Stealing Time

Question:

I work with someone who is always late for work. She tells the office manager she forgot to clock in, so the OM adjusts her time card for her, when in fact she was 15 minutes. Late. Should I be tell or just mind my own business? Other staff members have noticed and we feel this is unfair to those of us that arrive on time.

Signed,

Don’t Like It


Answer:

Dear┬áDon’t Like It:

We learn early not to tattle. Yet that leaves you with the choice of smoldering resentment. Might there be ways to voice it? You can tell your Office Manager about your late coworker’s false excuses or confront her. You say this is a pattern. I doubt that your Office Manager would continuously adjust your coworker’s time card, so could you be mistaken? Even so you don’t like her lateness.

Does it really mean some of you must make up for what he doesn’t do? If so, say so. Say so firmly yet with controlled resentment, “Sarah, when you are late, that isn’t fair to us. Will you start clocking in 15 minutes early rather than 15 minutes late? Or have you arranged for a flexible schedule to work 15 minutes overtime before you leave?” Or “Ms. Come-Late, do you have problems about getting here on time? Can we help you with that? It’s not fair when you arrive late and we are on time.” The fact is that being late too often is a pattern and that’s why a company often docks pay. You can bypass Sarah and tell your OM that those of you don’t think it is fair for her to cover for Sarah. Or you can tell Sarah that you are going to ask the OM not to adjust her time card.

Or you can anonymously leave a note to say this. There might be other ways to effectively vent your resentment, such as a popping a balloon or singing “Good Morning, Sarah” when she arrives. You either remain silent or find a way to make you point. Ideally, your work group would meet regularly to address questions such as: How well are we doing? What deserves applause and what can we do to work more effectively as a team? How might we make each others work easier and more fun? Problems with late-coming would then arise.

Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my way of suggesting that the benefit of team mindedness and action means some of you must do what it takes to work together effectively. Will you send a note about what you do?

William Gorden