A friend asked me the other day, how do you deal with texting at work?
Huh? What do you mean how do I deal with it?
Well you know how do you manage it? What are your guidelines?
I thought about it for a second. Perplexed I finally said, I don’t manage it. I’ve never really even thought about it.
She then explained her situation with an employee that she often found texting/facebooking/online shopping when she really should have been working. An employee that she felt was unproductive. Her question was about putting guidelines in place to ensure work would continue to get done.
Honestly, up until that moment I didn’t really think about my team wasting time or being unproductive when they should be working. Call me naive but the truth is, I believe without a doubt that the people who work with us have our company’s and our client’s best interest in mind. If I walk into the office and see Facebook open or someone on their phone, I assume it’s either work related or they’re taking a break. I’m fine with breaks.
I can feel some of you rolling your eyes at me.
But I’m telling you, I’m confident they have my company’s best interest in mind. They prove it to me.
They don’t miss deadlines, they hardly ever call in sick and they make our clients happy. In fact I just got an email from one of them who is working overtime (11:00pm on a Saturday night) because we have a presentation on Monday AM and she wants it to be perfect. That’s actually what prompted this post.
To me, that’s proof and speaks to their character.
They’re also really honest. One of our team members asked for a day off to go snowboarding (lots of fresh snow, a nice day and a friend willing to go with her).
She could have called in sick or came up with some lame excuse.
But you know what, liars suck.
So I just said, sure, get at it.
I knew when she asked that if she felt like she could take the day away from her projects to go then she could. I’m confident that if she needs to stay late another night to get something done she will. This was important to her, so it was important to me.
And if you really want to know how productive or engaged your employees are – move, like we did recently. Watch the care and attention they give to packing your stuff and managing the chaos.
We’re lucky. We know that. We’re also strategic when it comes to finding the right people.
Hiring based on values is the key to finding the right staff. I refuse to spend my time and energy wondering if my team is up to no good. Gah, that would be exhausting and really frustrating. I want them to want to be a part of this thing we’re building. They need to care or they’re not the right fit – and we know that not everyone is the right fit.
We can train people to do a lot of things, but you just can’t train them to care.
So to answer my friend’s question . . . how do I deal with texting at work?
Well for starters, if I found myself concerned I’d dig deeper because there may just be a bigger issue there – either your trust or their commitment. And finally, unproductive employees will always find ways to be unproductive, regardless of the guidelines you put in place so hand pick your team and don’t settle for less.