Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: How to get remote work right

A boss got angry at employees' Microsoft Teams habits. It didn't go well

When your employees are working from home, managing them is a skill. Some bosses haven't mastered it yet.

screen-shot-2022-03-24-at-10-07-14-am.png

It takes a few minutes to go on, you know.

Screenshot by ZDNet

Working from home has changed the art of management.

executive guide

Remote working 101: Professional's guide to the tools of the trade Remote working 101: Professional's guide to the tools of the trade Mastering remote work is all about finding the right tools to stay productive and connected. This guide will have you and your team synchronized and working in harmony, wherever you happen to be.

A quick chat isn't easy. A sense of how your employees are doing can't be had with a furtive glance or an overheard conversation.

Some managers are clearly floundering.

So much so that, in a recent Microsoft survey, managers admitted they couldn't manage because they didn't have the resources in the new world of work. Or because they've simply lost their influence.

At least many admit it. Some, though, think they can maintain control by brute force and fear.

I couldn't help, you see, marvel at a tale offered on Reddit's antiwork capsule.

Told by u/Watsis-name, it involved a boss who thought he could show employees who's the boss.

He called a meeting. This was "because the manager is not impressed with our department logging onto teams at 8:35 while working from home when we're supposed to be clocking on at 8:30."

The shame of it. The sheer impurity and impudence.

Yet, as u/Watsis_name pointed out: "This simply means that we're starting our workday at 8:30, and it takes a few minutes for our computer to load up, the same as in the office."

You'd think a boss might realize this. Ah, but bosses are under pressure to prove their worth. They fear, indeed, that their true worth may not be commensurate with what they're being paid.

Also: Microsoft just gave enterprising employees a kick in the Teams

However, this particular boss continued baring his chest and revealing his inner Tarzan.

First, he declared that he'd summon them back to the office if employees didn't do as he wanted. 

I assume all he'd have to do is wave a digital finger, and this would be done.

Oh, but he wasn't done at all. He called a meeting to discuss this urgent matter. And, again, to prove his power, he called for it at the very end of the day.

Yes, he contacted the allegedly recalcitrant employees at 5 pm.

Ah. Oh.

u/Watsis_name says he offered a measured riposte. He wrote that he would "observe the new requirements in future, but I need to finish on time today as my CV needs updating. Thanks for your time and goodbye."

I have a feeling this boss may regret his haughtiness and, frankly, his tinge of ignorance.

Also: Microsoft asked 31,000 people what's changed about work. One result was startling

As a wise commenter to this story offered: "When we get wind of a competitor pushing for a way back to the office, we just poach their top engineers. It's like fishing with dynamite. Since 2021 we have landed two big projects simply by calling the firm and telling them that all the people they liked from company X are now with us."

Another, though, described the core of the current situation: "It seems to me that a lot of middle manager types have found that they have little or nothing to do because people are working from home, and they're afraid of being laid off because it's obvious that their jobs consist of managing people who don't need to be managed."

Perhaps making sure that your employees simply do the work -- no matter how or when -- should be the prime purpose of management.

Making their lives as comfortable as possible while achieving this might be another prime purpose.

Witlessly annoying them and threatening them with an office return may not bring any returns at all.

Show Comments