If You Don't Stop Watching the Clock, You'll Regret It

May 22, 2021 2 min read
If You Don't Stop Watching the Clock, You'll Regret It

Stop watching the clock. You’re harming your business! Why? Quite simply, you’re placing importance on the wrong thing.

Your focus should be on performance and results, not clock-watching. If you watch the clock, so will employees. And when their focus is on time, it’s not on their work.

Please let me explain.

Clock Watching Costs Money

Some time ago, I routinely visited a FTSE 100 company. The business operated a strict 8:00 to 4:30 regime. What struck me every time I visited was the behaviour of employees.

At 4:00 PM, everyone started winding down. You’d see people tidying desks or washing their coffee cup. By 4:15 they would shut down the computer. From 4:20 they’d button up their coats or rearrange desk stationary. At precisely 4:25 they grabbed their briefcase and stood up.

For five minutes, they were watching the clock. On the turn of 4:30 everyone raced out of the door.

In that office alone, clock watching cost the business 11,000 hours every year. That’s the output of six people!

Your Job Is to Grow Leaders

Successful businesses succeed because they grow leaders. Developing employees to take responsibility for doing work, not being at work.

Effective leadership is empowering people. They don’t watch clocks!

Effective leaders start by:

  • focusing on results,
  • trusting their people,
  • avoiding blame,
  • playing to the team’s strengths, and
  • creating a culture of creativity and innovation.

If you’re watching the clock and checking on people, you are saying I don’t trust you… and what goes around, comes around. They won’t trust you, either!

So, what should you change?

Flexible Working

For starters, you must stop watching the clock and offer employees more flexibility.

Why? Because this will break the cycle of clock watching and put you on the road to recovery. A path that leads to highly motivated teams and high performance.

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs. But it will lead to a more efficient and productive business. What’s more, it helps employees prioritize between work and life. It’s win-win.

The benefits of flexible working include:

  • greater loyalty,
  • falling absenteeism,
  • increased staff retention,
  • improved productivity,
  • better customer service,
  • highly motivated employees, and
  • a better brand image and the opportunity to attract new talent.

Fact. And if you’re still not convinced, it’s doing more with less.

So, stop watching the clock now.

You can do more to create a happy and effective workforce by encouraging flexibility at work. In return, you’ll have a highly motivated, high-performance team and happy customers.

But first, stop watching the clock.


Do you focus on attendance or productivity? You are welcome to tell us about your experiences in the comments.

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