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I have been given a new role at work and I need to put together procedures

(28 Posts)
gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 18:31:19

The procedures are to stop 2 members of staff from bunking off.

Basically, we have 2 offices. One is where all the directors work and the other has 3 staff members. One is full time office based and the other 2 are out on client visits probably around 3/4 of the working week.

Usually what happens is that they make an appointment at 10 am and go straight there but that appointment may only be a 10 minute drive from home. Same at the back end of the day but leaving at 4. Or taking longer lunches etc.

I am being placed in the office to stamp down on this plus other issues.

The only thing I can think of at the moment is that staff must be in the office at 9 am for a daily meeting. None of our clients are based more than an hour away so this should be enforceable.

How can I work this at the tail end of the day? I know the guy who works with us usually sticks appointments in at 3 pm most days so he leaves shortly after lunch but works this in so he can collect his children from school!

Do you think timesheets would work?

I need to be firm but fair but stamp out all of the piss taking. I need to be clear from day one with no umming and ahhhing over my own procedures. I have got 3 weeks to word them and present to the directors.

Any thoughts?

BustersOfDoom Thu 13-Oct-11 19:10:35

Timesheets would be a start. Don't they record their hours at all at the moment? Are they supposed to work a set number of hours per day/week? How long does an average client visit last?

If the company operates flexi time then it wouldn't be unreasonable for someone to occasionally finish early to do the school run so long as they have or can make up the hours.

Also are they using their own cars or work owned ones? Do they claim expenses for the official journeys they make? How do they record mileage/expenses?

Where my OH works they have installed vehicle trackers on all official vehicles/vans. Whilst they have said this is in case they can be recovered more quickly if they have been stolen, all the staff have been told that they will be making random checks on the finishing times that staff have recorded on timesheets (particularly if working overtime) and vehicle location according to the tracker.

There's also the health & safety issue. Most organisation who have staff visiting off site should have procedures in place where they have to call in to say that they have finished the visit. Both mine and OH's employers expect this. Not foolproof I know, but both having to make a phone call and fill in a time sheet will make them decide whether to be truthful or dishonest and weigh up the consequences of being dishonest. And there needs to be consequences! At the moment as there are no procedures then they aren't having to make that decision.

Sorry - more questions that solutions there but it might give you some things to consider I hope.

said Thu 13-Oct-11 19:17:27

What would be the point of the daily meeting though? Why can't they go straight from home to visit clients? Would they have to go out of their way to come to the office first? I'd want serious justification for this as it's not very green at all. Are they underperforming or just using their time more efficiently? If underperforming, have they had appraisals about it?

said Thu 13-Oct-11 19:18:53

Do they work at home? Can you clarify why they actually need to be in the office?

HarrietJones Thu 13-Oct-11 19:21:38

We do time management spreadsheets in supervision.
Approx time spent travelling/visiting/paperwork for each client.

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:21:47

Thank you so much. This gives me more to think about.

They work 9-5 with no flexi time.

Average visit I'd say would be 40 minutes but if they instruct to act for them a further hour is needed.

They use their own cars but have a table of miles to each area to use for expenses. This is set by our accountants who also do our payroll.

They've basically for the last 3-4 years been left to it with no management in place so they're taking the piss with time keeping and probably with other things too but I have no proof.

Thanks again for responding. You have been really helpful.

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:25:07

OK. They work 9-5 like all other staff. No flexi. If they put a lead into the diary for 10 and say it is 10 minutes from home they probably don't leave home until 9.45 which means they are being paid for 45 minutes for sitting at home which isn't in their contract and isn't fair to other staff who are office based. They are taking advantage of being out with the office.

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:26:30

Other issues are finishing with a lead at say 12 noon but going straight to lunch and then having their 1-2 standard office set lunch hour too.

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:27:13

No, they don't work from home.

HarrietJones Thu 13-Oct-11 19:30:12

Is it possible to work flexi time in as a new change so they have to account for their hours ( and could have lunch at 12 if it worked like that)

said Thu 13-Oct-11 19:30:23

So, are they underperforming? Are there reports that aren't being written? Is there actually enough work to fill their hours?

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:40:48

This leads into all other sorts of things that need to be improved on!

There is enough to keep going but not to push them. The office based person is flat out and needs help and these 2 should be doing what they need to daily and then coming in to help out but they see it as admin and beneath them. The firm is struggling so it needs to be all hands on deck.

They are manipluating the diary.

So say an appointment at 10 which they go straight to.

It lasts until 10.40.

Their next appointment is at 12 so rather than coming back to the office which is doable, they just do what they like until the next appointment so ASDA, coffee, shopping etc. The 12 noon finishes at 12.40 ish and they then go to lunch.

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 19:42:20

It sure sounds like they are taking the mickey, but agree it sounds very ungreen to make them drive to the office to clock in at 9am then potentially drive off to a client for a 10am meeting almost immediately.

Don't you just have to come out and say directly that if they are going straight to meetings from home that early meetings can only be booked for 9am? on top of timesheets etc which seem fairly standard to me. So maybe a meeting time policy that states the possible slots for meetings to be booked and outwith those they are expected to return to the office to do whatever paperwork/team/admin tasks are required of them: say 9am, 10.30am-xxam (whatever the time would be that avoids an early finish for lunch), 2pm-4.20pm. (Does the further hour have to follow immediately after the first 40 minutes??? in which case maybe their last possible meeting slot should be3.20pm.)

If your employer gives no opportunity to be flexible about start/end/lunchtimes i'm not sure what the choice is tho... can they really not opt to have a 12-1pm lunch if a mrning meeting finishes early? does it actually benefit your clients /business to have flexibility about appointment times, might your business lose out by limiting it?

personally i think you have to be honest about the picking up kids thing not being possible any more - his family may well depend on it and some notice is usually required to rearrange childcare/finances. don't know if you can approach it in a non-specific way about personal errands not being part of restated official company policy and giving notice about when the changes are going to take place. they will bitch but at least you've been as human as possible about it. if nobody's questioned their attitude/behaviour for 4 years then they're hardly solely to blame for thinking it was allowed.

HarrietJones Thu 13-Oct-11 19:43:11

Could you 'shadow' to see how their day pans out? Do it unannounced so they don't manipulate the day?

Do you keep open diaries so you can see all appointments?

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 19:45:14

I am putting DS to bed so may not be back on this thread tonight but I really do appreciate any comments/thoughts. I need to tread carefully as the Directors are partly at fault for letting it get so far plus I am a mum too so do know how difficult it is with childcare etc. I am sympathetic but won't be made a mug of.

BustersOfDoom Thu 13-Oct-11 19:46:08

Introducing flexi time could be an option for visiting staff. said has a good point though, is there enough work so they have minimal downtime? If they can lose the best part of an hour at the start and end of most working days then it would suggest not.

Does the further hour get booked as a later appointment or do they do the additional work there and then? Do they have to keep time free in case the initial visit runs on by an hour?

Would it be possible for another member of the team to book visits to ensure that they are done for the convenience of the customer rather than the member of staff? Why aren't they booking visits for 9am? Has the client asked for a 10am or 3pm meeting or have they been told that is the only time available? Are people travelling further to visit clients when a different member of staff would be better placed to do so?

Green issues do need to be considered and it would make little sense to call people in for uneccessary meetings just to ensure they are starting work on time, but if they really are taking the piss then it may be what you have to do.

said Thu 13-Oct-11 19:51:10

It doesn't sound like there is enough work for them. But, I agree, if you are going to clampdown on the flexibility, you need to give notice. How long has it been this flexible because can't working terms and conditions become (can't remember the precise term) implied if they have been going on for x time? i.e. could they challenge this change? Could someone else book their appointments? I can't see a justification for coming into the office if easier to go straight from home.

said Thu 13-Oct-11 19:56:13

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/EmploymentContractsAndConditions/DG_10037109 This gives details about implied employment contracts which you might need to look at.

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 19:59:11

nb if they are resisting admin tasks you may need to revisit job descriptions (have they had any updated ones over the past 4 years?) to make it clear what is expected and also formalise it, so it then becomes a performance target.

is your persona bad cop or do you want to get them onside? what are the relative likelihoods and impacts of them to leave in a huff (is this possible given their situations/economic reality) or working on resentfully and causing trouble?

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 20:01:55

re said's point: would it be possible to formally revision this as a restructure, with new job titles and descriptions (as sounds as if you might be officially changing their implied job description anyway?), and with the possible option of redundancy if they don't want to play ball? not legal-minded but the financial impacts might be outweighed by having a new and non-resentful team.

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 20:05:00

i guess you could always call their bluff re implied contracts, by asking them as part of your departmental review what their usual working practices and hours have been, and minute and distribute what they say back to them. as you want to 'take stock before you get stuck into your role', sort of thing. might this then short-circuit the potential for them to legally resist changes - they may be unlikely to state formally that they've been bending the rules so widely.

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 20:05:30

wow this has really caught my imagination! smile hope it works out well for you gregs

I would think that revised job descriptions are the place to start. The thing is, that if they have a different job to the office staff then why should they muck in (will be how their thinking runs).

Seeing as it is such a small company, i think the directors need to be honest with them. You will likely find that skulduggery is unnecessary if they realise their jobs are in jeopardy.

How is this going to be presented to these two staff? In your position I would be wary of being stuck in the middle and painted the bad guy. What happens if you don't succeed in bringing them to heel?

gregssausageroll Thu 13-Oct-11 20:20:42

WOW Ladies. Thank you so much for all of this I really appreciate it. I have a lot to think about and it goes way beyong introducing timesheets! May be more than I am capable of doing - actually probably more than what I am capable of.

omaoma Thu 13-Oct-11 20:23:09

don't let the powers that be set you up as a fall-guy gregs. you sound really can-do and up for a challenge, v impressive to a professional coward like me but you do need the bosses to back you up.

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