7 thoughts on “Stop managing by the clock

  1. I think one of the challenges I have with this is that I am generally laid back about time. But I have an employee who kept pushing her hours back until she started to come in at 9:30, then 10, then 10:30, then all of a sudden she wasn’t showing up until 11, and was staying until 8 or 9 at night.

    For our office, that was an issue for a couple of reasons – first, she wasn’t in during core hours when our customers would reasonably expect her to be available. Second, staying so late meant that she was alone in our office in a major metropolitan area, which is a liability issue for the company. Third, I (her manager) am out of the office by 5 most days, and if she’s not arriving until 11, and then I’m at lunch for an hour, and she’s at lunch for an hour, I don’t have a lot of time available to connect with her. Fourth, while I am open to flexible hours like 9:30-5:30 or 10-6, I would like for those flexible hours to be consistent rather than changing day to day, just so I can know what to expect.

    But her job is getting done, and for the most part it is done well. So I feel like I’m being a clockwatcher in urging her to set an arrival time and stick to it. This is a hard situation.

    1. Because she’s not available when customers expect her to be, I would have a talk with her.

      It’s not unreasonable to need an employee in the office between certain hours. It is unreasonable to demand everyone show up at 8:36 on the dot or be punished!

      I’d definitely ask her why she’s so inconsistent and see if you can fix the problem. Sometimes you do need to be in the office.

  2. Interesting article, the thing is that those companies who show flexibility will be the one’s who retain staff. The difficulty comes when you have a member of staff who isn’t performing and you’ve not shown consistency when people are 5 minutes late.

  3. Great point that late arrival may be a symptom of poor job performance but not the cause. The results are what matter the most.

  4. I agree in general with your advice, but had to recently deal with this, and wound up terminating the employee. We tried flexible hours, tried talking with her, referred her to the EAP, but no matter what we tried, she would not come in when scheduled. While the inconviences she caused were individually minor, they took a toll on the rest of us.

    1. But by trying flexible hours, helping her with EAP, etc you did take my advice. If it’s affecting performance it’s a problem and it sounds like it was. If someone can’t work with flexible hours, well, then that’s a problem.

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