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INVISION’s Latest Real Deal Scenario

The Case of the Office Slacker!

What do you do when certain employees become less efficient than others?

The team at Dr. Mark’s Family Eyecare was wrapping up their monthly meeting when Dr. Mark posed the last question, “How is everyone doing — not enough to do, can’t catch up…? Anyone need any help with anything?”

As each staff member took their turn, nearly all agreed that things are going well and there has been no workload stressors. The last two employees, both opticians, were up next to voice their concerns.

I have no complaints — I pace myself throughout the day, complete all of my tasks daily and leave early or come in late when staffing permits.” Optician Marla added, “I’m happy to cut a few hours to enjoy some downtime before my household gets loud for the evening.”

After Marla concluded, the staff looked to the other optician, Sylvia. “I could definitely use some help with my workload.” Sylvia sighed, “I am never able to come in late or leave early. I have trays with new orders or jobs to check in everywhere, and I would like to not have to work 45 hours a week just to complete the basic tasks.”

“Thank you for keeping us updated, everyone.” Dr. Mark added, “Sylvia, Dr. Mason and I will chat and see what we can do to help you out.”

Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual businesses and people.

The two doctors sat down the next day to discuss the workload differences between the two opticians. Dr. Mason began, “Didn’t we have this same workload issue come up a while back, and we made some changes then, to help Sylvia?”

“Yes, we did — almost a year ago.” Dr. Mark continued, “We shifted several tasks to make sure that between the two opticians they were helping the same amount of patients, checking in the same amount of jobs, balanced out the rep visits and a few other things.”

Dr. Mason responded, “If all of their tasks are equitable, then why on earth is Sylvia working nearly ten hours a week more than Marla?”

“I think it’s simply a matter of efficiency.” Dr. Mark added, “Even when we take things off her workload, she somehow readjusts to the lighter load and becomes even less efficient, doing less than before.”

“Do we need to give her more work so she will be more efficient?” Dr. Mason suggested.

Dr. Mark laughed, “I don’t know how effective that would be. Nor would the opposite — taking away more work — wouldn’t be fair to Marla, or any of the other staff, for that matter.”

“Another point I may mention… Why are we paying her to work more hours, and overtime, when she gets less work done than everyone else?” Dr. Mason retorted.

“This is a touchy one. We definitely shouldn’t be paying her for extra hours, when she completes less work, comparably to the others. Dr. Mark continued, “We also cannot continue to lessen her workload and shift tasks to others, it’s certainly not fair to others.”

“Do you think the inefficiency is on purpose?” Dr. Mason concluded, “A classic case of ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’?”


1. How would you address determining if this was possibly purposeful ‘slacking’ behavior with Sylvia?

2. How do you keep the efficient employees motivated while improving the efficiency of the lagging employee without demoralizing them?

3. Does your office have a measurable way to assess and balance staff efficiency?

INVISION’s Latest Real Deal Scenario

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