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How do I stop my employees from wasting company time?

26 May 2017

Hi Harry, My new leading hand is great but he spends 30 minutes every morning on the toilet with his phone! What should I do?

Hi Mr Client,

I feel your pain! However getting to the root cause of the problem, is it possible your leading hand has his own personal problem that he is trying to work out every morning? Bear in mind his phone may be with him purely for research purposes…

First of all, if expectations of working hours and acceptable breaks are not clear then these need to be addressed and reinforced not only with him but also with the wider team. Not necessarily at the same meeting I might add. Due to the sensitivity of this issue, give him some privacy – so to speak.

Look to gain commitment from the entire team that reasonable breaks are acceptable but unexplained absences of over 5 to 10 mins need to be made up either in the lunch break or at the end of the day.

Should an immediate improvement not be noted I would advise that you need to have a delicate conversation with him to ascertain why he is absent from the shop floor for 30 mins each morning. You should frame your conversation in a genuinely concerned way to avoid an accusatory tone.

A good tactic might be to refer to the earlier conversation about expectations of all and remind him that as a leading hand he needs to set an example for others to follow.

On a broader level ensure that all employees understand that satisfactory productivity is not only key to the overall success of your business but essential for the job security of each and every employee.

Perhaps you could introduce a healthy eating / wellbeing day once a month to encourage your staff to make healthy food choices and discuss the effects of bad diet / lack of exercise. After all, high performing teams pay attention to both their physical and mental well being.

As is the case with many workplace issues, failure to set reasonable expectations often results in ‘messy’ loop holes.

One only hopes that your Leading Hand is unsure of what is expected of him and his responsibilities rather than the poor chap experiencing a genuine or should I say ‘physiological issue’ that prevents him from functioning adequately each morning (no pun intended).

If all else fails, contact your local HORNER representative who can offer you additional advice should the problem not ‘clear itself up’ in the near future.

Yours truly, Harry

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