When is it appropriate for office staff to text, web-surf and Facebook?
As many of you know, I recently turned 50. The technology of today presents challenges that no one would have thought of in the 1980s because the technology of today didn’t exist back then. The Internet did not first become widely available to the public until AOL started offering dial-up access in 1992.
With so many methods to connect with friends and family today, it is sometimes difficult to manage the theft of time. If an office employee were to randomly walk to the supply cabinet and grab a few reams of paper, a handful of pencils and a package of Post-It notes and walk out the front door in front of you, you would clearly know that you are being ripped off.
Let’s say the value of those supplies is $20. If you have an office clerk that makes $14 an hour, it would take about an hour and a half a week to amount to the same theft value as the office supplies. That is a little more than 15 minutes a day of unauthorized texting, use of social media and addressing personal emails. Over the course of a year, this same 15 minutes a day is robbing you of $1,040 in a year, and that’s on the low side.
But, how do you control it? You can’t! Because, employees in our business are directed to post things on Facebook and of course you have to read Facebook to answer questions posed on our wall. Employees frequently send text messages to drivers with updates for their trips or messages that must be delivered right away.
If you really wanted to control it, you could put a “key-tracker” on a keyboard for about $20 and go check to see everything your employee is typing in a day. You could give all employees that need to text a company issued cell phone and tell them that is the only phone they can use while on the clock. A random check of my friends that own businesses and work in business offices say the general rule is — no personal phone usage during work hours. Employees who work as food servers or in grocery stores are not even allowed to have their cell phones on their person while at work.
In this business, you just can’t impose such a rule, so you have to just throw your hands up in the air and watch those dollars fly out the window.
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