I constantly see one of my subordinates chatting in a semi-professional chat during her working hours. With "semi-professional" I mean that the chat is targeted towards frontend developers (which is her position), but besides sharing and discussing code snippets they often do small talk about books, movies, etc...
As a believer in development culture and active user of the Stack Exchange network I don't want to forbid such communication entirely. Mostly because it is hard to define the line (is answering a Stack Overflow question already private? Is commenting and improving an answer? Is discussing lunch options in WhatsApp?)
On the other hand I see that it takes a significant amount of her working time and I have never seen her doing overtime.
What I did so far when I saw her chatting for a longer period from the corner of my eye:
- Asking about the status of her current work package. The packages are rather small (I could deliver them in half a day, she takes 1-2 days). I often get evasive answers and she then indeed turns back to her package - for some time.
- Discussing which additional aspects popped up during the current work package to send her back on track.
- Openly stating that she should have an eye on her private browsing behavior
- Openly stating that I see her changing the tab when I come close and that I am annoyed by that.
We are a small startup so our possibility of sanctions is rather limited and not our desired culture. I am also unsure if I should appear tougher and stricter - to be honest I am alarmed that I have to act like a elementary school teacher here. Also she is not a very good coder, but it took a long time to fill that position and she indeed solves more problems than she creates - so firing her is a tough decision.