Canoeing, Napping and Cycling — Is This Acceptable?

Q: I work in a very casual technology company. Most employees really put forth an effort every day and on every project. There are a few who take advantage of our casual culture. They take afternoon bike rides, head to the Charles to canoe for a few hours, arrive at 10am and leave at 3pm. I even found one colleague asleep in our employee lounge. Our CEO is a young, relaxed guy and very fair. He trusts people, maybe too much. I will admit though we do fire employees who are not meeting expectations. What are your suggestions for addressing the folks who seem to take advantage of the perks within my workplace?

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A: More and more companies are moving to a very employee-centric work environment. If employers are expecting employees to be available during the evenings and weekends, employers are giving employees a bit of extra flexibility during the week. With that said, most employees are respectful and appreciative of such an environment. However, there are some who take advantage of such flexibility. Many companies are giving employees the option of working flexible hours if they can still complete their work. Instead of watching when employees punch in and punch out, managers are evaluating an employee’s productivity and results vs. the actual hours worked. The real question is are they getting their work done?

The managers of the employees who take advantage, may be observing these behaviors too. Perhaps these perceived slackers are working remotely until 1:00am on the tight deadline. Or they may have been partying the night before at a local bar. You and I don’t know. You have to trust your employees and their managers. However, if some are taking advantage of that trust and not getting their work done, managers should be addressing these concerns with the employees. It sounds like some employees have been terminated for not doing their jobs well. This is sometimes a necessary evil. This may be an encouraging sign — that managers are monitoring performance and responding appropriately to those who can’t effectively perform their job.

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Kudos to your employer for building a trustful work environment. Most will respect it but some will not.

by Pattie Hunt Sinacole, First Beacon Group LLC

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