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Employee Time Theft: The Samurai Way to Stop It

“I’m working on it and I will send it to you soon.”

“Oh, it slipped my mind!”

“I’ll start working on that within a few minutes.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t have enough time to do that.”

You’ve probably heard at least some of these statements from one or two of your employees. Unfortunately, no matter how kind and reasonable you might be, there will be people in the office who will not be honest about their work.

Many scenarios play out in managers’ minds when they’re thinking of how they’d deal with this situation. Perhaps, this could be the best time to bring out your Hattori Hanzo katana and slice the hell out of your employee’s desk as if you were on a Fruit Ninja frenzy. Finish the job by saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Unfortunately, you are not above the law and you might get sanctioned if you do this. Also, you wouldn’t want to be branded a sociopath in the office. Is there any other way around this problem? Can you motivate your employees to work honestly without causing bloodshed? Well, you can try the Samurai way to stop them from procrastinating or acting lazy at work. In this way, you can deal with them honorably while fulfilling your Japanese action movie fantasies.

How to Deal with Dishonest Employees the Samurai Way

Honestly, these days, there is limited use for sword-wielding warriors. That said, the way of the Samurai—also known as Bushido—never fails to help individuals live a balanced life. Of course, these Samurai principles can also be applied to the workplace. Now, Bushido deals with eight values, but among them, rectitude or justice is the most vital. 

The Samurai way of dealing with lazy employees does not involve seeing red or turning desks over.

You need to use your power to make a decision based on reason. So, how do you make a fair decision? Well, we suggest that you use a time tracking app like Traqq. If you study the history of time tracking, you will know how the system has provided benefits for individual employee performance.

Reliable task monitoring apps have been known to help organizations understand their productivity. For instance, Traqq offers transparent and accurate timesheet reports that feature clear work time statistics. So, it can help you identify weak points and set more reasonable deadlines for your employees.

Understanding Why People Procrastinate or Lie About Their Work

Aside from justice, compassion is also an important part of the way of the Samurai. You will look like a heartless robot when you deliver justice to your employees without understanding their side. In some cases, people do not procrastinate just for the fun they get out of it. Some may have a definite cause for setting tasks aside. Deep inside, they may even feel ashamed for disappointing you.

Our tip is to ask yourself, “What is the best time tracking app?” Trust us now and you’ll thank us later. Using a task monitoring system can help you become aware of the amount of time your employees spend on particular tasks or activities. You will be able to identify major distractions that keep people from hitting their productivity targets.

Now, once you’ve got your data, you need to get into a non-aggressive, honest conversation with your employee. Try to understand the reason why they procrastinate. Of course, you shouldn’t dance around the matter. It is best to get straight to the point and ask your subordinate, “I noticed that you’re spending too much time on non-work-related activities. Is there anything wrong?”

The issue may be personal, or perhaps, something related to work. On the other hand, they may fear that they are doing something wrong. Once you discover the reason behind the problem, you can help your employee sort things out. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish by having a simple and honest chat.

Setting Clear Timelines

It is not in the nature of most employees to perform hara-kiri on their career. It is worth noting that time management issues are not always self-inflicted. It may hurt to hear this, but most employees are inefficient in handling their tasks because of poor leadership. Okay, hear us out before you furiously hit the close icon on this web page.

Perhaps, your employees do not know which work to prioritize. On the other hand, they may have trouble rejecting additional tasks even when their workload is already high. You should also check if your subordinates are overwhelmed with too many things on their hands. In some cases, employees put aside or drop tasks entirely because timelines were not clearly set. You will quickly learn that you are dealing with communication issues.

You may feel like passing tasks after tasks on to your subordinate, but it is not the Bushido way to do things. Yes, you may have forgotten—we’re trying to learn the Samurai way to manage your employees. Well, another vital principle of Bushido is self-control.

It is high time you changed how you look at ‘yes’ employees. Of course, your instinct is to celebrate people who always get stuff done. You may think that they have grit and that they work extra hard. In reality, they’re possibly stressed, overworked, and on a roller coaster ride to burnout. So, instead of cheering on people who are digging their graves, you should watch out for signs that they are hitting a wall:

  • They’re missing deadlines all of a sudden.
  • During meetings, they are uncertain of deliverables.
  • They don’t perform like they usually do.
  • They are always on calls or attending too many meetings.

An excellent workaround for time management issues is to observe your employees and talk to them. Ask them if they need any help from you. You should also check whether they are aware of their deliverables. Don’t forget to ask them if it is time for them to modify the scope of their projects.

While we’re on the subject of communication, we’d like to let you know that respect is another principle of the Samurai way. So, if your employees tell you that your expectations do not match their reality, then acknowledge their side. After all, this situation is not a failure on anyone’s part. Moreover, this can be an excellent way to continue discussing how you can help your employee do their best work.

Checking the System You’ve Put in Place

Do you feel the hair on your nape standing whenever you pass by the cubicles? Do you taste dirt in the air? If you have a hunch that someone in the office is trying to put a hex on you, then it’s probably true. Kidding aside, you know that managers have a gut feeling when their employees hate them. Of course, there could be several possible reasons for their animosity. However, if you’ve recently rolled out a task tracking system, then you’re inclined to believe that it is the source of hatred.

You may find yourself wondering if you are doing the right thing here. Is it morally ethical to monitor your employees’ activities at work? Well, to get the best answer to that, you should ask yourself, “How did time tracking start?” This will help you understand that this system has been in every office environment, one way or another. Let us show you a brief history of work time control:

  • During the Industrial Revolution, a jeweler from New York invented the time clock. This machine recorded the hours that employees worked.
  • Detailed timekeeping began in the 20th century when the paper timesheet was introduced by Reginald Herber Smith.
  • Lawyers were the first to use timesheets. They would input details such as their client’s name, the time they spent on the case, and descriptions of their tasks for each day.
  • To help avoid calculation errors, paper timesheets have been replaced with electronic systems that track the time and tasks automatically.
  • These days, time tracking apps are widely used in construction, architecture, IT services, and many other fields.

It’s only natural to doubt the time tracking system you’ve implemented in the office. After all, honor is another principle of Bushido. Employees are inclined to believe that you are only spying on them, which they won’t consider as something honorable or respectable. This problem is likely to happen when you do not explain the true nature of task monitoring.

Assure them that your intention is not to spy on your employees, but to develop an organized and productive workflow. Let them know that you will respect their privacy and that you will always safeguard their trust. They will feel more at ease if you explain all the measures you will take to ensure that only authorized people will have access to their data.

To be certain that the system is helping their productivity, we recommend that you ask for feedback. It wouldn’t hurt if you discussed the effects of your time management plan in a humble weekly meeting. You can get updates from everyone and touch base on the progress of the projects. This weekly meeting can be the perfect venue to create an environment of knowledge sharing. You can also take this opportunity to ask how your task tracking system is affecting people’s productivity. Is it improving the way they handle tasks or is it hurting their output? As we’ve mentioned, communication is the key to resolving most time management issues. By the way, truthfulness is another Bushido principle. So, you can expect people to respect your initiatives when you show them that you are honest and dependable. When you speak with your employees and ask for their feedback, show them that you sincerely care. And that, my friend, is the Samurai way to treat those who work for you.