Monday, March 16, 2009

Does "Punching Out For Lunch" Imply Violence?

Last week, in the midst of people getting let go and general chaos it was brought to the attention of some employees that they were not following proper procedures regarding their time for lunch. See, here we use a computer-based “time clock” which we use to punch in, out and for lunch breaks. But it would seem that some people were scamming the system, and this was happening in several ways.

WAY # 1 – The “Faux Punch”

Method: The approach to this way of getting more out of your lunch time would be to punch out from say 11:30-12:00 but not to go to lunch. You just punch out and continue working and 30 minutes later punch back in. Then you can go to lunch and take as long as you want.

Pros: It is an easy way to make sure you are only taking your 30 minutes

Cons: If you then go to lunch at the same time everyday your manager, who approves your time sheets, is going to start to notice that the time you punch out and when you are away from your desk doesn’t match up.

WAY # 2 – The “Going Out To Grab Something”

Method: Say you don’t feel like brown-bagging your lunch (though in this economy that is the smarter way to go) and you want to run out to grab a sandwich. So you leave you desk and are gone for the 15 minutes it takes you to pick up something from Panera, come back, and then punch out for lunch.

Pros: You have turned your 30 minute lunch into a 45 minute lunch (or more) and you can still eat lunch with your work friends while getting the latest gossip from around the office.

Cons: This is a risk because if you are detained outside the office, say for a traffic ticket or 30 car pile up, your manager is going to find out that you haven’t been honest in your lunch time.

WAY # 3: The “Smoking Isn’t Lunch”

Method: After your 30 minutes are up you come back to your desk, clock in, and then proceed to disappear for another 10 minutes as you go outside to have a cigarette.

Pros: I can’t really determine any pros in this racket since smoking is bad for your health and your wallet

Cons: The smoky smell of a turkey sandwich will not tip off your manager that you were shirking your duties but the smoky smell of some menthols will.

Most of the people that were reprimanded complained that 30 minutes wasn’t long enough to eat lunch but the thing is, you can take a longer lunch. That is completely allowed. You just have to then work some extra time at the end of the day. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure it out.

I heard about people getting scolded for such practices and had a good giggle, until my VP informed us that because people were abusing the system, my team now has to punch in and out for lunch, a practice we haven’t honored since I moved into this department over a year ago. See, the program automatically deducts 30 minutes for lunch if you don’t clock out, and since we didn’t push the limits, we didn’t have to use the system for lunch. Hell, about half the time I work straight through lunch and just don’t get paid for that half hour. But I don’t complain, because about once or twice a month I would go take an hour lunch to run some errands and not feel guilty about it.

So now I have been personally affected by a few employees who thought they could put one past the man. Some of whom I have threatened to beat with a sock full of quarters for putting a hitch in my daily routine.

What’s that saying about a few bad apples?

Oh yeah, squash them into apple sauce…

~The Office Scribe


David said...

Don't you just hate the bastards that scam the system and screw it all up for the rest of us?

I do.


Dan Shea said...

Hmm, posted at 11:00 a.m. on Monday? Is this what you mean by working straight through lunch?

Diesel said...

So... I usually get to work around 11:30 (on the 2 days that I come in), screw around for half an hour, then go to lunch at one of the 14 free cafeterias on campus. Lunch usually lasts around an hour and a half, because my boss eats slow, and I don't want to make him mad by going back to work before he's done.