In these economic times, managers are finding new and interesting ways to torture their employees. Not literally, of course, but it sure feels like it.
When money gets tight, managers are tasked with looking for ways to save money for the company. Being who they are, often the solutions involve cutting hours, pushing for sales, or being nitpicky about things like breaks, lunches and overtime. Granted, it is important to be on time, etc., but with staffers seeing layoffs and cutbacks going on all around them (although often not in management staff), the sudden leap on small savings can appear petty.
Case in point, a major department store chain that is losing sales has determined their sales force would do better if they interacted with the public more, getting out from behind the counter and greeting customers as they walk by. I know it can be difficult to find help when you need it (see Alan Weiss’s post on Saks), but I am not more likely to buy if they are accosting me at every turn, and following me around like a lost puppy.
Another story from the world of retail involves the employee who worked into her scheduled lunch break to help a customer. When she returned from her allotted time, she was rewarded with a reprimand for coming back from lunch late. No explanation, of course, would satisfy the manager in this case, so the employee got written up. This appears to teach employees that, if you are with a customer, keep an eye on the clock, because if your lunchtime comes up, you will either have to, a) drop the potential sale like a hot potato to adhere to the inanely rigid rules, or b) work into your lunch period, possibly setting up your employer for a lawsuit (In California, at least, there are legally mandated break periods).
I wonder which option managers would prefer?