Punctuality shows someone is well-organized, serious, and respects others and their time. It communicates dedication to a role, professionalism, and commitment. Lack of punctuality is unnerving, especially in the workplace.
How do you manage employee lateness?
Be clear and consistent in how you choose to address unpunctuality. Include a company policy in your employee handbook and share it with your team. Your policy should detail the rules to follow when an employee is late and any disciplinary measures employees face in the case of repeat offenses. In more severe cases, these can include termination.
1. Set guidelines
You should instruct your employees to inform you if they are going to be late. You can specify how you’d like to be informed – by text, phone, or another channel. You might ask your employees to compensate for the lost time later that week or on the day itself.
2. Keep records
One easy way to keep records of lateness is with a timesheet calculator. This powerful management tool was designed to help people and companies track and calculate how many hours their employees worked. It does away with the need for manual calculation and timekeeping, providing an accurate and automatic method of recording work hours, overtime, breaks, and other relevant details.
Timesheet calculators and time-tracking systems are often used together. These tools let employees log their hours electronically, and managers have easy access to the data, which they can analyze.
3. Understand habitual lateness
If you have an employee who’s chronically late, it might be helpful to understand why. Have a meeting with them to discuss their continuous unpunctuality. Listen to their reasons and document what you talked about and decided.
There will always be bad weather, horrid traffic jams, and sudden flu onsets. At least one of those must have affected you at some point; managers are far from immune.
It seems like some people can’t help being late. They perceive time differently than others, San Diego State University found in a study. It’s not great that one of those people happens to be an employee you rely on, but chronic tardiness can go hand in hand with unique abilities, like high creativity, which is very valuable. A compromise is worth exploring.
It’s a whole other story if you have a previously punctual employee who’s suddenly late all of the time. The root cause of their behavior is essential. It might be as simple as a construction site popping up along their route to work or something more serious – a personal problem, waning motivation to show up at work, or a medical condition. Maybe they need a more flexible work schedule.
4. Communicate that you expect changes
Whatever the cause of the problem, be clear that you want changes. Give concrete examples of their lateness to substantiate your feedback. Point out that habitual lateness is financially damaging to the company and detrimental to the team’s productivity. Your employee must understand the significance of being on time.
Avoid personal or vague comments. People are more likely to listen to objective and concrete feedback.
5. Make employees’ lives easier
Before you proceed to discipline a chronically late employee, make clocking in and out for shifts as easy as possible. If flexible working hours are possible, they are worth exploring. Remote work should be an option for employees with especially arduous routes to the office, at least one or two days a week. If an employee has become disengaged with work, speak to them openly about what could get them back on board.
If employees are finding out their shift times at the last minute, invest in scheduling tools to create more effective schedules in less time. This could reduce lateness.
These tools also set up shift reminders, which are useful if lateness is due to forgetting. This can take a load off the minds of employees and managers alike.