Lateness in the workplace can be a frequent problem for many businesses. We all know that sometimes lateness can be unavoidable. This could be caused by travel incidents, whether they be on the road or surrounding train lines. Lateness like this is bound to happen on occasion and therefore should not be a major worry to business owners and employers. This is unavoidable for many businesses however the good thing about this is that it is unlikely to affect all your employees so you will not be severely understaffed should this occur.

As a business owner, what is likely to be a real worry to you is persistent lateness. The problem with persistent lateness is, by definition, its regularity and its tendency to get progressively worse. For example lateness may start with an employee being two minutes late. If this is not addressed, the likelihood is that the employee will continue to take advantage of your apparent leniency. That employee may then start to turn up five minutes late before ultimately more employees see that they can also take advantage of this. If even ten employees turn up to work five minutes late that would amount to almost an hour’s pay for work that has not been completed. As an employer you must ensure that if an employee arrives late they should be asked first of all why they are not on time and the instance should be recorded. By keeping records of not only how often an employee is late but also what excuses they use, you can either ensure that you correct the problem or, in more serious cases, take disciplinary action.

As an employer the management of your workforce is key. You need to ensure that everyone is in the workplace and committed to the work they do. Allowing an employee to be persistently late could have major repercussions in terms of the commitment of the rest of your workforce. Cases such as this aren’t always immediately noticeable to some employers but you can be sure that they are noticeable to the rest of your workforce and you should therefore try to spot these problems as early as possible. What you don’t want to happen is for them to become demotivated when they feel certain employees are not pulling their weight. This is one of the main reasons why problems such as this should be corrected early. If it is corrected early it will stop patterns emerging with the rest of your employees and also help to ensure that your entire workforce is committed and going in the same direction.

Five areas to consider when dealing with lateness in the workplace:

  • Try to deal with this problem as early as possible to stop repeat instances.
  • Ensure that you record not only when but what excuses an employee uses when they are late.
  • Be seen to be recording which employees are late to set your stall to the rest of your workforce.
  • Ensure that you differentiate between persistent lateness and unavoidable lateness but reiterate that both are a problem.
  • Don’t forget the bigger picture – persistent lateness will affect the rest of your workforce

by Michael Renzulli

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