20

I have no experience of team handling. Recently, a junior staff member was hired to work under me. He has been good in his work. Recently, he has started focusing more on office extracurricular activities. For example, we have an indoor sports tournament and he is a leader of one of the teams. So he is spending more time on that tournament. When he comes to the office in the morning first thing he does involves tournament related arrangement; his actual billable work starts 1 or 2 hours later. He spends his entire lunch break on these extracurricular activities.

The tournament starts in the evening, so he closes his work before it starts. Hence, even though he is inside the office for 9 hours, his actual billable hours are around 5 hours. The company expects 8 billable hours per day.

What is the best way to handle this employee so that he understands that he needs to work 8 billable hours in addition to any time he has spent on extracurricular activities?

Since I'm not involved in those extracurricular, it should not create an impression that I'm restricting him out of my own disinterest in those activities.

PS: I work in India with an American organization, so it pretty much follows the American work culture.

1
  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 14 at 10:27

7 Answers 7

65

This doesn't need to be complicated.

At the end of the week, if the time sheet doesn't say they worked the required 40 billable hours, then you should indicate that is a problem, and they need to work at least 40 billable hours.

No need to get into debates about merits of "extracurricular activities" or anything like that. These debates and discussions are a distraction. If they need to hit 40 billable hours, that's what they need to hit.

Hopefully the customer(s) isn't surprised by the increased invoice.

14
  • 4
    @gnasher729 Of course. I mean the discussion on them is a distraction. Jul 12 at 10:41
  • 91
    Just keep in mind that during any discussions, For the love of Zeus, what this employee does during lunch break is their own business.
    – Donald
    Jul 12 at 12:48
  • 60
    I'm confused about the concept of extracurricular work items that have to be done during your time off. Why would anyone do that? (Not to mention that the idea of requiring 100% of your working hours to be billable is in practice simply impossible, except if you're defrauding your client; hell the team lead having this discussion with their employee will have to do it in overtime, because clearly you shouldn't bill this discussion to a client).
    – Voo
    Jul 12 at 15:33
  • 14
    @Voo The way I'm reading it, the activities arent mandatory at all, so they dont have to be done at all. It's an activity the employees can voluntarily participate in outside of work hours (similar to extracurricular activities at school). People chose to do it because they like the activity and may want to bond with coworkers outside the direct context of work.
    – JMac
    Jul 12 at 16:00
  • 19
    the required 40 billable hours maybe it's different in India - here in Germany work contractions are about required 40 hours, full stop. A work contract can never contain anything implying what these hours are, w.r.t. being billable between the company and the customer. This is a crystal clear concept here - you give your time to the company, you get salary from the company, and it's on the company to get money back from its customers. Time spent on intracompany activities still only needs to sum up to the 40h (or whatever is in the contract). Is that commonly different in India?
    – AnoE
    Jul 13 at 9:28
27

When he comes to the office in the morning first thing he does is involving in tournament related arrangement, his actual billable work starts 1 or 2 hours later. He spends his entire lunch break for these extracurricular activity. The tournament starts in the evening, so he closes his work before it starts. Hence, even though he is inside the office for 9 hours, his actual billable hours around 5 hours. The company expects 8 billable hours per day.

What is the best way to handle this employee so that he understands that he needs to work 8 billable hours in addition to any time he has spent on extracurricular activities?

Leaders need to hold their team accountable for their work. If the company expects 8 billable hours and he isn't delivering, then you need to remind him of that fact.

Have a one-on-one discussion. Focus on the billable hours, not the "extracurricular activities", nor what he is doing on his lunch break.

Explain that he is currently delivering only 5 hours, while the company wants 8 hours. Assuming that he can do the work when he prefers, let him decide how to get the 8 hours delivered.

If he complains that he is spending time on the extracurricular activities, explain clearly that these are not billable, and thus cannot be counted toward the required 8 hours.

If he still doesn't deliver after being notified, then you'll need to take whatever corrective action is appropriate in your organization. That might mean a poor performance review, no raise, no promotion, an formal performance improvement program, or anything up to and including dismissal.

I have no experience of team handling.

When you don't have experience in leading, you should be seeking guidance, and perhaps mentorship, from your boss. They can explain the company's usual reaction to this situation and offer suggestions on how to handle it.

4
  • As the leader, you will also need to raise the employee's salary to compensate for the fact that they will be doing at least 1 hour per-day overtime (likely much more) in order to reasonably achieve 8 billable hours per day (assuming an 8-hour working day, which is standard).
    – Cody Gray
    Jul 13 at 10:26
  • 1
    @CodyGray Maybe their salary is already appropriatly designed for that. Jul 13 at 10:35
  • @CodyGray OP says the employee is in the office for 9 hours, so it sounds like a 9-hour workday
    – Esther
    Jul 13 at 14:37
  • @Esther That’s including the lunch break (presumably an hour), which usually does not count towards the working day if it’s not paid. Jul 14 at 9:00
19

If employees can't use work time to work on extracurricular work events and activities, then this needs to be clearly communicated to everyone (not just the one employee in question).

If he's the only person doing so, then you can speak to him one-on-one. No need to complicate things, just tell him what you wrote in the question: he needs to work 8 billable hours in addition to any time he spends on extracurricular activities.


Although personally, if I were told this, that may take me from something I'm excited about doing, to something I actively refuse to do (even though I have spent some of my free time on such things in the past). But different people will feel different about it.

(Spending 3 hours on that every day for some number of days may or may not be excessive though: hard to tell with too much specifics.)

1
  • Yeah, sounds like the company trying to pretend to be a cool place to work. Jul 15 at 10:12
5

What is the best way to handle this employee so that he understands that he needs to work 8 billable hours in addition to any time he has spent on extracurricular activities?

Just talk to them. Given that they are junior, they many not have the clarity you are having on the timesheet maintenance / adherence. Explain how it works, and you all should be good.

0

If this is an hourly position. Then I would expect that they would only be paid for the billable hours worked.

Working 5 hours instead of 8 every day is a 38% pay cut. Unless this person is just swimming in extra cash they probably don't want that.

If they are only paid for the hours worked, I expect they will return to working 8 hours a day.

2
  • 2
    Also note the company probably doesn't want that. If they wanted a part time employee, they probably would have hired one. Jul 13 at 9:27
  • 5
    Generally people are paid their contracted rate e.g. 40 hours. Companies will always try and get billable as close to that as possible but I've never worked anywhere (and would leave!) you don't get paid for non-billable hours!!
    – deep64blue
    Jul 13 at 14:26
0

I'm assuming that you're not the line manager for this employee.

  1. Communicate the expectation to the employee.
  2. Share a summary of the situation with the line manager, and mentioned that you've communicated the expectation to the employee.

Done.

-1

I think you need to look at the employee's motivation. The core problem here is that they don't find the work motivating, and no amount of threatening them with a stopwatch is going to change that. They'll end up getting through the same amount of work in a day but doing it more slowly.

3
  • What makes you think they're not motivated? There's nothing in the question that would indicate that. Just that they're more motivated to spend time on the extracurricular activities.
    – Dnomyar96
    Jul 19 at 7:44
  • 1
    Simply that if they were motivated by the work, the situation wouldn't arise. The picture being painted here is of someone who is less interested in the work than in other activities. Jul 19 at 8:51
  • Right, they're more interested in the other activities. That doesn't mean they're not motivated for the actual work, just that they prefer the other activities.
    – Dnomyar96
    Jul 20 at 9:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .