Deter Time Theft
When a rheumatologist or office manager sees time waste becoming a problem, they need to address it early, identify the cause and alleviate the problem. Ms. Amundson recommends confronting the employee in a private place.
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“Let them know what you have witnessed, and ask if there is a reason for it,” she says. “The important part is to really listen. Perhaps the employee has an ill child or a health concern that is causing tardiness. If the reason is short term, perhaps you can adjust this employee’s schedule until the issue is resolved.”
Another potential solution is to have the staff member who is wasting time identify their strengths.
“After the employee identifies their strengths, try to align their work [with those strengths] as much as possible,” Mr. Amundson says. “For instance, if someone in your office has strong analysis skills and they are working primarily with patients, perhaps you could shift some of their workload toward analyzing patient data to determine trends.”
If their reason for stealing time is unsubstantiated, show them how wasting time is really stealing time by sharing the math on how even 30 minutes a day adds up detrimentally to the company’s profitability and customer service, Ms. Amundson says. Then, the employee may appreciate how their actions affect the company.
Mr. Hussain recommends examining the part you may be playing as the employer or manager. Are staff members motivated, satisfied and engaged? Do they have proper workloads? If the answer to any of these questions is no, the onus is on you to make adjustments.
If staff members are overloaded or working long hours and, consequently, are unable to attend to their obligations outside of the office, try adjusting their responsibilities or schedules. “Sometimes, a simple shift may be what’s needed to help individuals gain better balance and improve their focus at work,” Mr. Hussain says.
If someone is bored or disengaged, examine how staff members are managed. If needed, provide more praise and enhance your reward system. “When people see that their work is appreciated, they’re more motivated,” Mr. Hussain says.
If you don’t address the issue promptly, you’re potentially setting yourself up to fail elsewhere. “It’s important to enforce all policies in employee handbooks,” says Karen A. Young, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, president of HR Resolutions in Harrisburg, Pa, a full-service human resources management company, and author of Stop Knocking on My Door: Drama Free HR to Help Grow Your Business.