Post # 1
I posted previously about my upcoming promotion and my concerns about my chronically tardy co-worker/soon-to-be subordinate. I deleted that post because I went into a lot of details and didn’t want her to stumble across it, plus I felt a little guilty since some of it was just venting in the moment. If any of you remember it, the mood in the office is better now although I can tell she’s only interested in a frosty, strictly professional realtionship with me now. C’est la vie.
Once I assume the new position I’ll be in charge of managing her and I plan to give her a fresh start at that point. I have to assume that she’s not going to magically change her ways once I’m her boss, though. The problem is that she’s been spoken to numerous times about her tardiness, both in coming to work and coming back from lunch. She is late every day. It’s improved since my boss gave her the last talking to so now she’s only 5-10 minutes late every morning and 5-10 minutes late coming back from lunch. She argues that it doesn’t have any affect on her job performance because she gets her work done when she’s here, and further denies coming back from lunch late (obviously not accurate or my boss wouldn’t have mentioned it). This is partially true except that her main role is to answer the phones when customers call in. The phones switch on at 8:00 AM but I’ll admit they rarely ring before 8:10. Maybe five times a month, if that. So she’s right that her tardiness doesn’t usually affect anyone else. We also usually have some downtime during the day between projects since we rely on our bosses to assign us work, so it’s not as if she isn’t getting her projects completed.
And that’s where I’m torn. On the one hand, I was raised to never be late to work, never take personal calls unless it’s an emergency, and separate work from my private life so I don’t bring any issues from home to the office with me. She obviously was not raised the same way. If she’s having a bad day at home, we can all tell from her mood here at work and when dealing with the customers. She’s frequently on her cell phone texting and occasionally takes personal calls. We don’t deal with the public in person and she does stop what she’s doing if the phone rings so, again, it’s not really affecting her ability to get her work done. And that’s the other hand. I’ve done some reading online on managerial and HR sites to prepare for my new role. There seems to be a consensus that in the modern day work environment it’s pointless to be a hardass about punctuality if the employee can still do their work. Why alienate an employee who knows how to do their job over something trivial? Why go through the process of finding, hiring, and training a new employee when you’ve got one who already knows how to do the work? Since this doesn’t jive at all with my personal attitude I struggle with the notion of rolling up to work whenever you please. Am I just being old fashioned about this?
I should also note that my boss is extremely strict about punctuality with every other employee. Technicians have been fired for showing up late. Since we’re office staff it’s less important to be here on time, I suppose, but I know he’s gotten increasingly frustrated with her and the attitude she gives him whenever he disciplines her for it. Also, there is no option of staying to work late if you’re late for work. We only work 7.5 hours, get paid for 8, and frequently our boss lets us leave even earlier than that. Basically when they say we can leave we leave. We are already spoiled enough in this regard, I think.
What’s your experience at your workplace? Are they strict about punctuality? Does it bother you if they are? Does it bother you if co-workers are late when you’re punctual? Does it matter if you’re late, i.e., affect your work performance? I feel like I need more feedback and a larger knowledge base to deal with this. It also doesn’t help that after her tantrum about my promotion she’s not exactly my favorite person in the world so I’m trying not to let that cloud my professional judgment.
Post # 2
In your case, I think punctuality is important. Sure, maybe no one usually calls in at 8 am, but if the phones are on, someone should be watching them!
In my workplace, we are pretty relaxed, and I’m SO grateful. As long as I get my 40h my boss is happy. And that includes sometimes working from home. I don’t care when other people come in, it doesn’t effect me or my job. If I come in late, I stay a bit late. Sometimes I come in early so I can leave early.
And TBH I dont really see an issue with taking personal calls/texting so long as its not interferring, especially if its all phone based service. I dunno, maybe its because I have my own office so people arent constantly watching me, but if the job is getting done well, I just dont see a point in harping on it. (I’m also on WB during work hours, so that might also say something… lol)
So for you, I’d be a hardass about punctuality, because phones are ON, but not about texting. That is just me though.
Post # 3
jellybellynelly : I’m glad your employer is relaxed and it works out for everyone involved! That is a good point about the texting and calls although my boss has commented that she’s sometimes slow in returning projects to him because he sees her on her phone texting when she should be working on that. That is one of their few complaints about her job performance (aside from the tardiness). But even that I don’t think is a frequent problem. When you’ve worked somewhere for ten years they’re bound to have noticed a few flaws and have a few complaints.
The thing is, I can answer the phones. I’m here before 8:00 since I leave a buffer in my commute and rarely need it, my original job here was hers so I know how to cover the phones, and when I think about it rationally it doesn’t kill me to take 10-15 minutes at most out of my month fielding calls when she should technically be doing that. Still, the part of me that is annoyed that she’s late every damn day when she has a five-minute commute is irrationally piqued whenever that phone rings.
Post # 4
I’m a salary plus commission employee without a set schedule, but I share a floor, and a breakroom, with a call center. They have a point system, being late is a point, an unexcused absence is 2 points, etc. Accumulate so many points and you’re fired. They need those folks on the phones at a certain time and they need them back from lunch in time for the next person to go.
Post # 5
Punctuality is not strict at all for my job. I shoot for 9-5, but I’m in a bit after 9 most days (but before 9:30) and I often leave a bit early if I’m done for the day. That said, I get my work done and I’m never late for actual meetings or scheduled events. My boss doesn’t care as long as my work is getting done and I’m not exceedingly late, in fact, he’s often late as well. I don’t work with customers and I don’t have coworkers that are waiting on me, so it really doesn’t matter IMO. I’m also a scientist doing research, so it’s not as if there are set tasks to accomplish everyday, some days I only have one thing to do for an experiment that takes 10 mins, other days I’m busy all day, it’s not a job that fits well within the rigidity of 9-5.
Outside of my science jobs, I was always punctual, but I will say that having some flexibility does improve my job satisfaction. I don’t have to make a big deal out of leaving home super early because traffic might be bad that morning (I already have an hour commute without traffic). I don’t have to make a big deal out of leaving a bit early to run an errand somewhere that closes at 5. I do think that if people (either clients or coworkers) are relying on you then you should make an effort to be punctual. I also don’t think it’s fair to place different expectations on different people. I know in the past I’ve had coworkers who were always late when everyone else was on time and they never got in trouble, where if I was late once I got chewed out. That doesn’t foster a good work environment. I also don’t think the personal calls are a big deal as long as they’re not interfering with work or disturbing others.
Post # 6
CakeSniffer : First of all, I commend you for taking the time to hear other perspectives to broaden your outlook and understanding (I am going to assume that you are honestly approaching this from a mostly open minded standpoint and are not one of those OPs who came here to hear a very specific response and will argue with opposing views.) Secondly, I didn’t see your other post so I don’t understand the personal conflict you seem to have with this woman. That said, what I can offer is one of the things you asked for and that’s my personal experience being a subordinate. I agree with you that it is horrible for an employee to be late. It’s kind of like stealing time. Inexplicably, I am late more times than I’m on time. Arguably, I’m almost never on time. My company tells us straight out that they want us there “early.” 9 am start time, and they want us there “before” that. That’s extremely vague and I don’t agree with that approach. I can assume it means 845? Maybe 850? I’m actually not sure. Bad tactic on the part of Upper Management. They should be direct about what they want. That said, it is bad of me to come in at 903-906. I honestly feel like crap about it. In my semi-defense, if I have a project to work on I’ll stay well past quitting time, usually don’t leave right at 6, and aside from my boss needing things, there’s nothing super impacted by my being 5 mins late. However, when I come in it 857-900, I feel like I’m on time even though my superiors disagree. I only know because of what they’ve said in a group setting and in the employee manual though. They have never spoken to me about it, I don’t know why. I think managers and subordinates butt heads because to an employee, if I carve out 9am-6pm of my day to devote to work, that’s plenty and even though my computer isn’t booted up yet and if I walk in the door at 9, I’m not AT my desk but to me, I’m still at work. To management, they want you to START work at the designated time, not arrive, hang your coat and turn on your computer. I get that but I also feel like if your hours are 845-6 just say that on the job posting. All of this “you should know” is shady garbage. Also, the standard work day used to be 9-5, now most companies in my city are 9-6.. which really means 845-615 apparently, I mean…it just feels like we’re working our lives away and my kids will be working even more hours if something doesn’t change. Sorry for rambling, your company only has 7.5 hour days which is great and makes it harder to defend this employee. All I can say is it’s how her brain is wired. Some people are just that way. Personally I’d love to be a morning person, make up at 6, greet the world cheerily, go for a jog. But instead I roll out of bed at 811 and curse the world angrily. It sucks but that’s life. My mom was a bar maid because she was wired for night time as well. As for her coming back late from lunch, she clearly has a problem with time management and probably organization to some degree. I don’t know how to deal with that as her manager, but I do recommend being consistent. If you discipline one employee, do the same to others for the same transgressions. If you’re not going to fire her for it, then I guess just keep verbally correcting her behavior. It sounds like it helps a bit at least. In my experience with people, those who are goodie goodie types and want to be perfect will continue coming in on time regardless of this girl getting away with lateness. If her work and disposition is otherwise good, I guess that’s sufficient? Only you and other bosses can decide.
Post # 7
we have flexible schedules, people can work 8hours, 9 hours with 1 day off every pay, or 4/10.
our main band is 930 to 230. you have to be working during those hours and as long as you work your time there is no issue. i’m on 8 hours so i could work 6 to 230 or 930 to 6. i generally come in 7-730. i’ve been “late” but never called in because i don’t have an official start time. if i know i am going to be late, doctor’s appt, etc, i give my supervisor a heads up. but sometimes i do drop off in the morning for my son and don’t get to the office until 8/830. those days i need to take leave if i want to leave at 4 or work my 8 hours.
in our office this is not a big deal.
but if her start time is 8am, she should be there at 8.
just to add. my previous job was an 8-5 job. i had an hour commute and was always there on time or a little early. there was this other girl who was perpetually 10-15 late every day. one morning i couldn’t get up and was just running a few minutes late. i decided since i was already going to be late, i was going to stop for gas so i wouldn’t have to stop on my way home. as i walking up the stairs, i ran into the big boss. 30 minutes later, my boss called me into his office and asked me if i had a problem being on time. i started laughing but was livid. i started to complain about the other person. then stopped, i said i had a bad morning and i was 15 minutes late, it was my first time being late and i didn’t plan for it to happen again. not long after i started interviewing, got a better job, and gave my 2 weeks notice. my boss was not surprised.
Post # 8
CakeSniffer : At my old job, I was salaried, and my employees were all hourly. I always asked them to be in at the same time each day, within 10 minutes the time, and if they were going to be late, call me. 95% had no issue with that, but one did, and he didnt seem to comprehend that if you are 30 mins late to your 8-4 job, you stay 30 mins late that day. But he also had other issues and he was let go.
At my current job, I am salaried, but here everyone is very nosy, and will say something if you come in late or leave early. Even though it is none of their business, they will be like Oh, hunting_bride, why are you leaving early today? Did you tell your boss? “WHY YES I DID NOW BUGGER OFF NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” So even though I am salaried, and stay late most nights, someone tittle tailed on me when I left early to go to the dentist.
Post # 9
karen12 : I was reading that for certain jobs it obviously matters, and the examples cited were call centers and shift work. Makes sense to me but I wouldn’t say our phones are busy enough to qualify as anything even remotely call center-like. There’s actually been a shift in how our customers contact us over the past five years so she’s more likely to have a bunch of emails waiting in her inbox when she gets to work than phone calls to field.
SithLady : Wow, that stinks about getting reprimanded for being responsible most of the time and slipping once, while you see co-workers slacking all the time! I’m not sure our other employees feel that way but a few have noticed that she’s not here on time and made comments, but more in a joking or offhand way. It’s hard to know if they see the double standard and it bothers them or not.
Hmm, these responses are making me think that I’m being unfair and too strict in my thinking. Maybe I should just let it go and be grateful that my punctuality made me stand out when it came time for the promotion.
Post # 10
If over fifteen minutes we need to call. We have a 7.5 too. But really if you’re here and do your 7.5/8 hours and finish work on time, get to meetings on time you’re good. It’s not as flexible as some but not very strict either.
It’s expected that there is some overtime. But if you get your work done in the 7.5 they don’t expect you to stay for no reason either. But if you come up short on the 7.5 we have to use our time. And unpaid time isn’t allowed.
Post # 11
calliekalico2 : I am trying to be open minded. I recognized long ago that I was raised in a very strict way by a mother who sees the world as black-and-white, right and wrong, with no room for thinking that other folks might want to live life a little differently. I don’t want to fall into that same trap so I try to listen and learn as much as I can from others.
I think your current employer is ridiculous too! I hate the mindset we all seem to be slipping into, that work should be our lives. If they’re willing to pay you for working eight hours then you should be in the office for a total of eight hours. Not more! I really don’t get the notion that you need to be sitting at your desk with your computer booted up ready to work at the start of the work day. Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t go make yourself a cup of coffee and loiter in the break room chatting about last night’s TV for the first 15 minutes of the day and consider that “work”, but things like turning on your computer should qualify as work. Also no, vagueness does not work as a managerial technique. Way to confuse your poor employees and possibly get them in trouble for breaking the nebulous rules.
I guess my concern about even bringing it up to her once is that if there are no consequences then what’s the point? It’ll probably just piss her off, make her resent me/her job, and I know from my boss’s experience with this issue that it won’t make a difference. Maybe she’ll shape up for a few weeks but she has always slipped back. I agree she clearly has time management issues and she’s confessed she’s always late for everything (including her own birth, she jokes), which is obviously not the way I am so I can’t fully understand what she’s struggling with. I guess it makes no sense to me because if you’re lucky enough to live five minutes from work and the clock says 7:55, it’s time to go. She goes home for lunch and I don’t understand how she can still be sitting there after she’s already supposed to be back at work! Ultimately, I think the only options here are bringing it up with a plan to give her X number of warnings before she loses her job, or channeling my inner Elsa and letting it go.
Post # 12
CakeSniffer : Yea times when I needed to “open”the office you better believe I had to be there right on time! But no one waits fire me and even late my start time is earlier than some.
Post # 13
For her type of job it makes more sense to be strict.
At my job nobody really cares where I am as long as my job gets done and I show up or dial in to meetings on time. I’m expected to generally show up and generally be around during business hours, but there’s a lot of trust that we know how to manage our time. People also often work from home and come in later to reduce commuting. Most people show up by 10am and people start leaving at 4, but you’re really not ‘late’ as long as you’re not late to your meetings.
I’m salaried, but they aren’t paying me for my time spent, but rather whether the work assigned to me gets done. I’ve had some weeks where I’ve had to work 60 hours to get it done, and others where I worked 30.
We also have a culture where it’s considered totally fine to do personal things at work. I overhear coworkers talking to their spouses about groceries on the phone all the time.
Post # 14
I am usually 5-10 minutes late for work because the MTA in NYC has been horrendous lately and you can get held up for everything from “train traffic”, signal delays, sick passengers etc. so my bosses are very lenient, they will not harp on us about being a few minutes late a couple x a week but we also work in a different type of office environment. It’s a reasonable expectation that employees should arrive to work on time and come back to work on time especially if they are salaried employees, some employers may consider that “stealing time”. It’s a tough call because she is getting all of her work done and has been reprimanded for being late so many times already the only way she may change is if she’s given an ultimatum.
Post # 15
CakeSniffer : I’m salaried and work in a job where we work so much that hours have to be flexible (it’s not a sweat shop, is it?). I would be very unhappy in my job if I worked 50 hours a week and they were also sticklers about arriving at a certain time. I also feel like I need that flexibility at lunctime because it’s sometimes my only time to run errands given that I may have to work later at night.
I recently changed jobs and though I love this one so much more in so many ways, I will say that I am “expected” to start earlier which is the only part I don’t like. There is no starting time per se, but I feel judged if I walk in any time after 8:45am. (At my old job, I arrived about half an hour later and it was ok).
I recently found out through the grapevine that though the main reason I was let go from my previous job (which I hated so it was a blessing in disguise) was to cut costs, they had noticed that I was on my phone a lot. Hearing this really upset me as 1) I didn”t think I was 2) I don’t work 9-5, and sometimes we just have to take care of personal things in the day….again, because I can’t in the evening as I am also working. I also felt they didn”t notice that I rarely took a lunch break – they should not have judged my phone use for this reason alone.
For people to be happy in their jobs, there needs to be flexibility as long as the work is being completed properly and on time – we aren’t robots. I also think managers should evaluate the whole situation before jumping the gun. Is the employee doing other things to perhaps compensate for phone use or tardiness?