If you're a workaholic, you can easily obsess over productivity. You do your best to plot out your day and try to accomplish a specific number of deliverables in a specific amount of time, so you can then have a few hours dedicated to yet another project you've been working on, all before the end of the day so you can the fully relax. In fact, you find it almost impossible to relax unless you've ticked off everything on your box.
And while it's great to be efficient and to have a strong work ethic, there are definitely times when it's best to read a particular situation and understand when you're demanding too much of yourself and others. Especially if you're a manager of hourly employees who are being worked pretty hard.
Being a great business manager means doing whatever is necessary to keep a business running and understanding that this goal isn't mutually exclusive to treating the employees you oversee with kindness and compassion. Sure, there are tons of corporate policies folks are expected to implement in order to keep productivity high, but those will fall flat if you've got a workforce who resents you and the company they work for.
Which is probably why so many people are shocked at a viral TikTok that shows a manager at Chewy, an e-commerce pet store that was acquired by PetSmart in 2017, ringing a cowbell to signify the end of an employee's break and that they should get back to work.
In the video, a Chewy employee accosts a manager who rings the cowbell 4 minutes before their break is over in the cafeteria seating style lunchroom. The employee tells the manager that as workers they have rights and are entitled to a 30-minute break and can't work an 8-hour uninterrupted shift.
The caption for the video uploaded by @kearyalaniz reads: "No matter what you do DO NOT shop at Chewy or Pet Smart. It is a horrible company that abuses its employees. Subjects them to sick games like ringing cowbells DURING BREAK. They routinely harass and fire their good employees so do NOT support Chewy.com SHARE THIS! It's very true and thousands of other people can vouch for this."
TikTokers who saw the clip were shocked to see a manager ring a cowbell to signify the end of a break. Others tagged the company on TikTok stating that they "view your employees as cattle." Others encouraged delivery drivers to unionize, while some TikTokers who said they used to work for the company reported that they were fired for asking for a raise."
Like Amazon, Chewy's business model almost relies entirely on its ability to deliver products as quickly as possible, which means that whoever is working their warehouses, loading trucks, and then hitting the roads to place them at people's doors probably have a lot on their plate.
This is especially true post-pandemic because although a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are seeing customers trickle back in after COVID, it's hard to deny that there wasn't a massive commercial shift that occurred as a result of global lockdown, quarantine, mask, and social distancing responses to COVID.
As a result, many delivery-based companies have reaped tremendous financial benefits that have persisted even after global mandates have been lifted.
What do you think of using a cowbell to signal the end of an employee's break? Are they just using one because it's a pet supply company? Or is this never OK?