Ragin’ Agent: The Importance of Cooperation In the Workplace (or How To Tell When Someone Is Slacking On the Job and Who)

I sense I may have to use this sign in the future.
Source: The Havok Journal

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I try to talk about relevant things that are useful, important, or have an effect on a wide range of people. I also try to find example and site sources to make logically sound claims.

But sometimes things happen to me that cause me to go Super Saiyan and I just need to take out my aggression in my preferred medium.

So, I have a third shift job doing custodial maintenance for a company (that shall go unnamed for reasons that will soon become obvious) and I do enjoy it. It’s quiet hours, good pay, and the work – though lacking in satisfaction – is easy enough that it leaves me more brain space to focus on other details.

However, one of the problems of the job is that quite a large number of people feel they can get away with doing less work; leaving it for us poor third shift zombies to clean up. Let me put it this way…

When you find no less than five feet of toilet paper in each of the men’s bathroom stalls, someone’s slacking.

When there is a visible layer of dust on the back of the toilets so thick that you have to change your cleaning rag halfway through to avoid smearing it around, someone’s slacking.

When someone empties the women’s sanitary boxes (for the guys, the ladies’ room stalls have mini trash boxes for used personal hygiene stuff) but fails to put new liner bags in so that the next person has to muck out and clean them, someone’s slacking.

When you catch someone sleeping in the men’s room stalls and/or passing out in their car with the drivers door open and the engine running on multiple occasions, they are likely the ones slacking.

If you’re a manager and you wonder why things aren’t getting done on third shift when you add more tasks to the list, check to see if they aren’t being forced to pick up someone’s slack first.

There are a lot of ways to make the work place better for everyone and they aren’t hard to do.

Firstly, accept the idea that everything is everyone’s job. If you have the time after taking care of your priority tasks to do it, then do it. You’ll be saving the next person time which, if they take up the same habits, will eventually come back around to you.

Second, if you want to be a manager, you should do the job of each of the people you manage at least once. This will give you an idea of how much time and effort your employees need to put into their jobs and you can build reasonable expectations. Also, don’t assume that the job stays the same between shifts; that rarely happens.

Thirdly, have a manager or assistant on site at all times during peek hours. Many problem employees will try to get away with doing less (and often do) if they know their boss isn’t around to catch them. Just having two people to oversee the first two shifts is enough since one is bound to bump into the third shift if they aren’t doing their job.

In short, don’t be that guy/girl that everyone hates for making them do their work. Also, if my employers are reading this, I’ll happily take that assistant manager job we talked about up there if you can find someone to cover my shift. Sure, it means losing my quiet hours, but it’s worth it to make things run smoother for everyone.

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