“I know my office co-worker chats on Facebook most of the day ... and now I have proof. Do I say something to the co-worker, or do I bring it up to the boss? I am usually not a tattletale, but there are times when I am overwhelmed with work and I know she’s chatting on Facebook and not getting her work done.” — Administrative assistant, posting on the Admin Pro Forum.
Before Facebook, it was IM, and before that it was the telephone. There’s a limitless supply of distractions in the workplace, and people will always be challenged by seemingly “slack” workers.
“It is frustrating when you are busy and it appears others are not,” replied one admin, Kim. “However, there may be extenuating circumstances. You may end up looking foolish if there is a reasonable explanation for the Facebooker’s behavior.”
Other admins on the Forum agreed that ratting out the Facebooker to the boss, though momentarily gratifying, would probably not turn out well. Instead, some suggested approaching the boss from a different angle.
“Go to your supervisor and explain how much and what kind of work you have and what you need help with,” wrote assistant Ilja. “Then ask your supervisor if you can ask your colleague to help you with certain tasks. If your colleague refuses or says that she is too busy, go back to your supervisor with that information and let your supervisor prioritize the work that each of you will do.”
Is it possible that the worker is violating the company’s Internet use policy? Yes, but as one admin pointed out, it’s the manager’s responsibility to determine that.
Ultimately, most workers believed that the best recourse is to put the focus back on your own work.
“Do your work and step back,” advised fellow admin Mary Lynn. She bolstered her position with a nugget of wisdom from Lao Tse, one of the fathers of Taoism:
Fill your bowl to the brim, and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your blade, and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security, and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval, and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
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