Author Topic: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere  (Read 5952 times)

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camlan

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2014, 10:30:12 AM »
Sounds like there are two separate issues--one, people don't know the procedure for requesting time off and two, they see your last half hour of work as a time that you are approachable.

For the first, I'd go over the requirements for requesting time off at the next staff meeting. Written requests only; it's a union rule.

For the second, I'd also start by addressing the issue in a staff meeting. Point out that you *all* want to leave at 5:30, but interrupting the money count makes that difficult for you.

I suspect that the employees are approaching you at that time because there are no customers in the building then. While the office is open, they are supposed to be helping the customers, so they don't have time or think it will look as if they are neglecting the customers if they come to you with a question or request not directly related to helping a customer.

Then tell them the new rules. While you are counting money, there are to be no interruptions unless it is an emergency. Then define emergency--fire, someone's bleeding--and what's not an emergency--vacation requests, venting about a customer. Make a sign or use the bulletin board and show them. Tell everyone you will just be ignoring them if they approach you during the money count.

You say that the rest of the staff is basically done at 5 pm, but you have work that keeps you there until 5:30. What is the reason the rest of the staff has to stay? Can you give them work to do that will keep them busy at least part of the time between 5 pm and 5:30--cleaning, restocking, a daily report?
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2014, 11:04:35 AM »
I can give them work to do: shredding sensitive papers that we are discarding, putting the work in order to be shipped to the capitol, etc.  But the time cruch for them is gone.

I am going to call a staff meeting to annouce some changes: after 5 pm, only one staff person in my office at one time (I have to cash them out).  So, if I am cashing out someone else, wait until I summon you in.  I only want to talk about the drop (if they didn't balance - Check your cash drawer for stray $20 bills), and I don't want you standing there venting that you can't believe that you didn't balance again!  Here's your work summary for the day.  Go to the back desk area and figure out where your error is. (I don't care if they can't find it, but it will keep them quiet and more mindful of their balancing errors).

I am going to appoint the first person cashed out to supervise End of Day activities: make sure that people are doing shredding and organizing work.

I think part of my frustration is that it is the same 3 - 4 people that are the problem.  There is a form for requesting time off.  I tacked some blank ones onto the bulletin board: "There.  Fill that out and turn it in."  It's just that these same 3 - 4 people are like puppies: over and over again, they are barging in to ask questions.  I don't want to do the raised hand and Stop! discussed in the other thread. 

I am hoping that setting up a boundary at 5 pm, and only one allowed in at one time will help to keep them mindful of what needs to be completed even after all the customers are gone.
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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2014, 11:09:20 AM »
Quote
I think part of my frustration is that it is the same 3 - 4 people that are the problem. 

This actually makes it easier. Sit them down, one at a time, and say, "I've noticed that you interrupt me a lot at the end of the day, when I'm counting. I need you to stop doing that. It messes me up. Here are the ways you can interact with me after 5pm. Adhere to them. I'll remind you."

And then they come up to you, you frown, shake your head, and start counting out loud, and louder (slower if necessary). If you really get rattled, stop when you are counting, and repeat the same number over and over again, louder and louder, until they go away.
Or you say, "57, I'm counting, 57, go away, 57, 57, 57, okay, 58, 59..."


That's their reminder.

camlan

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2014, 11:26:39 AM »
Quote
I think part of my frustration is that it is the same 3 - 4 people that are the problem. 

This actually makes it easier. Sit them down, one at a time, and say, "I've noticed that you interrupt me a lot at the end of the day, when I'm counting. I need you to stop doing that. It messes me up. Here are the ways you can interact with me after 5pm. Adhere to them. I'll remind you."

And then they come up to you, you frown, shake your head, and start counting out loud, and louder (slower if necessary). If you really get rattled, stop when you are counting, and repeat the same number over and over again, louder and louder, until they go away.
Or you say, "57, I'm counting, 57, go away, 57, 57, 57, okay, 58, 59..."


That's their reminder.

And if you are the person in charge of their annual review, you can make this part of the review. You could maybe couch it in better terminology, something along the lines of "Completes end-of-day tasks quickly and efficiently, without hindering other employees in their end-of-day required tasks," and just make sure they know that you are one of the employees referred to.

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Arila

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2014, 05:03:12 PM »
I think it's important to be able to talk about things with your supervisor. Our vacation requests are also more formal than a simple verbal request (electronic form), but I pretty much always verbally discuss it with my supervisor before submitting it.

Your need to not be interrupted during certain tasks is totally understandable, but in addition to the rules/adoption of SOP already suggested, I would add in a specific green-light time for them to be able to talk to you about...whatever (work/supervisory related).

Raintree

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2014, 09:30:17 PM »
I get stressed just THINKING about this, because I had a job that required counting everything up at the end of the day, not just money but other receipts and transactions, and if it didn't balance, I had to work out where the problem was. My job was behind a wicket within another business; the wicket closed at 5 but the rest of the business was still open. Customers could see the top of my head just over the huge CLOSED sign. And it was CUSTOMERS that continually interrupted, peering their heads over the top of the CLOSED sign.

"Excuse me, are you working?" (No, I'm here counting money for fun).

"Excuse me, I know you have your closed sign up, but could I still get...." (Well but of course, don't let a closed sign stop you, I'm not sure why I actually have it up to begin with).

"Oh! Closed at 5!  But I just need....." (one sixty, one seventy, one eighty......argggghhhhh!!!)

I tried sitting on the floor with the money and inventory so that the customers couldn't see the top of my head. That didn't work. They'd peer over the top and see me crouching and clearly hiding, and say, "Oh, good, you're still here!! Are you open?"

When it's customers, you kind of do still have to be nice to them even when you want to throttle them. Well you have to be nice to employees too, but it's a little easier: gather them round, send out a memo, whatever, and say, "Please note, after 5 pm I am counting money, and it's not a good time to ask me questions. I am open to requests and questions from 9-5, but from 5-5:30 my focus needs to be on counting out the money and each interruption means I have to start over. Thank you for your consideration in not approaching me for unrelated matters in that half hour time period."

asb8

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2014, 12:29:17 PM »
Are the employees permitted to clock out and leave before their drawer is counted? If not, then perhaps pointing out that every interruption causes a delay in their out time. And send offenders to the back of the line!

LETitbe

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2014, 11:00:56 PM »
Where are you counting the money? Out in the open with other employees? Alone in your office?
I do understand your frustration being interrupted, but, since I've always had jobs where multi-tasting was imperative, it generally wouldn't occur to me that asking someone to do another part of their job (approving/maybe explaining time off) while they're doing something is too much of an imposition. Now, if my manager is in their office with the door closed, yeah, I definitely respect that and don't bother them unless it's an emergency. But, if they're out in the open, or somewhere easily accessible with no indication of "do not disturb", I would never think anything of it. And, yes, I've been in charge of counting drawers, too.
My point is that I would cut your co-workers some slack, unless they are ignoring a very specific indication of "do not disturb", like a sign or a closed/locked door. I think it's completely acceptable to bring this up at the next team meeting or get together. Though, I also agree with the PP who mentioned that they may be coming to you at this time because they can't when they're supposed to be attending to customers, and this is the only time they aren't. If that's the case, you'll have to work out some kind of system to solve that problem.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2014, 06:09:54 PM »
Training my employees to wait until I am at a good place to be interrupted has taken time, but it has increased productivity and decreased mistakes and frustration.  I will say, "let me get back to you," "let me finish this email," or something brief, finish what I'm doing, and then ask them what they need.  If they start talking anyway, I'll ignore them, and then ask them to repeat themselves and say frankly that I wasn't paying attention to them.  Then I pay attention to them. 

By the same token, if they seem busy when I need something, I ask them if they can be interrupted.  It's acceptable for them to tell me to wait.  Accuracy is more important.

For days off, schedule changes, etc., it needs to be in writing (e-mail), so we all understand.

becktheriddler

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2014, 02:26:56 PM »
I used to work there also, so I understand your frustration. I now work in a bank, where EVERYONE is balancing at the end of the day, so it is quite different, since everyone is focused on the same task. However, there are times when I also need to balance the vault, which may not coincide with all the other balancing. If a coworker approaches me then, I will tell them to give me X amount of time (ususally only a couple of minutes) before I can answer them. I have also suggested they leave a note/send an email if it's something for which they require an answer.
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bopper

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2014, 11:34:20 AM »
I have the solution to your problem. Modify as needed.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2014, 11:48:36 AM »
Love it!
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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2014, 01:07:19 PM »
That's beautiful!

You could add your own "reasons to interrupt," like:
•Is Benedict Cumberbatch in the building?

Firecat

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2014, 01:37:23 PM »
That's beautiful!

You could add your own "reasons to interrupt," like:
•Is Benedict Cumberbatch in the building?

Is Sir Patrick Stewart in the building, wanting to declare his undying devotion? (Or, really, just to say hi?)

emwithme

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Re: S/O Do not Speak to me - when my mind is Elsewhere
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2014, 03:31:45 PM »
That's beautiful!

You could add your own "reasons to interrupt," like:
•Is Benedict Cumberbatch in the building?

Is Sir Patrick Stewart in the building, wanting to declare his undying devotion? (Or, really, just to say hi?)

If he is, please entertain him with some "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot" while I finish what I'm doing.  I'm sure he'll understand...