Prevent Employee Time Theft

Key Points

  • Employee time theft - that is, tending to nonworking matters while "on the clock" - lessens productivity and results in increased costs for the employer. However, employers should recognize that sometimes employees need a break, and often a quick check of a social media site may actually lead to higher overall productivity.
  • Employers should identify employee triggers and guard against common temptations, such as Cyber Monday, March Madness or the availability of fantasy sports leagues. Employers should develop and enforce policies and work rules to address time theft and "cyber-slacking." Relevant policies may address surveillance, internet use and gambling.
  • Employers should communicate with employees regarding their expectations, productivity goals and workplace rules. When necessary, employers should discipline employees engaging in time theft fairly and consistently according to workplace rules, policies and procedures. Failing to enforce disciplinary rules may lead to lower employee morale and increased turnover, resulting in even higher employer losses.

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