Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers/What to do when your employee chats on computer?
Yesterday I could see that one of my staff chatted on her computer, apparently with her son.
I found it very irritating, but was not sure what to do in this case. Should I send her an email to warn?
Many thanks for writing.
I've had this type of question before, so you're in good company.
Here's the deal. You have to decide which is most important: Whether your employees get their work done, or whether they just fill their time.
In the traditional organization where employees had jobs for life, filling time was more important than productivity. And that approach was accepted by that generation; largely baby-boomers.
But, in the mid-1980s, that all changed. Employers decided that they couldn't give their employees jobs for life. The famous "psychological contract" was broken forever.
Generation X, the children of the baby-boomers learned that employers couldn't be trusted. As a result, a culture developed, first with them and later, through the magic of internet, into an entire workforce of people who stressed getting the job done, rather than how long it took them to do it.
So, at the end of the day, you really have to decide which of the two you want.
Now I can hear you thinking already: Why can't I have both? The short answer is that you can. You can send a warning; but the risk, and it's a real one, is that the employee will remember that you value her time more than what she does. In a word, she'll feel devalued. And that will be the thin edge of the wedge.
By that, I mean, the she will begin to feel dissatisfaction at work. Productivity could actual go down, and you may lose her altogether when the economy improves.
Remember the culture: Employers can't be trusted. That means, I have to look at for me.
I hope this helps. Feel free to write back if you wish.