management insight

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realolman

Senior Member
Wow, you could just try treating your employees like people and see how that works. Hour on Friday every now and then,if they've been doing a good job all week, never hurt anyone.

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Really... I hate people nitpicking about a couple minutes here or there... one way or another. I gotta work a little long ...so what.... I take a little long break ...so what again.

I gotta troublehoot something, I can get into it and be aware of downtime, or I can go through the motions... you wanna hafta watch guys every minute, or you wanna be able to trust them to make good decisions when you aren't there.

And please spare me the two minutes times ten guys times five days etc.... anyone can work a calculator. You're dealing with people.. a ten minute break doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway... ain't even worth takin.

Glad I don't work for the OP.
 

hardworkingstiff

Senior Member
Location
Wilmington, NC
I get to and start working on the jobsites usually at about 8:00 am. I work straight to 11:45 am. I stop for lunch. At 11:51 am, I strap the tools back on and then continue to work until 5 or 6 at which time I sweep up my mess and then drive home. There is nothing sweeter than the one man shop syndrome......:roll: What is this break thing you are referring to?
Go 1-man shop, lol. :D

Break? I try not to break......... anything.

Actually, I take breaks often. Stop and speak with other tradesman, discuss oil spills, work, economy, weapons, etc. etc. ..... oh yea, I try to get things done during the day.
 

stevenj76

Senior Member
The foreman's job is to make the GC laugh and suck up. This makes the company alot more money than if the FM strapped on the tool-belt and hung a few boxes when he had a second to spare.

To the OP. You should give your guys two 'Poop-Passes' in their next paycheck. That way they don't have to drop the tools, run to the pot, squeeze it out, wipe, wash, run back, AND try to get a snack eaten, in under ten minutes. Squeezing that hard and fast on the bowels leads to hemorrhoids. That can lead to surgery, which will increase the health insurance costs, however, you probably don't pay insurance, NICE SAVE!
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
Really... I hate people nitpicking about a couple minutes here or there... one way or another. I gotta work a little long ...so what.... I take a little long break ...so what again.

I gotta troublehoot something, I can get into it and be aware of downtime, or I can go through the motions... you wanna hafta watch guys every minute, or you wanna be able to trust them to make good decisions when you aren't there.

And please spare me the two minutes times ten guys times five days etc.... anyone can work a calculator. You're dealing with people.. a ten minute break doesn't amount to a hill of beans anyway... ain't even worth takin.

Glad I don't work for the OP.
I agree 100%. Had a supervisor that was so picky about when we took our breaks, that we began to turn around and walk away from him while he was in the middle of explaining something, when he got mad about it, we just reminded him that it was his rule that we took a break from 9:00-9:15, not whenever we felt like it. And no one would sit with him at lunch because he always wanted to talk about work. He soon figured out that being strict wasn't working out very well
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Wow, you could just try treating your employees like people and see how that works. Hour on Friday every now and then,if they've been doing a good job all week, never hurt anyone.
As a job foreman that would be the same as me stealing from the owner.

I was on one of our jobs on Thursday, we had about 16 guys on site, an extra 30 minutes for lunch on Friday would cost the job 8 hours. In this economy there is no room for 'lost time'.

Would I like it if there was? Of course but the reality is the guys must be producing while they are being paid. Luckily most of our field guys understand that.

Now I run the service group for the company, the guys that work under me are a great bunch of hard workers and I would love to throw them a bone to say thanks but I also have to keep our group profitable or we could all be gone. Again the guys understand this because I am up front with them about it.
 

ohmhead

Senior Member
Location
ORLANDO FLA
I need help with a situation i was invovled in today - for the last 3 months or so ive been running a project and onlt taking one break - with that being said today i got in trouble because stae mandates that we take 2 10 minute breaks and 1 30 minute break totaling 50 minutes a day. ive been taking one 25 minute a day. my reasoning has been because the 50 minute break actually turns into a 110 minute once the employees gat to where there going and back. - i need help with this situation because my company is threating to strip me of my title due to lawsuits. - i got pretty steamed and would like any info on how to deal with ordeal professionally
Well i found that if you use a little sugar you get more work out of your workers we get a 15 minute break at 9.30 and 30 minutes lunch at 12 noon .

I work with my crew hands on but i also spend time in the office the ones who make the rules spend more time talking about rules then doing something to help the job.



If you want to save time get our material to us on time !

If you want to save time make a phone call get us information !

If you want to save time stop wasting time with speeches about yourself .

If you want to save time when you call us into the trailer for a weekly meeting try and be there on time !

If you want to save time walk the job once in a while see whats going on whats holding us up .


What i found working in this trade is the worst rule makers are the ones who were the slackers if they spent time in the field but most of them never did real electrical work for more the one or two years but they know it all !

I see people playing games on computers in office going to lunch for 2 hours not coming in on time taking time off more than needed talking not job related using the company phone for there personal use and time .

The best is they have a monthly birthday party in the office with cake and gifts what a joke !

But dont forget we make it happen bubba you dont !
 
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jeremysterling

Senior Member
Location
Austin, TX
Not required here either, but we still get them. I won't go so far as to say there given as a bonus though.
The men under me sometimes insist they are legally due lunch and break, but in Texas we follow Federal standards for breaks and lunches, that is to say, no required breaks (until 8 hours). Company policy is to break 9:00 to 9:15 (paid) and 11:45 to 12:30 (unpaid). Scheduled shift is 7:00 to 3:45.

On the last high rise job, the buck hoist congestion at lunch was causing men returning from lunch to be getting back in the tower around 30 minutes late. The company shifted its policy, to allow those who brought their lunch up into the tower (ironically going against the GC's "no food in the tower" policy) a 30 minute lunch. Therefore, we left at 3:30 beating some of the traffic.

If there is no buck hoist or similar issue, the 45 minute lunch stands. I agree with the company's viewpoint that stopping work and leaving the jobsite to eat lunch takes longer than 30 minutes.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
As a job foreman that would be the same as me stealing from the owner.
That's a crock
No that is a fact, it would be the same as me telling the guys it is OK to take wire home, it is not mine to give.




I was on one of our jobs on Thursday, we had about 16 guys on site, an extra 30 minutes for lunch on Friday would cost the job 8 hours. In this economy there is no room for 'lost time'.
Anybody can run a calculator
You are right, but many forget that time multiplies quickly and at an average hourly burden at about $50.00 that 8 hr gift cost the company $400.00.

You really have idea how tight jobs are going for you think that there is enough extra time in the job to give it away.

It used to be that way, when we busy doing dot com work we would get all kinds of perks, extra paid days off, nice lunches brought to the jobs, Home Depot gift cards etc. It is not like that now.

All that said the OP should give the employees the breaks as directed by the company and should not be changing things on their own.
 

satcom

Senior Member
No that is a fact, it would be the same as me telling the guys it is OK to take wire home, it is not mine to give.








You are right, but many forget that time multiplies quickly and at an average hourly burden at about $50.00 that 8 hr gift cost the company $400.00.

You really have idea how tight jobs are going for you think that there is enough extra time in the job to give it away.
In todays market that kind of give away can help sink your business, we just had an industrial account call us in to bid their maint and project work, they are finding it hard to control costs.
 

realolman

Senior Member
You really have idea how tight jobs are going for you think that there is enough extra time in the job to give it away.
I know how much time I spend on this forum with my paltry number of posts... It's hard for me to imagine how you are doing what you do without doing it on company time.

That is what rubs the wrong way ... the hypocrisy of it. Management sits on their rears all day every day in really nice chairs, and air conditioning, and tells others they can't sit on a pallet for 11 minutes !?!

Also, there are different situations... I suppose I can see your point much better on construction jobs.

I have worked with the same guys and the same boss for 30 + years in a troubleshooting, modification, and construction industrial atmosphere. The company management are far more dependent on us than they would like to admit. If I take initiative, something that doesn't necessarily need to happen ,can happen... and does happen many times every week... because I have a work ethic... not because some klaxon supervisor knows when it's 9:16.

Somebody wants to start being a by the book Frank Burns type jerk, it won't happen. We get paid overtime when we work lunch... any part of it... and then we still get lunch later. Sometimes I put in for it and sometimes I don't.. I really am not that concerned.. I can spend five, ten, fifteen minutes and get or keep a production line going, or I can go eat lunch and it'll go down.... We have sophisticated technical equipment the manufacturers don't even know how it works much of the time. ... some two bit manager thinks he can tell me exactly what to do , when, and how, with no input on my part ....just start pissing about breaks... see what happens to your production when we go by the book.

Anyone can run a calculator ... not everyone can run people ... and people are who will make or break you.
 
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George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
Realolman, I am amazed. We lost every single commercial job we bid on by huge margins, for the most part. I can guarantee that the winners of those jobs sincerely don't have an extra $400 a week sitting in the bid. You're either in an extremely insulated position economically, or haven't grasped how bad things really are around you.

Estimating is a much bigger gamble than slot machines, I'll be glad to return to working with my hands exclusively, myself.
 

stevenje

Senior Member
Location
Yachats Oregon
It always amazes me. Management will bitch and moan about the all money they loose because of long breaks and lunches, but will have the crew stand around from lack of tools and material or lack of direction and information. We have all been there. I have worked on jobs that lost so much money because the foreman couldn't plan 5 minutes ahead. Everyday was a firedrill. That's where the real money is lost.
 

realolman

Senior Member
Realolman, I am amazed. We lost every single commercial job we bid on by huge margins, for the most part. I can guarantee that the winners of those jobs sincerely don't have an extra $400 a week sitting in the bid. You're either in an extremely insulated position economically, or haven't grasped how bad things really are around you.

Estimating is a much bigger gamble than slot machines, I'll be glad to return to working with my hands exclusively, myself.
I posted what I do and in what setting. I am an industrial mechanic. I do other things besides electrical work (GASP! ...I can't think of the derogetory name some of the sparkies in this forum use for people who do that! ) which is one of the reasons I believe we are in better shape than many people who specialize in one thing.

Do you really think the "huge margins" by which you lost jobs is due to workers taking too long on breaks? You did not take that into account when bidding the jobs, did you, so it has to be something else.

My guess is more like the second or third generation of owners is living doggone well on the accomplishments of the founders of companies, the high officials are making sweetheart deals with the high officials of other companies, and the office is glutted with managers doing who the heck knows what..... tracking time spent on breaks...


I will go to my grave thinking you will get more from a respected, motivated, employee than you will by slave driving them. I know you will from me.

I believe my company has gained literally millions of dollars by my actions that I did not necessarily "have " to do... and lost thousands because I take too long at break.... sometimes... sometimes I don't take a break at all... if the situation is important. somebody who is not familiar with the business, and can't do anything but run a calculator will miss the largest part of that equation.

The economy stinks. Maybe there is simply not construction work to be had. look in Dubai.... cutting breaks and each other's throats, and treating employees like slaves is not gonna help that.

Go ahead.... don't pay any attention... I must be wrong...... Hire cheap, nit pick, don't reward initiative or work ethic, support acouple generations of owners kids.. and hire two or three office employees to analyze, track and control the minutes spent on breaks.

throw the baby out with the bath water
 
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wawireguy

Senior Member
Companies that worry about 5 mins on breaks won't be in business long. They suck and people come and go from them because they suck. As soon as a better offer comes along everyone jumps ship. Run your company how ever you want but you better abide by the states mandated break rules if you are going to play games like that with your employees.
 

USMC1302

Senior Member
Location
NW Indiana
This has been an interesting topic. I guess I am more on the "management" end, but am always on site with the tools and in the trench more than not. I agree with Iwire. I guess there will always be too much USMC in my blood when it comes to dealing with "motivating" workers. The vast majority of people I have ever worked with do what they're supposed to do, We all need a kick in the pants at times, just like a "job well done" when appropriate goes a long way. More "rules" are made up when dealing with mopes that don't belong there in the first place. If I have to worry about what you're doing when I'm not there, you're not the kind of person I want around for long But instead of dealing with that individual, we end up punishing everyone with asinine edicts. All I want is an honest days work for an honest days pay. Try reading " A message to Garcia", 5 minute book max. But just as valid today as it was when it was written over 110 years ago...
 

George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
realolman said:
Do you really think the "huge margins" by which you lost jobs is due to workers taking too long on breaks? You did not take that into account when bidding the jobs, did you, so it has to be something else.
I think you missed my point. My point is, with the labor dialed to a bare minimum on a bid, the estimator or owner take a large gamble that the job will take less time than they estimate. If it takes more, you're directly pulling that labor from the company bank account. It will kill a company. There is no fat to get that money from in a bid anymore.

I understand that long breaks aren't the only thing that kills productivity, but it is one very manageable factor. I would rather have a job than be bored taking long breaks anyway.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
That is what rubs the wrong way ... the hypocrisy of it. Management sits on their rears all day every day in really nice chairs, and air conditioning, and tells others they can't sit on a pallet for 11 minutes !?!
You are really off the mark if you think that describes me.

Thursaday I was upside down in a trench fixing a broken conduit with dirt filling my ear.

Friday I was up in a crawl space troubleshooting some power wiring later in the day on a roof fixing an exhaust fan.


Somebody wants to start being a by the book Frank Burns type jerk, it won't happen.
I do not believe that anyone under me would describe me as a Frank Burns. Some would call me an SOB and I was to those lazy workers.


Anyone can run a calculator ... not everyone can run people ... and people are who will make or break you.
The guys work all hours for me they know I appreciate their work and will not hesitate to jump in and do the same things I ask of them.
 
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