Your colleague is late in the mornings.
- 3 hours last week.
- 2 hours yesterday.
- 1 hour today.
- You are counting. It is causing you stress.
Feelings about the situation can build up over time – such as: resentment, frustration, anger, irritation, confusion, and jealousy.
These feelings are certainly not a good way to start the day. You have work to accomplish, and who needs this emotional clutter to clog up important thoughts and creativity?
Negative thoughts and feelings can deplete your happiness, and distract you from what is really important. Sometimes a change in perspective is all you need to achieve a new clarity.
Step 1: Stop SLUDGE!
Sludge (as described by the creators of ROWE) is a powerful barrier to a productive workplace. It is how others judge/shame people for how they spend their time when they are at work (or not at work). Sludge can take the form of thoughts, comments, jokes, and/or glares. Sludge reinforces the antiquated idea that – if you are not at your office desk, then you must be “goofing off”, and not completing work.
SLUDGE comments/thoughts about a “late person”:
- “She must be so happy and relaxed since she gets to come in late every day. Why do I have to be stressed rushing around to get here on time?”
- “I bet she had a nice golf game before work”.
- “Must be nice for some people to get away with coming in late. Nobody is noticing that she strolls in at different times (except me that is).”
- “Maybe they DO see her coming in late, but no one gives her crap.”
- “She is just a lazy person. It’s important for me to be on time. I guess working isn’t as important to her.”
- “I bet I would get in trouble if I came in late. Why should she get preferential treatment?”
- “She is not pulling her weight. Her work must not be getting done, since she is not coming in on time.”
If your company has adopted a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), sludge becomes naturally eliminated. ROWE concentrates on the work getting done – not where the work gets done. However, for those that don’t work in a ROWE, negative thoughts and attitudes must be dealt with. How can anyone be creative, and/or strategic when all of this “sludge” is clouding up important details of the day?
Step 2: The reality check
This is the time to think about your colleagues “lateness”, and some alternative possibilities to the situation.
Maybe your “late” colleague:
- Is coming in late, others see it, and don’t care.
- Is getting away with coming in late, and no one is noticing except for you.
- Is not getting her work done.
- Works at home before you even get up.
- Works on her smartphone while she is at her daughters soccer practice.
- Has been working hard her whole life, and is the opposite of lazy. Perhaps, lately she has some personal matters that need attending to.
- Has been dealing with personal matters, AND getting her work done.
- Has informed her superiors that she will be late on occasion due to a personal matter, and they understand.
- Doesn’t NEED to tell you why she is coming in late on occasion.
Step 3: Re-write your story!
It is time to change your “stress” story so that you can carry on with your life, your job, and reduce your anger/resentment directed at your colleague.
Your story re-write:
It is quite possible that your colleague is coming in late, no one notices, and she is not getting her work done. If this is true, you really can’t do much about it, and you can’t have control over the situation. It may bother you, but have faith that it will be taken care of – not by you. You have too many things on your plate to be concerned with her possible shortcomings.
You do have control over the work that you produce, and that is important. Simply, as long as your work is getting done, and the people around you are happy with your work then that is all you need to worry about.
Easier said than done?
Yes, you may be dealing with a range of emotions surrounding your colleagues “lateness”, but the reality is you don’t know if she is dealing with an acute personal issue and/or she is working equally hard outside of the office.
It’s quite possible that if there are extenuating circumstances, there have been discussions with superiors. As well, your “late” colleague doesn’t have an obligation to fill you in on all the details.
Finally, remember that as humans we are fragile creatures. You have no idea what flexibility you may need in the future. At times life throws us a curve-ball. Wouldn’t it be great if your superiors and/or colleagues just trusted you to deal with your life, but also trusted you to still work hard as you always have – even if they don’t see you at your desk?
Note – the first-ever ROWE certification workshop in Canada is being held this June – find out more HERE to certify your organization.
If you liked this blog – check out these:
Worst Employee Ever
Work Sucks! Five Critical Learnings about Going ROWE!
Scrap Your Work From Home Policy
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