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Many employees don’t spend a lot of
time under your watchful eye in the workplace, including sales representatives,
consultants, telecommuters and those who travel a lot on the job. Even
employees who work on-site might not be that easy to monitor all the time. As a
supervisor, you have several options for dealing with and tracking the
whereabouts and performance of your employees to make them accountable for
their time.

Monitor Hours Worked or Job Performance

Decide what you want from each
position in your company. Are you more interested in the number of hours an
employee is physically in your place of business, or are you more concerned
with the volume and quality of work being performed? Some managers feel they
need to see an employee to make sure he is busy. For example, if you manage a
store, you want to make sure you employees are helping customers when customers
are around, or arranging merchandise when customers aren’t around. In other
cases, however, you might be comfortable letting employees set their own
schedules as long as they are meeting their responsibilities in a timely
manner. If you manage a sales branch, you don’t want your people hanging around
the office when they should be out in the field drumming up business.

Employees Salaried or Commissioned?

Hourly employees can be asked to punch
a time clock, check in and out at a front desk, or submit a detailed work log
to account for the hours they work. Commissioned employees expect more leeway
in tracking their hours. They should be given this leeway provided their
performance goals are met. A commissioned employee’s paycheck is based on how
much revenue he generates for the company. As such, he might need more
flexibility in the hours he puts in to accommodate before- and after-hours
sales calls. You can make these employees accountable for their work by
establishing specific financial goals or sales quotas.

Work Stations

Managers can use commercial software
programs that let them track the time an employee spends on his computer,
whether he is telecommuting or working in an office environment. This not only
allows a manager to monitor the hours being worked. It also her track Internet
usage to ensure work time is not being spent on personal pursuits, such as
surfing the web, shopping, playing games or checking social media accounts.
Employees who misuse their work time can be reprimanded according to corporate
policy for conducting personal business on company time.

Recurring Bad Habits

If you have an employee who is often
away from his work station, or who fails to complete assigned tasks on time,
it’s time for a frank, one-on-one discussion. An employee cannot account for
his work time might be leaving work early, arriving late, or spending time on
non work-related activities. Meet with this person in private to discuss your
concerns. You might find the employee has a medical condition that requires
frequent restroom breaks, or one who tries to leave work for short periods to
check on a child or elderly parent. Once the issue is out in the open, you can
discuss solutions or actions. If the employee has a valid reason for being away
from work, consider a more flexible schedule or reduced work hours. If an
employee is ambivalent about his job or is just lazy, insist on hourly personal
check-ins and weekly time breakdowns that detail hours and work performed.
Revisit the issue at regular intervals to ensure work time continues to be
accounted for.