It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My coworkers are terrible tippers
My office has recently transitioned to a system that allows employees to order lunch with a company stipend of $20. Unfortunately, some of my coworkers will spend almost every cent they have on food and tip as little as 75 cents. As the receptionist, it’s my job to receive deliveries, and I feel terrible getting orders that are only tipping 5%.
I’ve spoken to our COO, who set the price limit, asking that we put in a 10% automated tip, but she says that she does not think the company should dictate how we spend our stipend. I feel it’s unethical to tip so much lower than the accepted standard, and it has upset me to be tacitly endorsing it. Is this just something I should let go? Do I have any additional recourse?
You could send out a reminder that people should be tipping at least a few dollars on each delivery order (and perhaps mentioning that if your office becomes known for miserly tips, it will impact the service you all get), but beyond that, if the COO isn’t willing to require it, there’s probably not much else you can do, unfortunately. Your coworkers are being kind of terrible in this regard though.
2. Slacker coworkers may ruin remote work for the rest of us
I work at a large law firm that allows telecommuting for attorneys and paralegals (billers), but there is currently no telecommuting policy for any staff. Due to a recent move and a three-hour increase in commuting time (it didn’t look so bad on paper), I’ve been lobbying management to work from home for a couple of scheduled days a week. The position is ideal since 90-95% of my work requires me to be sitting in front of a computer anyway.
My direct manager and the office manager are both fine with the idea because I’m considered a “model” worker and have years of solid performance on record. The sticking point, however, boils down to the question, “What if a ‘mediocre’ worker in the same department asks to telecommute? What criteria can we point to in order to refuse them without creating friction in the office?”
I suppose it’s considered bad form to tell someone they’re a goof-off and can’t be trusted. Understandable. Finding arguments to allow someone to telecommute is easy, but reasons for refusing someone that particular perk (without the risk of being considered “mean”) seem harder to come up with.
It’s not really bad form to tell someone they’re a goof-off and can’t be trusted if that’s the case. I mean, you wouldn’t say it exactly like that, but your managers actually aren’t doing their jobs if they think that about a staff member but haven’t told the person.
Ideally, managers in your office should be comfortable saying, “I’d want to see sustained higher performance from you before considering a remote work arrangement.” Or, “Given the areas we’ve talked about you needing to improve in, I don’t think is the right time to have you work from home.” Or, “I’m willing to approve remote work for people with a long track record of outstanding performance, but I don’t think you’re there yet. I’d want to see you improve in XYZ first.” Managers should exercise that kind of judgment and should be transparent with people about it.
But if they want something more policy-like to point to, they could always decide that to be eligible for remote work, you have to have been with the company X amount of time and earned outstanding ratings on your last performance review, or something like that. I don’t prefer doing it that way because it takes away some independent judgment from managers and potentially limits them in ways that aren’t ideal, but if they really want objective criteria, that’s where I’d point them.
3. What to say in response to “I’m sorry” from employees
I’m in a supervisory position, managing student employees at an office on a college campus. I think my question applies to just about anyone, however.
When the student employees are late to work without notice, or fail to show up for a shift, most of the time they do apologize for their lapse in responsibility with a simple, “Sorry I’m late.” My problem is, I struggle with how to succinctly respond when the infraction doesn’t warrant a formal sit-down. If someone is ten minutes late to their shift, and they haven’t been late before, when they come in and say, “I’m sorry I’m late,” I don’t want to say, “It’s okay,” because it’s not really okay — they do need to be on time. But I don’t want to lecture them on their first or even second minor infraction: “I accept your apology, but please bear in mind that timekeeping is an important aspect of your job.”
As in the rest of life, when someone says “I’m sorry,” and it’s not “okay” but you want to convey that you recognize that they recognize they messed up, what’s the best thing to say? “Thank you for apologizing”? “I accept your apology”? Both seem kind of stilted to me.
With something like being 10 minutes late, I’m a fan of “Everything okay?” That signals that the lateness is noticed and it’s enough of a thing that you’re expressing concern, but without making it a Big Serious Conversation over 10 minutes. Of course, if it happens multiple times, then it actually is a more serious conversation (assuming precise punctuality really matters in their jobs — if it doesn’t, you should let it go because 10 minutes isn’t a big deal unless there’s a specific reason it’s a big deal). That serious conversation would be something like: “I’ve noticed you’ve been coming in late for your shifts. I actually need you to be here exactly on time because of ___. Can you do that going forward?”
But failing to show up for a shift altogether is a different thing. That shouldn’t be glossed over with an apology. You should treat that as a real infraction.
4. Filling out job applications for someone else
My boyfriend has a disability that makes it difficult for him to handwrite for any extended period of time. He can do it, but it can cause him pain or make it difficult to use his hands for some time afterward. He works in IT, so very rarely ever has to handwrite anything extensive.
He’s been job searching lately and a few places require applications to be filled out by hand. Just like I would normally do medical or other paperwork for him, I’ve been filling them out for him. I have pretty “girly” handwriting and if they do have him sign or date anything, they’ll likely notice the handwriting is different.
Is it really a bad idea for me to fill these out for him? If not for his disability, I wouldn’t, but I still don’t want him to look bad or lazy to employers. What are your thoughts?
Are they definitely requiring that these be filled out by hand? If it’s just the presence of a paper application that’s making you think that, it’s actually possible that the’d be fine with him typing his answers. (Assuming people don’t have typewriters anymore, he’d first need to scan it to get an electronic copy.)
But if they’re specifically saying “fill this out by hand” (which is weird), I’m worried that they care about it for some reason … in which case it’s not ideal to have it filled out by someone who’s obviously not him since they’ll wonder who filled it out and why. However, it’s not the kind of thing where reasonable employers would toss the application in outrage, and if they ask about it, he can explain that he has a disability that makes it painful to write by hand for any extended period.
5. Working for a company with no internet presence
I just made a move from a major metropolitan area to a small rural one. Everything about my job search has been really different (I’m in the mental health field) and as a result I’ve made many mistakes on the way. I had a really good interview with a company that I liked but there was one strange thing about them – – they don’t have a website and they have a very small internet presence. In this field this is highly unusual, and it’s also unusual for this area. It’s a busy clinic and the person I met with said they’ve never needed a website to get clients. My question is: I will likely be at this job for a few years and then probably move on to something else (hopefully back in said large metropolitan area). Will it hurt my job prospects later if I work somewhere with no internet presence?
Nah, probably not. Employers aren’t usually looking up candidates’ past companies online. As long as you have references they can reach, you should be fine. (If you ever needed to prove their existence, you could presumably do so through things like business cards, brochures, an advertisement, a reference in a local “best of” list, or so forth. It’s very, very unlikely you’ll need to use that stuff, but it won’t hurt to have it on hand.) Plus, you’ll be able to explain why they don’t have an internet presence, which is probably that they’ve built their business through word of mouth and referrals.
my coworkers are terrible tippers, slackers are ruining remote work for the rest of us, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.