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Thread: Departmental policies regarding attendance

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    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Departmental policies regarding attendance

    What are your departmental policies regarding attendance? Coming in late? Leaving early? Not using the sign-out board? Disappearing for hours? Calling out at the last minute?

    I have a more relaxed philosophy about such matters as long as all the works gets done and gets done well and on time. The problem is how do you respond to such issues when the work isn't getting done? Is it a matter of lack of motivation? Bad apples? Stan-hood?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post

    I have a more relaxed philosophy about such matters as long as all the works gets done and gets done well and on time. The problem is how do you respond to such issues when the work isn't getting done? Is it a matter of lack of motivation? Bad apples? Stan-hood?
    Tough one. Such behaviors IME are indicative of something that is among a set of several different things. Some can act together, such as home problems, lack of motivation, too much stress/workload and some may be exclusive, such as depression. But something is wrong with the employee(s) when this is happening. You may not be able to fix the underlying issues, but you have to get the behavior under control because guaranteed everyone notices and there is talking going on. Don't let it fester. The work has to get done and the bad behavior has to stop. If the behavior is happening perhaps because of added workload due to staffing, you can make lemonade out of this when revenues turn around. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Have a staff meting to discuss the issue. State the pros and cons of punctuality, let the others chime in. I had one manager adament on getting there on time, but he could care less if you left early. Another manager was the opposite. She just wanted the work done on time. You can always fall back on the policy for the entire organization, not just your department. I would be concerned about how those in other departments react--giving yours a bad name. If it gets bad you can strictly enforce comp time rules.

    Personally, be there on time except for very rare situations. It is the American way. Once a month I visit a chiropractor (conveniently arranged for Friday afternoons). Recently on the way out there was the "do you take off early every Friday" comment. I said "No, but I get to attend every council and commission meeting."

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Dandy, I'm having a similar experience and I'm finding that I may have let it go on too long. I also want to treat everybody as I would want to be treated. Now it's being abused. I only have a couple of "recalcitrants" but they see the "privileges" I have afforded them of being treated as an adult as a right in spite of not reciprocating. I had to have several verbals with them, then writtens and just recently suspended one w/o pay. I am not confident that the behavior will be appropriately amended upon the one individuals return. I'm hoping the other one will see what happened to the first one and amend themselves accordingly. I'm not confident of that either.

    So, now I'm the tyrant. Frankly, I should have been a little more "tyrannical" from the start. Now I'm having to set boundaries and take disciplinary action. I hate it. Why can't they act like the adults they are? I was rather hoping that the current economy would evidence enough for them that maybe they might want to better "tow the line." Not! I actually had to take action. They don't figure it out for themselves. Most do, but not all.

    I sympathize with you and can only suggest that you will probably have to take a similar approach. In my case, not doing so was not an option. My leadership was being questioned by my boss and electeds because I appeared to be letting it continue. While I thought I was addressing it, behavior wasn't changing and it was being noticed. I had let it go so far that I had to address it below me as well as above me. Discipline is the toughest thing I've had to do as a PD but I've finally realized that there are some whose self-disipline isn't quite good enough.

  5. #5
    We work fairly independently in our office and all are project managers for one or more projects, so it's always been about the work and getting it done.

    With that said, I think coming in to work on time (which is really like an hour window for us) is more important than leaving early or stepping out for a while.

    Communication is important, letting people know how long you'll be gone, or if anything comes up that throws your schedule off balance.

    I think it just comes down to common sense and maturity. Of course, if you have a bunch of young people in the office, that could be lacking and thus be in the need of more discipline.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post

    I think it just comes down to common sense and maturity. Of course, if you have a bunch of young people in the office, that could be lacking and thus be in the need of more discipline.
    Sadly we have mostly lifers whose common sense and maturity may have burned out long agon.

    I agree that people that flagrantly abuse the system need to be reprimanded but as a supervisor you do risk the tyrant label.


    For a cash strapped city, what carrots or rewards can be used to motivate employees or reward good attendance/behavior?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    For a cash strapped city, what carrots or rewards can be used to motivate employees or reward good attendance/behavior?
    As you aren't the only cash strapped entity right now, not getting hit with a stick seems like it should be a really big carrot. It seems that some people just don't get that getting a new job just isn't that easy right now, or maybe they're just in a different situation that me.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    coming out swinging, are we?

    from our Personnel Policy:

    Employees shall be at their respective places of work in accordance with the general or departmental regulations pertaining to the hours of work. All Department Heads shall insure that each employee is aware of regular work hours for their respective groups and shall keep daily attendance records and furnish them to the Finance Director at least every two weeks. Persons arriving before the designated hour for work to begin shall be allowed on premises but shall not receive compensation for this time, unless previously authorized.
    non-salaried employees (everyone but us Department heads) uses a time clock, if you can believe it - I personally/professionally think it's demeaning in a professional office, but I guess there is bad history whereby the time clock was brought in some years before I got here - so I know when employees are coming and going by their time sheet.

    for the staff planner, I do allow him to use what would be overtime pay hours to be comp hours in the same 2 week pay period, so that allows him to RJ out on a Friday or come in late on a Monday so he can have a life - it's a win win because I have a specified in the budget number of overtime hours he can use so if I am getting over on it in a month (I get monthly accounting from our Fiance Director, hint hint) , I can encourage him to RJ a little more so I don't go over budget

    in general, both the staff planner and the office assistant need to be during work hours because part of their job description (hint hint) is that they are available to meet and greet the public during regular business hours. so if an employee is coming in late nad leaving early, it can be seen as a violation of the job description

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Our policy sounds a lot like LP's, so I won't quote it. But we are a much larger entity, so several people have learned how to get around the rules. My last manager didn't have the balls to deal with continued flagrant attendence rule-breaking, and it has cost him a bundle. He gets no respect, 'cause he hasn't earned it, and his bosses think he can't get the job done, and are hounding him. If he'd dealt with the attendence and the resulting shoddy work results back when it first appeared, he woldn't be in this boat. I left that section because of the RIF, and now he's stuck with poor performers and he still can't seem to take action.

    Current manager allows a smidge of leeway, but she also expects us to act like adults. We have a 15 minute window on arrival, more than that has to be made up somehow. We do have flex work schedule, to a certain extent, but it's not flexible every day. For example, you can work 4 10-hour days a week, with the same day off every week. Or you can do a 9-day schedule with the same day off every-other week. The hours worked must be the same. It's not flexible where each day is whenever you feel like it.

    I agree that in these tight economic times, it's hard to find good carrots. How about the chance to leave early on a Friday/the day before a holiday weekend? Or a random night meeting off? Maybe offer a free lunch? Or something that is more emotional rather than financial? Continued good will should be worth something, but not all employees "get" that.

    I don't have much more on that right now. I'll ask around, see what some of the good workers think would be good carrots.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  10. #10
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Perhaps I am not reading this correctly but what is the problem with just flat-out telling employees they are expected to be there for the normal work hours and if they are late three times they are let go?

    We have evening meeting comp time that allows me to take off early every so often or bring the dog to the vet if necessary but consistently showing up late would not be tolerated.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    My previous employer expected us to generally be there on time, but arriving anytime between 7 and 8 was tolerated, so long as you put in your hours. To get credit for attendance all we did was sign in in the morning. We were allowed to "sign in" for the day, stay for an hour, and leave every ONCE in a while--this was how they were able to give us back night meeting time, if we needed it, for dr's appointments and such. For me it was a nice way to fly home once in a while without using a ton of leave.

    My current employer offers several different schedules so people arrive between 5 and 8 each day. As long as we're there from 9 to 3 and put in 8 or 9 hours, depending on our schedule of choice, they're fine. We sign in and out, not during the day but morning and night, because of a few "problem" employees who work there (ok, one problem employee--who still doesn't work as much as he/she gets paid for!).

    I don't love the system where I am now but I'm still adjusting to it. They've all been flexible in different ways, so I just try to look on the bright side of each one.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    At a previous big city job, we were required to put in 35 hours per week. Arrival was between o'dark:30 and 9:30 am. A sign-in sheet in the hallway, with a clock above it, was the daily log.
    Previously I might have posted about an admin whose behavior inspired everyone signing a pledge, "I will not bring a weapon to the office." At one point her supervisor would drop by the log at 9:30 am, and draw a line across it.
    People would commence daily departures around 3 pm, depending on when they'd arrived. I am not recalling any structure to site visits, but I recall telling various folks that I'd be stepping out to go review my cases. (It was that or sit there all day checking my personal e-mail. Others played solitaire or on-line games.)

    Seems like your department (jurisdiction?) needs a policy to address this continuing issue. Draft it, run it past the powers that be, then have a staff meeting to explain and discuss it.

    I've worked in lots of different places. Bringing the issue to the staffer's attention (the daily log line, above) is a first step. This could be followed by sending the person a message about it, with a "recipient has read this" option. Then a discussion. Could be a general performance review, combined with the work isn't getting done, could be a special meeting. Escalate from there.

    In the private sector, attendance and other issues are presumed to be learned by osmosis. At my recent job, with the OCD fellow monitoring what I wore and when I'd arrive and leave, then reporting to my remote boss, I'd hear about "things" within a day, if not hours. Sometimes management gives no leeway at all. ("The client doesn't like what you said today. Clean out your desk.")

    HTH

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    At my recent job, with the OCD fellow monitoring what I wore and when I'd arrive and leave
    Wow, Veloise ... sounds like someone I once worked with ...

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gatrgal93 View post
    Wow, Veloise ... sounds like someone I once worked with ...
    He's been on my mind lately, what with a siting at the entrance to the hypermart. 7:30 pm, so he'd have left the office about 7. Not that there is now any work for him; during my 3-1/2 years he spent much time surfing for photos of Dale Ernhardt. (He was staring at his shoes as he walked, not looking around, and I had my coat hood on.)

    Seriously, he was in charge of a different department, but busied himself watching me. I'd sometimes catch him standing at the end of the filing cabinets 25' away, peering towards my office door to see what I was wearing. If something displeased him, he'd make a comment to his admin, knowing that she and I were sociable.

    Some folks need to retire before they log 30 years at a place. There is much, much more.

    Back to the attendance policy; sorry Dandy!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bim View post

    So, now I'm the tyrant. Frankly, I should have been a little more "tyrannical" from the start. Now I'm having to set boundaries and take disciplinary action. I hate it. Why can't they act like the adults they are? I was rather hoping that the current economy would evidence enough for them that maybe they might want to better "to[e] the line." Not! I actually had to take action. They don't figure it out for themselves. Most do, but not all.

    I sympathize with you and can only suggest that you will probably have to take a similar approach. In my case, not doing so was not an option. My leadership was being questioned by my boss and electeds because I appeared to be letting it continue. While I thought I was addressing it, behavior wasn't changing and it was being noticed. I had let it go so far that I had to address it below me as well as above me. Discipline is the toughest thing I've had to do as a PD but I've finally realized that there are some whose self-disipline isn't quite good enough.
    This was the underlying tone of my comment above.

    IME there is a subset(s) of adults out there in any office who don't act like adults. It doesn't matter what profession. And being the nice guy/gal doesn't work either - rather, firm but fair works. IME. And the subset that doesn't like it isn't going to like whatever the boss does, so who cares whether they like your actions or not. Set the expectations and follow through - that is more than half of the respect game. And it is all a game.

    The other issue might be the underlying environment in your office - the way the place runs overall. It might be fostering this situation, might be...enabling or causing...the behavior.

    Regardless, steel yourself and do it because it likely won't go away on its own. This basic fact has lots of implications scaling up to larger groups and society in general, but that is another topic.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by Tresmo View post
    My previous employer expected us to generally be there on time, but arriving anytime between 7 and 8 was tolerated, so long as you put in your hours. To get credit for attendance all we did was sign in in the morning. We were allowed to "sign in" for the day, stay for an hour, and leave every ONCE in a while--this was how they were able to give us back night meeting time, if we needed it, for dr's appointments and such. For me it was a nice way to fly home once in a while without using a ton of leave.

    My current employer offers several different schedules so people arrive between 5 and 8 each day. As long as we're there from 9 to 3 and put in 8 or 9 hours, depending on our schedule of choice, they're fine. We sign in and out, not during the day but morning and night, because of a few "problem" employees who work there (ok, one problem employee--who still doesn't work as much as he/she gets paid for!).

    I don't love the system where I am now but I'm still adjusting to it. They've all been flexible in different ways, so I just try to look on the bright side of each one.
    1) That early?
    2) What is this about sign-in sheets? Is this just public or private firms? I dunno to me that seems demeaning and almost kindergartenish.
    I'm used to a policy of come in, do your work, it's all good.
    Having a sign in, for adults?
    Come on.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by surfer1280 View post
    1)
    2) What is this about sign-in sheets? Is this just public or private firms? I dunno to me that seems demeaning and almost kindergartenish.
    Well, when you have an organization with lots of people coming in and out it could be valuable. We have a sign-in sheet at my private sector office. It works as a back up to our timecards to verify we were actually here (as well as avoid complicated state employee pay laws). Basically it acts like a check to the "honor" system of our timecard. Things may seem "kindergartenish" but you would be surprised how many people take advantage of the honor system. It may not be you, or your friends, but they are out there, in every organization.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    I have always lived by what I call the 15 minute rule. When I was a fledging planner and worked by the clock -- boy was that a long time ago --, I would always be at my desk at least 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there and never left until 15 minutes after I was allowed to leave -- basically working a 7:45 am to 5:15 day at a minimum.

    You will be surprised to find out that you are generally the first worker bee type to be at their desk and likely the last one to leave. I quickly found that management staff was always impressed by even 15 minutes on either side of the day because that was more likely to be their schedule as well.

    I have told all of my kids as they have got jobs -- particularly now that some of them are out of school and in career jobs -- that the 15 minute rule is the quickest way to making yourself invaluable.

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