Clock Watching

Time clock management, it’s one of the least desirable jobs as an office manager.  Fortunately most team members understand the importance of clocking in and out responsibly.  Unfortunately, there are always those who frequently forget to do one or both and leave Post It notes all over our desks and computers asking us to correct their time.  Correcting time is an easy enough task.  It’s the other part of time clock management that most office managers hate: clock watching.

A fellow office manager once spoke of a team member who drove to work with her child in the back seat, ran into the office to clock in and then left only to return twenty minutes later.  Her excuse?  She did not want to get in trouble for not clocking in on time, and she needed the time.  So she ran by the office first and then took her child to daycare.  Is this acceptable?  Of course not.  It is not only time clock abuse, it is theft.  If the team is not actively working or learning then they should not be getting paid as if they were.

How do we as office managers address this sensitive subject?  The most effective way is to have a clear and concise office policy manual that includes time clock responsibilities and the expectation of punctuality and the consequences for riding the clock.  This office policy manual should be given to all new team members with an acknowledgement form that is signed and kept in their employee file.  It’s also a good idea to review the policy manual annually to add, modify or delete job descriptions, office policies, and mission statements.

Having this as part of the team’s records gives the office manager a tool to use when and if disciplinary actions are called for, as in the case above.  Although time clock management may not currently be an issue for your team, address this issue in your office policy manual to avoid it ever becoming a problem.