Is there any way to compete with admins who put in extra hours at home? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Is there any way to compete with admins who put in extra hours at home?

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Question: "My admin team is getting overly competitive since we can now log in to our system after normal work hours. I know that at least two of the people I work with put in an extra four or five unpaid hours every week at home, in order to get ahead. I can't help but feel they have an unfair advantage—they're getting more done than me because I don't want work to follow me home, yet I can't realistically tattle on them for the unauthorized hours. Is the only solution here to just let them be seen as miracle workers who are more efficient than I am?" - Betty, Financial Services

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Omyed October 2, 2014 at 10:58 am

BABS – I like your comment. This is definately my case; I put in those extra hours at home to help “ME” to get a head start the next day. This way my pile of things to do and my email will not be as chaotic when I return to the office. Whereas others walk into the office to very stressful situations and on top of that, their email and other tasks are also stacked up.

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Karen September 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Just a few things to think about: They will have to continue to work those unpaid, unauthorized hours indefinitely if they want to keep up their “miracle workers” status. Along with putting the company at risk with the US Labor Department, they are also jeopardizing their own jobs. I imagine that your IT Department has something in place that shows when and for how long each user is logged into the system. This could very well catch up with them in the long run.
If I were you, I’d just continue to do the best I could and not compare myself to the others. Try to find shortcuts or steps you could even skip, if possible, in some of your work processes to speed things up.

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Cathy August 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

Liked Jackqueline’s answer. Laura’s response is a good one, also. Two things you do not want to do: “tattle” on the other Admins, and go to the boss and say that you cannot keep up with the workload. It is actually none of your business what the other Admins do or don’t do – as we have been told where I work. Just do your job to the best of your ability and, as long as the work your responsible for gets done in a timely fashion and you continue getting good reviews, raises, etc., just keep doing your job and ignore what others are doing (or not doing). Not an easy thing – as I well know – but it will take some of the stress out of your busy day and make it easier for you to do what you need to accomplish each day.

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Jackqueline August 28, 2014 at 8:44 pm

We have a policy that if you are to work from home you first have to apply to HR for approval, one you have that you then need to fill in paperwork from WH&S to state that your workplace (home) meets standard.

I also mentor our admins from across our large group and I often counsel them that if they start taking work home to catch up there will be that expectation that they are able to do the work they are given in their work hours, and as a result more and more work will be given to them, and therefore more and more work will need to go home with them.

I also counsel that if you can’t do the required tasks in the timeframe given to you because their skills are not up to standard then enrol in further course via our eLearning site and complete them in your own time, or if the there is just too much work for one person, then bring this to the attention of your supervisor and ask what is to be given priority.

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Monica August 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I hope the answers are moderated because the “butt out” comment was very unhelpful. Quite frankly, I’m surprised to see trolling on an admin professional site. =

There are some great points, especially from an HR standpoint – those employees working w/out compensation could put the company at risk. I wouldn’t have thought about it.

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Treva August 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

Thanks for your comment Monica! I think some people may forget this is NOT Facebook or other social media sites where those types of comments are tolerated.

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L August 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Oh yes, I’ve dealt with coworkers doing this many times over the years, especially those who are single and have no kids and no life outside of work. These types of employees are married to the company and will do whatever it takes to stay ahead. I had one that would stay at the office and work until midnight several days a week.

Unfortuantely there wasn’t much I could do other than outsource my work to an independent admin contractor, but couldn’t afford it at the time so I just did my best to meet my goals and the goals of each company, but eventually moved on.

P.S. Managers LOVE employees who will go above and beyond no matter what, even if it means working until their brains pop out. It’s very frustrating, I know.

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Treva August 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Personally, I do not believe in taking work home or working on the weekends which is my standard rule of thumb because that is my time. However, if I need additional time to get tasks done, I will come in early or stay later which is something I have been doing the last several months and love it. I arrive at work 1 1/2 hours earlier and can get my work done without phones ringing and constant interruptions or, if need be, I will stay an extra 1/2 – hour later. Unless you have the type of job that warrants around the clock attention, then I would not worry too much about it, but never downplay the value you add to your organization. I am not sure of your company’s policy with regards to working “off the clock”, but from an HR standpoint, those that are working those extra hours, could be in violation of policies and laws if those hours were not authorized. However, the real question is why are they having to work those additional hours per week in the first place? Maybe there needs to be assessment done on the work to worker ratio.

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Paula August 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

It is unlawful to work OT and not get paid unless they are salaried. If they are not, they are putting the company in a legal compromising position if word gets out that they are working without compensation, I suggest speaking with your manager about it. Explain that you are working to capacity but don’t want to compromise the company by working hours that you are not compensated for in order to spin out more work. I wouldn’t blow the whistle on others, but work with your manager for work prioritization and understanding timelines.

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Lisa - !! August 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm

The only solution is to butt out of everyone else’s business and maybe you can get your work done in a timely manner.

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BABS August 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Offices are not fair and equal, and yes we have those who manipulae circumstances to provide them with a preceived edge. Sounds like that is what you are feeling, Let me assure the preceived edge, if that is what it is will eventually catch up with them. Now a few questions…

• Are all of your performance reviews calibrated against each other?
• Do you all work for the same department, or are your Admins in a variety of positions; e.g. Administration, HR, Accounting, Sales?
• Do you get your work done, and accomplish the requested assignemtns?
We have a variety of Admins in our office, who while the basic duties, calendar scheduling, setting up meetings, etc. are the same, their actual assignments are completely different from each other.
I personally will put in extra hours to help ‘me’ out. What that means is if I have a large task, and know the next few days are going to be exceptionally busy, to relieve ‘my personal stress’ level, will put in a few, off the clock hours, so that I am more comfortable with my performance –not to compete with others. Could this be the case for the others?

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Laura August 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

It might be helpful to talk as a team about the workload. When working for multiple individuals, it is easy for managers to increase the work they hand off and not realize that others have done it too — and no one has pulled work back. If it has increased & important deadlines are being missed or everyone is just stretched to the max, you may need to work with managers to identify the top needs, reprioritize the work flow, and ask the hard question of who picks up the slack – and that could mean managers doing a few things for themselves. It just might indicate a need for more staffing too. In the meantime, do your best to focus and prioritize your own work, stay positive, and hold on to your goal of leaving work at work.

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