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Throw away the clock

“Clocks are cheap. Good employees are not, so let's all step away from the clock and focus on performance, shall we?” That’s how Suzanne Lucas, more famous as the Evil HR Lady, opens her response to two readers who seek advice on punctuality in the workplace.

While many managers still manage by the clock, Lucas points out they should worry more about results than what time their employees came in or left. In many cases, however, managers keep a closer eye on the clock rather than the employees' output and results, she writes.

 “What is a bad thing is your employees not meeting their objectives and goals and not providing high customer satisfaction,” Lucas writes. “Face time should not matter. If John comes in at 8 and Harriet doesn't come in until 10, it shouldn't matter unless John and Harriet need to work together on a project, and then (because John and Harriet are grownups) we should let them figure it out.”

Follow the link above to read the Evil HR Lady's full response to the questions. Meanwhile, we'd like to ask you: Do you agree with Lucas? Have you encountered managers who worry more about face time than results? Does your job require you to be at your desk by a certain time, or do you have a more flexible schedule?

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Reader comments

Mon, Feb 6, 2012 Ocala, FL

Punctuality is just a word. I am 10 - 15 minutes late every day, but I always stay .5 to 1.5 hrs over. If need be, I will send projects home to work on it so they will be timely. Yet, I am continually harrassed by my supervisor, which is so childish; especially, when I see people sitting around running their mouths and socializing. I don't take breaks and usually work through lunch. It would take a minimum of 2 people to replace me. My manager in a previous agency didn't care what time I came in as long as I worked 8 hours, because I was such a splendid performer. These fools are going to push the matter and I am going to leave. There is not a person in the organization who knows how to compose and has perfect grammar skills, such as I. I have been writing, editing, and publishing for more than 20 years,which is a lost art; and people like me are extremely hard to find in our dumbed-down culture. But my skills are incredibly marketable. So, I would advise management to use flex time whenever possible to keep good employees. Timekeeping your employees is so petty and so antiquated. These people need to step into the 21st century, and get a reality check.

Mon, Feb 6, 2012

All Federal Jobs are work programs. Didn't you know that? You need to look into a mirror and see what about you matches those you work with, it's not by mistake that you're working with them at that job!

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 Barbara Kansas

I have worked for the Federal Government for 38+ years under all types of managers. Flex time is OK but I do think everyone should be at work for 8 1/2 hours with that 1/2 hr for lunch. Does it matter when we come in--yes it does if it is preceived that we am not working for 8 hours as that is what we am paid to do. This true for those on 10 hour days, work for 10 hours. I do not think many workers on 10 hr days really work for 10 hr. Yes, I continue to think "outside the 8 hours/box" but I am not required too.

Wed, Feb 1, 2012

I arrive at my office punctually as that is part of who I am, and my established work ethics. I stay late if the need arises, and often check my e-mail or complete projects at home, which is my personal choice. I have no problem with flexibility in the work place though all too frequently I see the realtionship between employees and superviosrs being abused. If you arrive two hours later than me, take an extended lunch and then leave the same time a I do, then I perceive that as an issue. We are governement workers, who are already being scutinized and criticized by our taxpayers - don't we feel we owe the people of America a little more dedication.

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 Dave K

Most worksites, much like our public school system, are still based on industrial age methods... Punctuality is damned important, because if you're not on "the line" when it starts in the morning, you'll screw up the whole assembly process. Information Age jobs, demanding creativity and thought rather than rote behavior, don't need to be organized for the factory floor...

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