Believe it or not, I often coach with individuals who are in conflict over time. No, not what you might think—not enough time, pending deadlines or overwhelming demands on their time. Rather, the conflict stems from clock watching. In other words…
“If I don’t see you, then you’re not working.”
This statement, shared with me by a supervisor is yes, a little dated. In today’s society, everyone is working around the clock thanks to technology that puts us smack dab in a virtual society at all hours. There is also the growing trend and demand for virtual workspaces.
Many Fortune 500 companies have adopted this practice of floating office spaces, work-from-home and flex schedules.
While there are still many roles that require employees to be onsite from eight to five, there are probably twice as many that don’t. This is where conflict can arise. Therefore it’s imperative that you make yourself available and accountable so others don’t question your efforts.
“Seeing that you’re, essentially, without a boss when you’re working from home, you’re going to need to take the initiative to “manage up” and ensure that you and your superiors (and subordinates, for that matter) are on the same page as you are on a daily, maybe even hourly, basis. Don’t be afraid to check in on the happenings of the office as you would if you were physically there.” – Payscale
When you’re not physically in the office, it’s harder to gauge what, when and how you’re doing your job, so communicate with your boss and team members clearly and frequently to ensure everything is getting taken care of in a timely and efficient manner.
Whether generational expectations or simply work style differences around time and accountability, clock watching will create conflict.
To help you avoid the clock watching conflict, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you are the ‘clock watcher,’ be warned: this ‘passive-aggressive’ behavior can tarnish your career reputation. Consistently monitoring everyone else’s schedule beckons the question, “Don’t you have enough to do?”
- Flexible work schedules empower people to have autonomy and while they are still expected to be accountable for their work, employees are more likely to be loyal, productive colleagues when treated like adults and not children.
- If you’re consistently absent and others can’t find you or don’t know what your schedule looks like, this can be a problem. Stick to a routine so that you cannot only manage your own time thoughtfully but others will see you’re present and reachable when you are supposed to be.
- If your schedule is blank and you’re nowhere to be found, this can lead to trouble. To avoid this, use a shared calendar system to communicate your whereabouts. Every hour should be accounted for including remote work, at the office, in meetings, lunch, medical appointments, open door, virtual meetings, planning time, etc.
How To Be Career Happy? Don’t Let Time Creating Conflict