How to Deal with an Employee who is Always Late for Work

How to Deal with Someone who is Chronically Late ,Excuses for Being Late to Work

You might be asking why my employee is always late?  Well, it is because the consequences are not significant enough for the employee to stop the habit.  If your employee not once or twice, but is frequently late for work, that is a problem you cannot ignore.  As a boss, it falls to you first and foremost to deal with an employee who is always late for work before it becomes a big issue.  

Be aware that most employees who are habitually late for work know that what they are doing is wrong.  They also understand that eventually the boss is going to have a word with them but they simply don’t care. 

People who are chronically late don’t have basic respect for their colleagues.  Not only that, but it also frustrates other employees who already at work, particularly when parts of their job depend on the person who comes in late.  

They might have to change their workflow and multitask or take on extra work while they wait for their colleague to arrive.  If perpetual late employees really care about the job, they should adhere to its normal working hours.

How to Deal with an Employee Who is Always Late for Work?

Set Clear Expectations 

You are the boss, so it falls to you first and foremost to set expectations and ensure that they are clearly communicated across all employees.  Every person should understand what the consequences will be if they don’t meet your expectations.    

If there is an issue that prevents an employee to turn up for work on time, evaluate it, and make a fair decision.  Your company should have an enforceable employee conduct policy that deals with issues such as lateness. 

Evaluate each issue even when an employee gives what seems like a good excuse for being late for work.  

Stop Putting Faith in a Chronically Late Employee 

Don’t keep giving an employee who is chronically late the benefit of the doubt.  No matter how you regard someone and how long the person has been with the company, you still have to deal with them when they start coming in late every day for work. 

You can have faith in someone without allowing the person to overstep the boundaries. The benefit of the doubt you keep affording an employee who is habitually late is undeserved.  

So, start telling your employees what must happen, what is expected, what the consequences will be when they fail and enforce them going forward. 

Have a Tough Conversation with the Employee

Sit the employee down and say you continue coming to work late and failing to live up to expectations, so you are documenting the issues. 

Sometimes that will fix the issue, but with the documentation, you now are building a case for disciplining the person or even getting rid of them.  

When you start having formal conversations with the employee and document all issues about their lateness, they will take you seriously.  

Don’t Allow Exceptions

Don’t take a middle line by allowing exceptions for some employees and then dealing with others when they arrive late.  Yes, some jobs don’t have flexibility, therefore the time an employee turns up matters for valid work-related reasons.  

Related: How to Deal with Employees Who Don’t Follow Instructions 

However, when an employee accepts a position, they are committing themselves to the job requirements — including the normal working hours a manager and the employee agreed upon.  If the person cannot meet the obligation, they should not take the job.   

So, it doesn’t matter whether the job has flexibility, the employee still turns up when they feel like rather than when co-workers expect them.  It can be equally annoying and demotivating for employees who always turn up for work on time.

Break the Pattern

Treating everyone as equal at work is not always fair, because some people do different things or contribute more than the others. 

Someone who completes assignments and meets deadlines when they are at work is not always a burden to the team when they occasionally come in a few minutes late.  

But once you see a pattern and don’t respond to it, the employee will feel they have the upper hand to come in anytime.  If you don’t disrupt the pattern, other employees will also start arriving late.   

Don’t Be Diplomatic 

It is important that you approach the issue of perpetual lateness from a place of concern for a better outcome.  There is no point in trying to be diplomatic because you don’t want to upset your employee. 

Upsetting a member of your staff is nothing compared to the ill-feeling their bad behaviors can cause within the team.

While there is nothing wrong with being nice to your employees, it can sometimes stop you from solving issues that affect the team.  You don’t have to cajole them when they are wrong — even when it means annoying one of your best employees, but keeps the rest of your team happy.

In other words, you should not waste be worrying about what the person will think because the team is more important than the feelings of one employee.

In conclusion, dealing with an employee who is always late for work can be frustrating for most managers.  The situation may be further complicated if the person is a higher performer who consistently meets all the demands of their job.

However, it is an issue that must be sorted out quickly, particularly if it is causing morale issues or challenges with the overall workflow.  

Failing to deal with the situation, you will be sending the rest of your employees the message that anyone can arrive late to work.  Even worse, you could be accused of favoritism or preferential treatment. 

How do you deal with someone who is chronically late?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below

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