Workplace Issues

How To Deal With Employees Who Are Late To Work

Written by mrafeeq · 4 min read >
Employees being late to work

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Employees being late to work

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

An employee who is consistently late can cause problems for a manager on several fronts; there’s the impact on service delivery or productivity; the loss of goodwill from their colleagues if it’s not managed effectively; and damage to company reputation if they’re customer-facing. These are just some of the more obvious problems.

If the employee works for you, you will be expected to resolve the situation, but how do you do it? What do you say? What can you do? What if it doesn’t work?

You’ll be relieved to know there are several options open to you, and they are simple to put into effect.

The first thing you need to do is prepare for the conversation you will have with them. The conversation needn’t take long. First, you need to check what company policy is concerning lateness. Is it considered to be a discipline issue? Does it go to a discipline meeting, or do you have the power to give certain sanctions locally? How does it fit with your company discipline policy? Is pay docked?

With regards to the individual, how often have they been late? When and how late have they been? Is there a pattern, for example, does it coincide with Mondays, weekends or night shifts? Is this the first time they have been spoken to? What has been done before in similar cases? (This is important to ensure you treat everyone fairly.) What leeway is there for giving people time or support for improvement? For instance, do you have the power to vary work patterns? Will they have the right to have somebody accompany them at any meetings with you?

Now you’ve done your preparation; you need to talk to the individual. It is crucial to allow them to tell you why they have been late. Having specific dates and times enables them to give you detailed answers in return. Do they have transport problems? A health condition? Childcare issues? There may be a variety of reasons they have for being late. It would help if you listened to them, then you can decide what you are going to do, and as always in business, the better the information, the better the decision.

As a manager, there are things you can do to help ensure the problem is resolved. You can make your expectations clear to the individual; you can look at a temporary or permanent variation to work patterns (providing this is within your company policy and fits the business). You can give them time to improve by company policy. You will be able to identify what will and won’t work both within your team and with that individual. And, more importantly, what is appropriate.

You need to note the conversation and, ideally, get the employee to sign it as accurate. If you want to take things further, you don’t want to start from the beginning again.

Deal with the problem promptly and fairly, and the individual will improve (or suffer the consequences you will have warned them about); their colleagues will be reassured that they’re not expected to carry extra work; your service or productivity levels will be maintained, and you won’t have to worry about struggling to defend your actions if things get messy.

What’s Causing Your Employees to Be Late?

It’s not easy to track down why employees are arriving late. But it does seem to be a chronic problem for many organisations. So what’s the root cause?

It could be that there are too many meetings in the morning or that the manager is not taking time to show appreciation for their work. It might also be that there are too many distractions in the workplace or that they’re just not getting enough sleep. And when you don’t know what’s causing your employees to be late, you can’t fix it.

Encourage Early Arrival with Rewards and Incentives

A company can reward employees for coming in early, make it an incentive program. This will encourage the employees to come in earlier and set a good example for their co-workers.

A company can make it an incentive program or policy to incentivise their employees to come in earlier. Forcing all employees to leave simultaneously may not be the best idea because some people might have problems getting home on time, especially if they live far away from work. The company should encourage early arrival by rewarding them with rewards and incentives instead.

Have a Consistent Punishment for the Same Behavior

The best way to ensure that your employees treat your customers appropriately is to have a consistent punishment for the same behaviour.

It’s essential to set clear boundaries and consequences for all employees, even if it seems like something silly. The last thing you want is for an employee who has been scolded once, only to go back and do the same thing again. They might not be reprimanded as severely as they should be because they know they can get away with it again.

Monitor Every Employee’s Time on the Clock Systematically

With a time monitoring system, you can ensure that every employee is working in the correct amount of time.

For example, if you run a factory with hundreds of employees, you want to ensure that each employee takes the correct amount of breaks. For this reason, time monitoring systems are becoming increasingly popular in many factories.

Some companies also use them when they monitor the work hours of their employees. The company clock system will provide an easy way for managers and supervisors to keep track of how many hours each employee has worked and how many they should be working.

Provide a Healthy Work-Life Balance that Satisfies Employee Needs

Employees need to have a healthy work-life balance to be more productive and satisfied with their job. Therefore, companies should encourage their employees to spend time outside of work. This may include taking a break from their desk, going on a walk, or talking with co-workers.

In recent years, companies have taken steps in the right direction, but it is still possible to do more in the future. Some ways they can do this is by encouraging workers to take vacations and providing them with flexible work hours that meet the needs of each person.

Be Empathetic

We can’t pinpoint a specific reason, but many of our employees have been struggling with fatigue lately. Some could be dealing with insomnia, single parents might have to deal with school pickups and drops, and others might be on medication for some other condition that makes them sleep more than usual. It could be something on their vehicle or on how they’re getting around. Make sure to find out what it is and work out a plan to deal with their situation. Offer them options for flexible working hours, especially at the beginning of the week when they’re wide awake.

Conclusion: The critical thing to remember is that, however sympathetic you might (or might not) feel, there are very few organisations where it is not the employee’s responsibility to get themselves to work on time. That is what should be at the core of your discussion with them. With patience and understanding, we believe there are ways for everyone — employee included — to feel better in the workplace environment. Taking care of this issue is one of the most important aspects of running a business. There are many different ways to solve this problem, and it all depends on the type of business you have. For example, a personal assistant might be enough for smaller companies, while a document management system can benefit more complex issues.

As a boss, do you mind if the employee finishes work efficiently and leave earlier while others sit late? Do add your thoughts in the comments below,


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