease
It’s apparent that this far into the working from home sitch, everyone just feels like they could be doing more – without actually knowing how they could be doing more.
Hear me out, but I think this has something to do with the comfort aspect of working from home. I still feel guilty when I’m working away on the couch, as I still associate the couch with ‘super fun relaxing time’. Sure, I am genuinely working, but I’m a little bit too comfortable and often I feel like I should be working at one of those standing desks that I despise so much.
Who the fuck goes, ‘You know what I need to do more of? Standing still.’ Once again, psychopaths.
The moral of the story is that if your company’s mostly working from home, you’re all in the same boat. Everyone likely feels uneasy in their own way so to overcome this and to reinforce the trust between employees and bosses, my vote is to just talk through it.
Honestly though, this far in I’d be concerned if your boss is still being a sour lemon about it.
Have they read the news? No one’s having a great time.Image: The Office (UK)