Home How To Deal With Late Employees

How To Deal With Late Employees

Circumstances may justify causing an employee’s delay. However, if tardiness persists, management must act to guarantee and promote timeliness across the team.

What happens if workers are late?

However, unexpected circumstances, blunders, or personal difficulties might lead a staff member to be late. These are usually isolated instances that don’t affect colleagues or management. For example, an employee may be late due to a dead battery, flat tire, or family emergency.

So long as tardiness does not become a habit, management may be flexible. It becomes an issue when it becomes a habit. Being late costs the organization money and sets a bad example for employees.

A paid employee arriving five minutes late every day for a week isn’t merely losing thirty minutes. The disruption to the entire work system and break in the mindset of other employees already in the zone at work is almost incalculable.

The corporation pays the employee for time spent doing nothing. More workers may follow suit if the employee’s tardiness remains without comment. When one team member comes late, it feels unfair to those who arrange their affairs to get to work on time. It may cause others to be disappointed or disheartened about showing up on time.

How To Deal With Persistently Late Employees

It’s critical to recognize and address tardiness issues among workers to prevent fostering a culture of lax professionalism. While an occasional delay is typical for most employees, persistent tardiness is detrimental to the business and an employee’s effectiveness. Before the pandemic and work from home protocols — corporation actions were more clearly defined.

Nowadays, with troubles of tardiness — I would be likely to look at productivity and the possibility of having this individual work from home to stop the stealing of productivity from others.

Here are some suggestions for managing a chronic tardy employee:

1. Take action quickly

Notify the employee if you observe a trend of tardiness. The sooner you start talking about it, the more you can indicate that this kind of conduct isn’t appropriate in the workplace and persuade the employee to stop.

2. Set clear expectations

When dealing with a frequent tardy employee, be explicit about what needs to change and what you anticipate in the future.

Explain what being on time means to you and the firm (arriving ten minutes early). Present facts that support your point, including dates and times. Avoid using ambiguous or subjective phrases that confuse the issue.

Sometimes I set clear expectations in a meeting addressed to everyone — and let peer pressure guide the late individual to comply. Usually, calling out your early arriving team members with some praise helps. “Okay, Suzy — I know you are always here a half-hour early, and I appreciate your effort. You’re the best! For the rest of you, five to ten minutes early is great.”

3. A tardy policy

Include expectations for when the workday begins and how many (if any) times an employee may be late before it becomes an actionable infraction in the business handbook or policy. Explain the punitive measures if tardiness persists. It’s also a good idea to advise the employee in writing that you’ve addressed the problem and the repercussions. Be careful to include any disciplinary actions.

Always take this step without an audience. Through painful experience — I’ve found that kindness and understanding work better — any disciplinary action affects the whole team. And we usually have the manager address the issues first.

Respect privacy.

While you must acknowledge the employee’s chronic tardiness, you do not need to know why. Allow the employee to select how much information they disclose when you meet privately. Be receptive to what they say. This protects their privacy while preventing them from arriving late to work.

5. Set joint objectives

After discussing the employee’s tardiness, including your expectations and possible penalties, urge them to set personal objectives and goals. For example, if late arrivals are unavoidable, they may be advised to take a shorter lunch break. Give them comments on their objectives and suggestions to help them reach and surpass their own. Have the team member add their goals to their Calendar. Sometimes a notification from their Calendar will help.

6. Remain vigilant

Regular responsibility and encouragement might help an employee break a tardy behavior. The most excellent method to prevent such accidents is to follow up on your objectives. Encourage and encourage them while underlining the significance of being on time.

7. Praise better conduct

Praise the employee if you see progress. It’s advisable to do this in solitude, so you don’t call attention to the reason for improvement. Compliment the employee as soon as you see the difference if feasible the following day — Keep it timely.

8. Observe and record discussions

Keep a note of any encounters with a staff member about tardiness. This eliminates misunderstanding. The knowledge is orderly and accurate if you write it down instead of remembering it. Document the procedures you took to detect and remedy the issue and any positive improvements in the employee’s conduct. Add this to the employee’s HR file.

Launch a clock-in system

If tardiness is still a problem for a particular employee or others, a clock-in system may benefit all workers. All parties may utilize and monitor digital apps and software. A clock-in system may also be used to combat chronic tardiness.

10. Start the day with meetings

Early morning meetings might encourage personnel to come on time. This may also help you get through the remainder of the day. If you can’t do this every day, choosing a Monday or Friday morning may help.

11. Review performance for the timeliness

Consider including timeliness in a performance assessment for workers who struggle to come to work on time. The quarterly review process works well for issues that need to be dealt with quickly. Do you need more time off? Consider flexible work hours if your business policy permits regular late workers. Allow them to arrive 15 minutes later and work 15 minutes later.

This may resolve a persistent issue that delays their delivery. Also, it may foster mutual respect, understanding, and efficiency. If you give one employee a flexible schedule, consider giving it to all.

What workers should do if late

As a manager or leader, you must communicate your expectations to staff. That includes letting them know what to do if they are late. Here are some ideas to communicate with workers about tardiness:


If an employee is going to be late, they should contact or text their supervisor. Then, the boss won’t have to worry about them and get on with the job.


When an employee informs their manager they will be late, ask for an approximate arrival time. This shows the person intends to get to work as soon as feasible.


Let an employee know that they must do their tasks on time even if they are late one day. Having more than one item (getting there on time and having work due) may cause the employee to have to adjust their routine or prepare to arrive at work early the following day.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!


How To Deal With Late Employees originally appeared on Calendar by Howie Jones.

Try Out Productivity Tools We Are Using


Best Productivity and  Management Tool

on Monday.com


Best Calendar and Scheduling Tool

on Calendar.com


Best Social Media Scheduling Tool

on Later.com


 Best Time Management Tool

on Todoist.com


Best Value Tool

on Toggl.com


Best Overall Tool

on Trello.com

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.


We are Calendar, trying to make the world a much more productive place. Check us out online at https://www.calendar.com.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.