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Should you be rewarded for showing up to work every day?
A recent survey finds employees in the Middle East think they should be rewarded for regular attendance and punctuality. When it comes to productivity, Kipp thinks it should be the reverse. Employees shouldn’t be penalized for absenteeism or not clocking in the mandatory 9 hours a day.
July 2, 2012 4:04 by Eva Fernandes
When it comes to matters like punctuality and attendance at the workplace Kipp subscribes to a rather liberal school of thought. Of course, it depends what one’s line of work is, but the rule of thumb for Kipp is productivity—if you get the job done the best way possible, Kipp doesn’t care too much about whether you clocked in the mandatory fifteen hours. The following picture pretty much sums up our attitude towards ‘working smart versus working hard.’
Seems like common sense, but we may be alone in our convictions. After all a survey titled ‘Absenteeism in the Middle East Workplace’ conducted by Bayt.com found 51 percent of poll respondents said they thought rewarding regular attendance and punctuality was a way to combat problems with absenteeism.
You see, the very same poll found that 12 percent of those surveyed said they take unplanned/unapproved days off work at least once a month. The survey also found female employees were more likely to be absent more often than their male counterparts by a good 42.6 percent.
So why do people take time off work? The survey found a ‘lack of responsibility’ and ‘low job satisfaction’ were the top most reasons both ranking equally with 22.7 percent. Other reasons include de-motivation (12.1 percent), bad employee/manager relations (9.1 percent ), home and family responsibilities (7.5 percent ), and medical and health conditions (7.2 percent).
De-motivation, bad relations with the manager, low job satisfaction? Oh, did Kipp forget to mention the survey also found six out of ten of employees of the survey said their companies track employee absenteeism through ‘a specialised programme with strict policies’?
If you ask Kipp, we see a definite link between a company’s ’strict’ policy to track and monitor leave with the aforementioned feelings of de-motivation and lack of job satisfaction. Why? Because treating employees like machines part of an assembly line can lead only to them feeling like walking time production sheets.
So what is the solution? Because Kipp has rather liberal leanings, we would say do away with the whole system. Get rid of the concept of the 9 hour working day and if you want to take it one further, get rid of the concept of 23 days of annual leave. Why not? It has worked for a company like Netflix. For a few years now, video-streaming company Netflix has served as a model for liberal working hours. The policy goes salaried employees can take time off whenever they want for however long they want—nobody will track their time off. The only requirement is the employee get the approval of their line manager.
If this sounds like a recipe for disaster maybe the words of Steve Swasey, Netflix’s vice-president for corporate communication may change your mind: “Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered. If you’re spending a lot of time accounting for the time you’re spending, that’s time you’re not innovating.”
After all, empowered employees do invest time during non-working hours—whether that is answering emails at night, checking in on the odd weekend and going to events after work. If companies here in the GCC want to reduce de-motivation and increase job satisfaction maybe they should start treating their employees like grown adults and do away with the beating sticks of absenteeism policies and violation regulations.