How do you keep employees from bringing their outside life “baggage” into the workplace? This is such a common and often asked question I get from clients.
I am not talking about employees that are dealing with stressful life issues, such as terminal illness in their family, divorce, or personal family issues. Even these types of situations have their place, such as a mention for understanding, but not a continued conversation that would interrupt the flow of business being done.
What employers do not want are the petty things that people will bring into the workplace and allow them to take over their priorities and often their coworkers at work. Everyone knows that Mary and Bob broke off their relationship and it is the talk of the office for days, weeks and possibly months. This is the type of personal baggage that does not belong at work.
It is okay to mention that your daughter’s wedding is coming up or to share about a special event or a vacation. It is when your coworkers know more about the wedding or trip than family members, that there is a problem.
Employers pay their employees to perform a job for their company. When employees bring in outside “baggage” to share and it becomes a distraction and time is taken from work tasks employers are not getting what they are paying for and this is not right. When time is wasted not doing what you are being paid for it is stealing time from your employer.
How do you think employees who bring “baggage” into work would feel if their employer docked their pay for every minute they spent talking about “their issues” along with every minute they distracted their coworkers from doing their work?
Do you think they would get the message? “Please leave your baggage at the door!”