Managing Workplace Socializing

By Sylvia Melena, M.A.
 
Employees Talking_Med
If you’re concerned that your employees are wasting time chit chatting, checking their cell phones, taking long breaks, or watching the clock before the end of their shift, it’s time take a long and hard look at what’s really going on.
 
It may be tempting to force employees into compliance by installing surveillance cameras and intensifying monitoring activities. Unfortunately, these enforcement measures will not get to the root of the problem and may in the long run exacerbate it.
 
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that monitoring is not an essential part of effective management.  As a matter of fact, it is.  However, monitoring alone may not be the fix.  What’s more, you may not even need a fix.
 
Not all workplace socializing is necessarily bad.  The real question is whether this workplace behavior is having a negative impact on your operations.
 
For instance, if your employees achieve high productivity levels and your company produces excellent results, then the chit chatting could be an indication of a cohesive and engaged team and may even be contributing to that cohesion.   On the other hand, if productivity levels are low and your workforce is yielding lackluster results, then you may have a bigger issue under the surface, which will require more than extensive monitoring to fix.
 
The only way you will get to the root of the problem is to conduct a thorough and systematic assessment.
 
There are a variety of issues that can impact workplace productivity and performance, such as undeveloped leadership, unclear expectations, absence of accountability, inadequate recognition, lack of tools and resources, unsupportive company culture, and many more.  However, without an accurate assessment of your organization’s specific situation, you will neither be able to uncover the key issues nor develop effective, targeted strategies to improve productivity and performance.
 
Thus, if you are concerned about the socializing your employees are displaying, you may want to take the time to objectively evaluate the actual impact on individual and company performance before moving forward with corrective action. While it may be tempting to intensify monitoring and compliance activities, please consider the type of environment this may create and the effect if could have on your company’s performance.
 
 

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