As you can imagine, we subscribe to a fair few business information and news services. One of these is the weekly Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI in Australia) email which came into my inbox on 13 September with the headline:
My first thought was that simply asking that question or thinking that way is about five steps too far. When you review and measure the performance of your people, do you really still look at every minute worked as though that has some meaning, or do you look at outcomes, 360 degree feedback and the quality of work measured against organisational goals and customer delight?
There may be some workplaces where unscheduled or lengthy breaks may disrupt particular work processes, but if so, this is a performance issue that can be tested against results. But these workplaces are the clear exceptions, not the rules.
If your mind is firmly fixed in the toilet and you are worried about work time spent there, then maybe try more innovative solutions than timing breaks and disciplinary action. Toilets are excellent places to post news and communications. The Body Shop HQ had graffiti walls in the toilets. It’s not a bad place for posting notes with suggestions and innovations. At least that way, toilet breaks can be productive for work as well as personally!
I should be staggered beyond belief that there are people masquerading as managers who still think this way in 21st century business. This approach to the relationship with your people is a clear pointer to lack of future success. If you aren’t engaging your people with their work enough to stop this “problem” before it even starts, you haven’t created an aligned organisation with shared values and clear goals. You will have high staff turnover and lose the value of your people. You will contribute to the 60+% of the global workforce who are unhappy and unmotivated at work.
Unfortunately, I’m not staggered beyond belief. We see this situation way too often in organisations where leaders still haven’t learnt the importance of trust and respect, shared values and focus on delighting the customer. It is amazing that these approaches still need to receive serious coverage from important employer bodies like VECCI.
For those who are interested, here is the full blog post with comments.