A reader writes:
I personal a enterprise and have seen just lately that my receptionist, Lisa, has been going to the lavatory at actually inconvenient — and suspicious — occasions. We now have folks coming in by appointment, and particularly within the final a number of weeks, she has gotten as much as go to the lavatory proper earlier than a tough buyer is scheduled to come back in, or proper earlier than she’d must have a tough dialog (as an example, accumulating no-show appointment charges), or when somebody has to make one other appointment however the particular person they should make an appointment with is fairly solidly booked — typically even when the telephone rings and the caller ID reveals somebody that I’ve purpose to assume she doesn’t need to take care of. She makes positive to announce that she can not wait any longer to make use of the lavatory. This leaves my back-end particular person to select up the slack, which is interfering together with his job duties.
Lisa already works shortened hours so she may be residence when her children get residence from college, so my back-end particular person and I are already choosing up some additional work and attempting to slot in our jobs in fewer hours (which we each knew once I employed her), and that is placing extra pressure on us.
Every part in your website says you can’t police somebody’s lavatory habits, which I completely agree with. Lisa isn’t going to the lavatory an extreme variety of occasions, or for lengthy durations of time, simply at actually inconvenient occasions that looks like she’s skipping out on the laborious components of the job.
I’ve had the dialog a number of occasions about wanting on the schedule earlier than doing issues like going to lunch, or getting a snack, or grabbing extra envelopes from the storage room, or no matter. Is that this a “identify the sample dialog”? How do I deliver this up with out sounding like I’m policing her lavatory habits? And if she says that she will be able to’t change this sample, do I simply must drop it and put these items on the back-end worker and myself? I don’t need to be “that boss,” however come on!
Yeah, that feels like a sample. It’s not about policing her lavatory habits; it’s that she seems to be intentionally avoiding the much less fascinating components of her job.
In fact — and that is vital — that assumes the duties Lisa needs to keep away from are occasional sufficient that the sample of avoidance is clear. If, although, her job has her coping with tough prospects all day lengthy, after all she would find yourself being away from the desk for a few of them, as a result of she has regular human lavatory wants. However for the remainder of this reply, I’m going to imagine that’s not the case.
A technique you may have the ability to handle it’s by speaking to Lisa every morning and naming something you need her to make sure you be accessible for that day — like, “Are you able to ensure you’re accessible at your desk at two particular occasions right this moment: first when Tangerina Stewpot is available in at 11 since she typically has questions, in addition to at 12:15 when Apollo Mongoose checks out so you possibly can flag the late charges he has gathered?”
However that feels like that may solely get at components of the issue; it received’t handle the ducking out when she sees a selected particular person on the Caller ID, for instance.
So it’s okay to handle the sample itself. You could possibly say one thing like: “I’ve seen you’re taking your breaks proper as a tough job is arising — like proper as a tough buyer calls or is scheduled to come back in, or whenever you’d must have a tough dialog like X or Y. In fact you possibly can’t be glued to your desk all day, but it surely’s taking place incessantly sufficient that the sample considerations me. So I wished to speak about what would clear up it. One choice is that we may take a look at the day’s schedule every morning and ensure we’re aligned on which appointments you need to be sure to be accessible on the desk for. I additionally questioned when you’d like extra assist with find out how to deal with a few of these tough conversations in order that they begin to really feel simpler, or if there’s one thing else happening that’s making you uneasy about these duties.”
The thought with this dialog isn’t essentially to provide you with a foolproof plan that may clear up 100% of the issue, however being candid about what you’re seeing may go a great distance towards altering issues. And if there is context that higher explains what Lisa is doing (like if she does want extra coaching, or if Apollo Mongoose handled her horribly final time he was in, or there’s a medical factor in play), this creates a chance for her to boost it.
You requested what to do if she says she will be able to’t change the sample. There’s a superb probability that this dialog will change issues, but when she says she will be able to’t, attempt implementing a few of these options your self: give her extra coaching on robust buyer interactions (together with role-playing a few of them and likewise letting her observe you dealing with them) and begin doing that every day schedule-aligning. If there’s nonetheless no change and the avoidance sample is unmistakeable, then you definately’d want to take a look at whether or not she’s effectively fitted to the job, particularly together along with her already shortened hours — however hopefully this will steer issues away from that time.