Saturday, May 19, 2018
Business

Primary work is no place for second-job duties

Q: One of our co-workers has been running a personal business using company time and equipment. During the workday, "Susan" is often observed sending emails, scheduling appointments and doing billing for a graphic design business that she owns. She also makes lengthy phone calls to her customers.

Because of all these extra activities, Susan has trouble keeping up with her regular duties. When she falls behind, management asks the rest of us to pitch in and help her, even though our workloads are just as heavy. This is beginning to create animosity in the group.

Susan's business has been listed on her LinkedIn profile for two years, so it is hardly a secret. I mentioned this to our team lead, but nothing has been done. Any suggestions?

A: Your ethically challenged colleague is basically stealing from the company, so someone should put a stop to it. Team leads typically don't have that kind of authority, so you need to get the attention of the proper person. In most organizations, that would be either the head of your department or the human resources manager.

After deciding whom to contact, you must determine the best way to deliver the message. A group complaint will have more impact, so involve some other indignant co-workers. Before meeting with management, select a representative and prepare a clear, concise description of the situation.

For example: "We thought you should know that Susan spends a lot of work time running her personal design business. In addition to doing administrative tasks, she is often on the phone with her customers. Our problem is that we're often asked to take up the slack and do her regular work. We would appreciate your looking into this."

After receiving this information, management will need time to investigate. But once Susan's theft of company time is confirmed, her outside activities should come to a speedy halt.

Speaking foreign language at work

Q: Our business employs people from many different countries. To encourage teamwork and inclusion, company policy states that English should be spoken when people are working together. If everyone in a group speaks a different language, however, they may use their native tongue.

As a supervisor, I believe this exception creates some problems. For one thing, people feel uncomfortable when they walk into a room and have no idea what is being said. Also, allowing different languages can leave employees confused about the English requirement. What do you think?

A: Actually, your employer's policy seems quite clear and reasonable, so I'm not sure what the problem is. In your supervisory role, you must simply ensure that employees understand how to apply these language guidelines.

If a Spanish-speaking group adds an English-speaking member, for example, then they must switch to English. Otherwise, they can continue speaking their common language. People who may randomly wander by are irrelevant, because they have no need to understand the conversation.

As the supervisor, you can legitimately request that employees speak English when you are part of the discussion. However, I assume your company knows that people can't legally be required to speak English during breaks and lunch.

Think twice before you hit 'send'

Q: A few days ago, I accidentally sent my boss an email meant for my husband. Because I was very frustrated, I called her an idiot and said some other unflattering things. She has not mentioned receiving this message. Should I apologize or just forget about it?

A: Since your boss is likely to read any communication from her staff, you can probably assume that she has seen your email rant. And unless she has incredibly thick skin, odds are that she's feeling hurt and offended. Expressing contrition may not erase the problem, but it might reduce the emotional damage.

For example: "Last week, I mistakenly sent you an email meant for my husband. Because I'd had a tough day, I was venting my frustrations and made some negative comments about you, which I truly regret. I hope you can disregard my stupid statements, because I really do value our working relationship."

To avoid future email catastrophes, remember these precautions: Never insult anyone in writing, and always check the "to" line before hitting send.

Comments
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. What’s more telling is what I didn’t do.I didn’t hose down a muddy tent, I didn’t soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting won’t be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting won’t be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Bill’s founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Bill’s founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA — Like his father, who founded the Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/19/18
Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

Global Tampa Bay initiative seeks to grow direct foreign investment through expanded regional teamwork

TAMPA — A decade ago, the Great Recession put Hillsborough and Pinellas counties’ efforts to grow their foreign exports on hold.But since then those efforts have returned, gained support and momentum, expanded the range of their ambition and are now ...
Published: 05/18/18
Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida unemployment holds at 3.9 percent, state adds 9,600 jobs

Florida’s economy appears to have plateaued with its unemployment rate holding at 3.9 percent for the seventh straight month, according to the April report released Friday.But some economists say it may be a good thing if the rate doesn’t fall much m...
Published: 05/18/18
Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

Lawsuit over Riverwalk Place tower in downtown Tampa settled

TAMPA — A lawsuit over the mix of residences and offices in the planned $350 million Riverwalk Place tower has been dropped.Last August, Riverwalk Tower Investment-Intown LLC, which had been expected to be one of the developers in the project, filed ...
Published: 05/18/18
Orlando’s new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

Orlando’s new attractions power jump in theme park attendance

By MIKE SCHNEIDERORLANDO — The arms race to build new theme park attractions in Orlando is paying dividends. A new report released this week shows theme park attendance at the largest parks in North America last year was up 2.3 percent, powered by ne...
Published: 05/18/18
How Mosaic’s relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

How Mosaic’s relocation could help Tampa International Airport land a flight to Brazil

Tampa International covets a nonstop flight to São Paulo, Brazil. Mosaic Co, which is moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County, has huge holdings in the country, including several mines. Could Mosaic’s relocation help TIA realize its dream? It ...
Published: 05/18/18
Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

Remember that upscale Guy Harvey RV resort near Tarpon Springs. Forget the Guy Harvey part

HOLIDAY — A year ago this month, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced plans for its first-ever RV park, near Tarpon Springs where the Anclote River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.The $35 million resort, named after the popular Jamaican marine artist...
Published: 05/18/18
American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI — A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades...
Published: 05/18/18