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How to manage doing personal things in work time

How to manage doing personal things in work time

By Nick Jakowiw, UK General Manager of the Captor Group

Time management is highly relevant to modern business.

It is not just a means of making sure that people fulfil their obligations to their employers but more importantly it can help control costs and, perhaps more surprisingly, enable organisations to improve overall performance and individual productivity.

It is important to see time management and time recording as an element of any organisation’s broader workforce management strategy.

It can provide vital information and play a critical part in the development and the monitoring of this strategy.

In my experience a good time and attendance (T&A) system can help employers reduce payroll costs by as much as three per cent while increasing staff morale and working flexibility.

It also makes it easier to respond to new working practices such as family friendly working arrangements.
There can be resistance to time and attendance monitoring especially when it is applied to higher paid employees, for example, where time recording has not been the norm.

However, properly implemented, such systems can offer benefits at all levels even for the most senior executives.  It seems strange that as a general rule the more people are paid, the less is done to track their time.

Everyone’s contribution and performance needs to be monitored and, while time and attendance is only part of this, it is an important part.

Arguably, the more people cost their companies, the more the organisation needs to know how their time is spent. This does not suggest that anyone is shirking their responsibilities or not contributing fully.

There are strong motivational as well as operational advantages in making sure that everyone in an organisation, from top to bottom, is governed by the same principles and required to use the T&A system.

Top Tips for employers

1. Clarify in your employee handbook or contract exactly what your company policy is on making personal phone calls, such as sending emails and browsing web sites or handling personal emergencies (eg children off sick etc) during work time – this avoids confusion and misunderstanding.

2. Consider the option of implementing time and attendance or time recording software to enable you to monitor your employees’ time and link it to productivity.

3. If you do have concerns over a specific employee abusing work time, then address it with that individual immediately and through a formal company process like the appraisal system – this means any discussions can be confidential and formally documented.

4. Adopt a certain amount of flexibility in the workplace – every organisation is different in terms of work ethic and style and being flexible may be beneficial to the organisation overall.

Top Tips for employees

1. When you join a new company, make sure you read the employee handbook and your contract thoroughly, as this will provide you with an idea of what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace.  If it is not clear, ask your boss what the company policy is on personal emails, calls etc.

2. Familiarise yourself with your organisation’s time recording system (if they have one), as well as logging holiday, managing benefits etc.

3.  Most companies today are flexible when it comes to doing personal things during work time, especially when staff are working long hours, combining work and family or missing official work breaks – but remember, don’t push it too far!

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