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Our branch manager is out of the office a good part of the time. Our one support person spends a large part of her day on personal phone calls (1-4 hours), instant messaging, and long lunches (up to 2 hours). I am the one who has to cover for her, and the hard part is that we are somewhat friendly. Without being the company snitch, how can I bring these kinds of infractions to the manager's attention?

When you have a support person who seems to be spending most of her time supporting her friends and the local restaurant, there are a number of actions to consider.

In the first place, since you mentioned that the two of you are friendly, you should talk to her about the situation. The best strategy for such a conversation is to meet with her in private and tell her you need her help. Most people actually like to help others and sense that they are needed, and this is a soft way to open the conversation.

Give some very specific examples of the kinds of problems that have developed because of the hours that she is not putting into the job. Ask her for her thoughts on the situation and what she can do about it.

Hopefully, she will make a commitment to change and then actually do so. If this does not happen, then you should discuss the situation with your branch manager. After all, if he spends more time on the floor, there is no question that your support person will spend more time on her work.

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