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7 Tips on How to Tackle Office Tardiness

16 March 2022

When employees report late for their jobs, there is usually an underlying reason behind it. Then it happens more than once and before you know it, the tardiness has become chronic. This is when the supervisor or manager must step in to address the tardiness.

It’s more likely that people follow the designated call time. But there are times that unforeseen circumstances will happen and will result in the person reporting late for work. Managers need not worry about these occasional instances; it only becomes a problem when the employee always reports late for work.

Why is tardiness considered a problem in the workplace? Because it will cost money for the company. They are paying an employee, you, for the hours you aren’t working which means they lose output when you’re not present. If they allow you to get away with it after some time of habitual tardiness, other employees might follow your bad behavior. Indeed.com says that for every five minutes that an employee is late, 30 minutes of work is lost for the whole week. Again, the company’s paid time is not returned by an employee’s absence. Aside from employees copying the bad behavior, some of them might start to demand incentives for reporting to work early.

If you’re a manager, you can’t avoid this problem like there’s nothing wrong going on. This is a professional workplace so the tardiness issue must be tackled in some way. You have to identify first what the problem is in order to create a solution. We listed down some tips on how to deal with an employee struggling to report to work on time.



1. Address the root of the problem right away.

There is no perfect timing when an issue has been going on for the longest time. You have to call the employee to your office right away so that you could clear out to him or her that habitual tardiness is not tolerated under your watch. Ask why they are always late and offer tips on how they could combat these problems so that they’ll show up early or on time for work.

2. Let your employee know what you expect from him or her.

Do not use vague language. Make sure it’s clear to your employee what you do not like and how they should behave in accordance with the company’s policies. Do not sugarcoat your words as this speech might just confuse your employee. Be clear why the company expects them to report on time. Plus, show them evidence of their late record and how many more lates before they receive a warning or a sanction from the management.



3. Refer to a tardy policy in the company handbook.

You don’t want to sound like you’re personally attacking your employee. Play by the rules and show them the company’s policies on tardiness. Let them know the corresponding sanctions for this certain amount of recorded lates. If you want to instill in them the rules, make them read it aloud and explain to you how they understood it. Remind them what time work starts and ends. Make sure you do not miss out on any details especially if it’s about sanctions they will face for continued tardiness. Make sure your conversation is in writing so make them sign a document or send an email of the minutes of your meeting. The disciplinary steps must be clear in writing.

4. Talk to your employee about how you both plan to move forward from this issue.

Once the tardiness has been discussed, your employee should now be clear of what will happen if it continues. You should offer your employee assistance on how he or she could set goals to improve professionally. They might have their own suggestions like having a shorter lunch break or signing out later than everybody else when they report late to work. Ask them what steps they will take and then give feedback if it’s possible for that scenario to play out. You could also suggest ideas on how the employee could start and establish good habits in the workplace, exceeding their personal expectations.



5. Check-in regularly.

The discussion isn’t over yet. Even though you’ve already cleared out everything, as the supervisor, you should check in after a while and see what has changed. The employee must also feel heard, supported, and valued so that they are encouraged to report to work on time or even earlier than call time. When you approach this problem this way, you could avoid future circumstances of similar nature to happen.

Then, follow-up with your used-to-be-late employee. Ask for updates and then check what goals they’ve been ticking off at work lately. They will surely appreciate your care for their self-improvement. Encourage and support them while never forgetting to reiterate why it’s important to be on time so that they can achieve their work goals.

Of course, don’t forget to point out the positives and praise them for doing a good job!

6. To make your solution sustainable, implement systems for employees to report on time.

You might notice that it’s not a problem of just one employee. There are many of them who do not report on time to work. What you can do is put a clock-in system in place to hopefully solve the problem. The clock-in system must be easily tracked by you and the employee.

Another way is to schedule morning meetings before the day begins. The meetings must be fruitful to attend so that your employees are motivated to show up on time and be present during the meetings. It will hopefully boost productivity for the workday ahead. Do these on selected days of the week so that the employees will show up with vigor and energy.

You could also offer a flexible working schedule if the company will permit it. What will happen is that the employee could come in later than the designated time but must log out at a later time to cover for the minutes that he or she was late.

And one of the most effective ways of leadership set an example. Show up on time for scheduled meetings and show your employees that you value their time.



7. Invest in the employee’s efficiency.

Employees are sometimes or most of the time report to work late because they are avoiding the workload. If you can give assistance for them to be more efficient with their work tasks, then why not buy ergonomic furniture to boost productivity. You could also cheer them up and give words of affirmation.