“Didn’t happen to me, but a friend of mine.
He worked in a private local company. At the end of 2017, the owner of the company changed which means the head of the board of directors changed (let’s call the new guy Jim). Obviously, Jim wanted to make some changes himself, mostly to establish dominance and show he’s the new sheriff in town. Rumors say he promised to double the company’s profit in a single year (remember this). There’s a thin line between ambitious and arrogant.
The first move he made didn’t have anything to do with the increasing work efficiency or meeting heads of departments or actually knowing the work that is done in that company. Jim had installed one of those time clock machines where employees check-in when they get to work and check out when they’re done.
Only they didn’t have tokens, but cards. Installation and writing guidelines took about a week after which he announced to heads of departments that every employee must check-in and check out themself even when they’re going out just for a break. Also, heads of departments should’ve forward this news to employees. The thing officially started the second or third week in January of 2018.
At first, employees didn’t take it so seriously and some of them didn’t check-in/out every day or didn’t (sometimes even forgot to) note down their breaks. At the end of the week, Jim would go through every employee’s record to see does any of them have less than 40 hours. (Notice he wasn’t interested in those who had more than 40 hours.) A friend told me that most of the employees were in the range 38–45 working hours and a very few around 37 but none under 37. Jim called for a meeting with heads of departments every Friday to inform them about the records and to warn those who work less. Also, there was no compensation for those who work more (stay late or work on weekends).
Employees protested about that kind of behavior and wanted time to clock out. That only made Jim push that thing even more and convinced the board of directors and the owner that the time clock is necessary. So it passed.
The thing is that the work climate has changed. Everyone was more concentrated on if they checked in and if they worked enough than the actual work and the pressure started to build up. The thing went on for two whole months until most of the employees (a friend said 80% but maybe he exaggerated a bit) decided to come to work, check-in, work their 8 hours at a moderate pace, check out and head home. No overtime, no working weekends, if the clock hit 16:00 people would leave mid-work or in the middle of the meeting not giving a shred of an F. Their excuse was that they did their 8 hours and if they want them to stay, they want a written notice (which is a proof of working overtime and must be paid).
This way every single employee had 40 working hours a week and not a minute more or less. But you know what? Jim wasn’t satisfied. Why? Because work suffered. He made the employees numbers and working slaves that have only one purpose – to work. This killed all the passion people had towards the job they were doing. It demoralized people. They had a feeling that someone is standing above their head every second of the day. And the time clock might not be a bad thing to check employees every once in a while, but to terrorize them like Jim did make them do anything just in spite of that work regime.
After 3 and a half months, the moment of truth came. The first quartal report came. It was a bit better than the last year so Jim stayed at his position. Employees continued with their strike. The second quartal report came and the profit was ~8% less than the same period of the previous year (maybe 9% I don’t remember). Jim ascribed it to a bad economy in the country and stayed at his position. Employees were informed about the drop in profit which made them to continue their strike. The third quartal report came. The company’s profit was down by an amazing 34% compared to the same period of the previous year. Jim was fired on the spot (even though his mandate was supposed to last 5 years) and the time clock was left just to control employees every now and then.
Conclusion: Treat your employees as humans which they are and maybe consult someone about your radical actions.”