Why are you still in the office when your employees have gone home?

- Simon Buck

The problem with presenteeism in the office

Why is it that I meet plenty of business owners who are in earlier and leaving later than the team they have employed to help run the business? 

As a business coach I get to meet lots of business owners and a large proportion of them work much harder than their teams do. Some tell me its because they are more passionate about the business than their team or that you have to work hard to be successful or that you have to be there to keep an eye on things. My favourite however is I feel guilty if I’m not there!

Lets challenge some conventional thinking…

Most business owners I meet went into business because they wanted more flexibility, wanted to work less hours, wanted ultimately some freedom of choice, but have less! 

There is a big difference between working “hard” and working “smart”. Smart doesn’t mean you need to be there every day, watching what everyone is doing, answering the teams questions. It means you add value and you are super productive knowing what you do best.

Lets look at the comments I hear.

  • They don’t work as hard if I’m not there…

Then they do not know why they are doing what they are doing, they need purpose, and to know whats in it for them when they outperform, or go. 

  • I don’t know whats going on if i’m not there…

Then you do not have transparent systems and KPIs in the business to demonstrate productivity.

  • They ask me too many questions for me not to be there…

Then you have a training issue, you haven’t communicated things properly or you have the wrong people in the business. 

  • I need to be there because I do the fee earning…

Then you have a job, not a business

  • I feel guilty if I’m not there and they will be thinking I’m being lazy swanning around…

Its your business, tell them what you do when you are not there, explain how you never switch off, make yourself available for 1:1’s etc when you are there rather than being there for the sake of being there.

All the above are just excuses as to why the business isn’t where it needs to be yet. It isn’t easy being a business owner but it can be a whole lot easier than we sometimes make it. 

Take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why things are as they are. You sometimes need a second set of eyes in the business to make a big change in your habitual approach to business. 

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