How to approach lateness in the workplace

Date: Monday, 29th April, 2019

Ok what’s the best excuse you can think of from an employee as to why they were late? I was here, but fell asleep in the car park or I got on the wrong train!! I’m sure the excuses are endless.

However, lateness is a big problem for employers costing UK businesses an estimated £9 billion a year!!!  So what can you do about it?

Being late is sometimes unavoidable

Be aware that life can sometimes stop your employee from getting to work on time and it can happen to all of us!

However you will need to be clear about how your business treats lateness and the best way is to have a policy for it in your contracts of employment.  Ensure you make employees tell you if they are running late, by whichever means you seem fit, maybe a phone call, text or email. You may also expect employees to stay behind to make up the lost time.

Remember to keep a record of every lateness as it will help you spot when it happens to an employee too often, because it is then it’s time to take action.

When you spot a pattern

If an employee’s continual lateness becomes and everyday occurrence, don’t just assume it’s down to tardiness or that they can’t be bothered, there may be something going on outside of the work environment.

Firstly see if there is anything you can do to help, have an chat to find out if there is a problem, For example, if they’re having difficulty juggling childcare, you could maybe offer flexible working.

However what if it’s just that your employee is  bad at time management?

Reiterate your policy, and hopefully nothing further is needed, however if it still happens then you need to take action.

Follow a formal process

Invite your employee to a formal meeting to discuss their repeated lateness.

Listen to their reasons for being late, then explain your views as to how lateness impacts the business:

  • Unprofessional.
  • Impacts on team morale.
  • Impacts productivity.
  • Affects other people who rely on them.

This will give the employee a good understanding of the importance of being on time.

In conclusion

Use your notes to write a summary of your formal discussion, keep a copy for your records and give the another to your employee.

And if your employee’s punctuality doesn’t improve? You might issue a verbal warning, but hopefully, it won’t get to that. Having a policy in place, people not being late should become a thing of the past, even though some excuses may make you chuckle!!!

If you don’t have a policy in place, don’t worry, get in touch and get started today.

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