Watching the Clock

Watching the Clock

The old saying that timing is everything has great significance for your business. It governs performance deadlines, tax filings, statutes of limitations for bringing lawsuits, and more.

Here are other reasons to watch the clock.

Setting business hours

Business hours are the times your workplace is open for business. Each business must decide for itself what is needed. For example, many offices use the traditional 9 to 5 schedule while many small retailers run from 10 to 6 or even later. Internet-based businesses are open 24/7. Restaurants set hours according to what they serve … breakfast, lunch, and or dinner. In the 1800s, “bankers’ hours” referred to the period from 10 to 3 because this short period was the hours that banks were opened then. The New York Stock Exchange operates from 9:30 to 4 each weekday.

There are no set hours for a business. Here are some factors to consider in setting your hours:

  • Needs of the business. When are you open to the public? Do you need to extend hours during the holiday season, or switch to shorter hours during the off season?
  • Needs of your staff. If you are in an area with bad rush hours, it may be feasible to have hours that permit employees to come and go off peak. If you need to have long business hours, your employees can use flex time for their work/life balance.
  • Needs of your customers and clients. If you service people or companies located in time zones different from yours, business hours may need to be set accordingly.
  • What competitors are doing. The hours set by competitors may necessitate your following suit.
  • State laws. Your locality may have a “last call” rule for establishments selling alcohol (e.g., 2 a.m.).

Being late

Showing up on time is important. It is a sign of respect to those expecting you. Machiavelli said “tardiness often robs us of opportunity.” Make it a business practice to always be on time. These days it’s a no-brainer with calendar reminders on desktops and mobile devices. It’s common sense that if you have a meeting or an appointment that you can’t make on time because of something unavoidable, inform by phone, text, or email those who are waiting for you.

CareerBuilder found that 25% of workers are late to work at least once a month and that younger workers are more likely than older ones to be late. (For a good hoot, read the list of the strangest employee excuses listed by CareerBuilder for being late, including forgetting the current employer and showing up at the location of a company he worked for 5 years earlier.) Being late occasionally may be no big deal in a large organization but can really stand out in a small business; it necessitates others to fill in. If you want to be able to terminate someone for tardiness, be sure to document the lateness, excuses, etc. to avoid any wrongful termination claims against you.

Final thought

Humorist Sam Levenson said, “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”

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