How would you deal with an employee who takes longer lunch breaks?

December is the month of tough conversations on this blog – so today’s question on Q&A Monday fits right in: How would you deal with an employee who takes longer lunch breaks?
Here are my 2 cents: I don’t know what the rules are in your company and if a longer lunch break puts other employees at a disadvantage.
If this is really a problem, have a tough conversation, explain the rules and get commitment, set boundaries and follow through with the consequences should your employee not stick to it.
But, you might also want to consider this:

What if taking a longer lunch break is actually beneficial?

Your employee can be just as unproductive when he’s back from lunch on time but then browsing the internet instead of doing his work or prolonging his “bathroom breaks”. 
In fact, what if he takes his lunch break with colleagues or people from other departments? Then it would help build relationships and foster collaboration. As a result he gets more done, because he can enlist support for/ from the team more easily.

So ask yourself:

What is the problem with the longer lunch? Is it just about the number of minutes? Or is the long lunch a symptom of bad performance? What should you really talk about?
Find out why he is taking longer lunch breaks – does he need the time to recreate and have all his brain power back for the afternoon? What’s the reason?
I believe we should move away from managing people by the time they spend and rather focus on how we bring out the best in them while they are sitting at their desk.
Have a great week!
PS: Got a question you’d like me to answer? Email me!