Student employees in Dining Services will no longer be able to do their homework while on the job after the department introduced reformed business models and policies this year.
The changes took effect this fall and will continue to be monitored throughout the year. This summer, the department reformed its policies to make business more professional and profitable.
“The policies are to help us do better business and make sure we are treating our employees the same,” Gayle Lamb, operations manager for Dining Services, said. “Students are here to learn how to be professional and how to be out in the real world.”
Lamb said the department is too large to monitor its many locations if each operates under a different policy, so Dining Services used the View as testing ground this summer and took the policies it instituted there to apply to the rest of the Dining Services department.
Dining Services’ major goal this summer was to manage policies that caused distractions for employees, such as use of cellphones, laptops and eating while on the job.
“Some of the things that we are really trying to monitor are no homework while working. Because we are in a customer service business, you need to be focused on the customer,” Lamb said. “You’re handling people’s food; you don’t want to be handling papers and then go handle food and forget to wash your hands.”
Sophomore Gretchen Hoffman expressed interest in working at Summit Marketplace and said she wouldn’t mind the policy changes because she enjoys working in customer service.
“They are probably getting policy changes because they don’t want students slacking at the job and not taking it seriously,” Hoffman said.
Lamb said the policy reformation is simply a process for doing good business. Although some students understand Dining Services’ concerns, not all agree that a policy change is the most practical route.
Junior Paul Frekot said he has only experienced one incident where student employees were too distracted to serve him.
“It’s fair because it technically is a work environment, but I don’t believe that it’s the best policy change,” Frekot said. “I think as soon as a customer walks in, student employees should be required to put whatever they are doing down so they will be ready to help them when they need assistance.”
Lamb said observing the work of students this summer gave her further reason to update the policy.
“I found this summer when I had kids on their iPhones and kids on their laptops and any of those days their money never balanced because they weren’t paying attention,” Lamb said.
Hoffman agrees that the policy change will allow students to be more focused on their job duties and more willing to help customers.
“I don’t think I would mind this rule because I doubt that I would be able to focus on getting any homework done while I’m working … I would get too distracted,” Hoffman said.
Zach Zumbusch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.