Are you an employer or manager frustrated with an employee always late to work?
Or are you an employee guilty as charged, but thinking ‘it’s only a few minutes, what’s the big deal?’
Employees being late to work is an issue that causes a surprising amount of tension in the workplace! Let’s look at it from both sides.
Employers and managers – how to deal with an employee always late to work
Occasional lateness is not a cause for concern, especially if your employee calls to let you know and is apologetic, and offers to make up lost time. The unexpected such as roadworks and excessive traffic can make us all late from time to time.
Chronic lateness however is not only frustrating, but may be impacting your bottom line. A recent study in the retail industry revealed that a 1 percent increase in lateness and absenteeism resulted in a 2.3 percent decline in daily sales!
Chronic employee lateness needs to be addressed quickly to ensure it doesn’t become habitual. Here’s how:
Communicate your expectations
Frustration occurs when our expectations aren’t met, and people can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are.
Communicate to your team what you want them to do if they are running late. Do they call and speak to you? Call another manager? Or is a text message enough, and if so, who to?
Document your expectations
Ensure this is documented in your attendance policy and procedures or employee handbook.
If an employee is late and doesn’t follow your procedure, redirect them to your expectation. “Hey, Jo, you were in 10 minutes late this morning and didn’t let anyone know. We were concerned about you. Next time can you please follow our process.”
Follow up on your expectations
If it happens again, discuss with your employee whether there is an ongoing, unavoidable reason they can’t make it to work on time. If so, if your workplace allows, you might consider changing their start time. If not, ask what they will do to ensure they make it on time from now on.
Of course if the lateness continues a performance discussion is in order, as long as you’re certain you’ve given them clear instructions and every chance to meet your expectations.
Are you an employee always late to work?
Why is being late to work such a big deal?
If you’re an employee always late to work, consider how it impacts others.
The first affect might surprise you, but if you are late to work without notice, your manager and teammates might be concerned about your welfare! Put their mind at ease and let them know what’s happened and when you’ll be in. Apologise and thank everyone it’s affected when you arrive.
Others may have to do your work. When you are late, perhaps your teammates have to take up the slack, answering your calls, completing your tasks, or dealing with customers until you arrive.
Customer service times may be impacted. Depending on the type of work you do, you might have customers or clients waiting and getting frustrated, or even leaving before being served. Even if you’re not serving customers directly, your lateness might delay delivery of service or products.
You look unprofessional. Chronic lateness can come across as a lack of commitment to work, and being inconsiderate of others. It’s certainly not a trait that’s admired or respected.
Your lateness is costing the business money. Wages is one of the biggest expenses of a business. It may not seem like much, but if you miss 10 minutes of work a day over five days a week, that’s over a full week of work in a year … work that you are being paid for, but not doing.
This may not concern you at first, but the more money a business has the more it can spend on resources to make your work easier; improving the workplace; and yes … bonuses and pay rises for deserving staff. At the very least, apologising and offering to make up the time later shows your employer that you understand and appreciate this.
Whether it’s through business coaching, executive coaching, team development workshops, or leadership and management training, we help leaders and employees understand each other and work more effectively together for the benefit of the business or organisation.