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Dealing With Employee Tardiness and Absenteeism

15 June 2021

You count on your employees to assist you to handle your business smoothly, but when an employee is routinely late, others in the workplace notice, which can lead to dissatisfaction and conflict. Depending on circumstances, being tardy is sometimes inevitable. Absenteeism and tardiness could substantially impact a business, including missed profitability, extra overtime expenditures, and heightened stress among the employees forced to take up the slack. To help monitor these difficulties, all companies should have established rules and procedures for managing attendance and punctuality.

Common Reasons

The following are some of the most common causes of being late, according to experts:


Illnesses and injuries are typical reasons why employees arrive late or miss work, and they are excused due to health concerns. Unfortunately, the issue occurs when workers fail to notify management that they cannot work their shifts. It is essential to use a structure that lets employees readily connect with management when they are late or absent. Employees are much more likely to report their status as soon as they learn about it. This enables your team to quickly fill gaps and manage schedules.


Several employees struggle to manage their time related to circumstances such as caring for family members. Employees should provide advance notice if they intend to take days out. The management may also establish a flexible schedule to accomplish their duties at home and the office at their convenience.


It is critical to maintain excellent employee satisfaction so that everyone in the office treats one another with respect and compassion. They also should be allowed to make their own choices and be innovative in their ideas.


Employees can experience burnout when they get overburdened with their tasks. It is critical to keep track of employees who frequently work late and extra before they finally burn out.


Individuals who are not dedicated to their jobs are prone to being late or neglecting work. This is also referred to as disengagement. Leadership must enact programs and policies that will empower employees and reward them for their efforts and accomplishments.


Employees that are bullied frequently push themselves to come into work but are unable to function productively. As a result, intimidated individuals will prefer to arrive late or take absences rather than show up for work and complete their responsibilities. There should be an open-door policy to motivate employees to report occurrences of bullying and harassment to managers. Employees must be encouraged to communicate openly, with respect, and with shared understanding.


People in the workplace who are under tremendous stress due to personal issues, poor leadership, or burnout are more likely to lose concentration or abandon their jobs. Every organization should implement a program that handles the interactions among individuals and their environment, particularly the employee and their workstationsErgonomics is a scientific subject that is vital for developing such a program. It is essentially the science of aligning the job to the worker rather than the other way around. Considering the symptoms of work, its related injuries, and determining their causes when analyzing: prolonged periods of repeated activity, awkward work positions, and uncomfortable environmental circumstances contribute to a toxic work setting.

Ensure that the employees have a comfortable working environment in which to carry out their duties. Invest in relevant tools like standing desksstanding desk converters, or ergonomic chairs. These things can benefit employees in the workplace in reducing the dangers associated with sedentary lifestyles.


When employees believe they are being denied workplace flexibility, they may grow dissatisfied with their jobs, arriving late frequently or doing over breaks. When it comes to deadlines, they may become reckless.

How to Deal with it

If you're having issues with employee tardiness, here are a few things you may do to address this problem:

Recognize Reasons and Behaviors

Communicate with the employee to determine why (s)he's doing what (s)he's doing. At the same time, the employee must be willing to share his/her reasons so that leadership can help. When an employee frequently arrives late, he is ultimately disrespecting both your time and his own. That is when you must determine whether to condone or reprimand your employee's behavior. Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen challenges arise from time to time. What is not acceptable is a worker who is frequently late for work.

Express your Disappointment

Whenever someone they admire is dissatisfied with them, most individuals are disappointed in themselves. Discuss the implications of a team member's conduct when he or she fails to comply with a commitment. Maybe the employee is unaware, despite the fact that he or she must be, that his or her behavior impacts his or her teammates.

Formulate a Plan of Action

Your employee's persistent tardiness could be the result of a physical condition or family commitments. Frequent tardiness is frustrating, but it's even more crucial to understand why. Develop an action plan to tackle the situation from there effectively. It could be as simple as providing a more flexible schedule or listening to the team member who needs some changes. 

Address the Issue Promptly

Identified patterns must be addressed as soon as possible and persistently. Allow workers to defend their actions, evaluate whether they have a reasonable explanation for their absence or recurrent tardiness, and then determine whether disciplinary action is necessary. It would be preferable if you could discuss the topic one-on-one. Don't wait for the situation to worsen. Notify the employee about his/her behavior and the potential consequences for the business. Inform the employee that there may be alternatives but that cooperation is required.

Develop and Review Policies

This policy should emphasize the significance of attendance, define policies and procedures for scheduling time off beforehand, explain call-in methods for unforeseen absences, and discuss possible consequences for policy infractions. Also, consider examining your leave of absence and time-off policies regularly to ensure they are fulfilling your company's needs. For instance, if your company provides generous sick leave but not enough vacation time, some employees may "call in sick" but are taking a vacation day. It's one of the reasons why some businesses have implemented a paid time off (PTO) scheme. There are no boundaries between vacation, personal days, and sick leave when using PTO arrangements. Employees will have more freedom in scheduling time off as a result of this.

Mention the Consequences

Create a plan that addresses the repercussions of being late. For example, if an employee has been late to work three times in a row, (s)he can be issued a formal warning. This will enable the employer to be more mindful of the possible effects. If the behavior negatively impacts revenues or vendor relationships, you may need to take more drastic measures.

Consider Flexibility

Flexible work arrangements and remote working may assist employees in better managing their work and personal obligations, reducing the frequency of unscheduled absences. While flexible work schedules may not be appropriate for every business, consider examining such requests individually.

Value Employee Privacy

Always strive to have sensitive conversations in private, specifically if disciplinary action is required. When confronted in public, an employee is more likely to be embarrassed, degraded, or respond defensively. Express your issues, provide concrete instances, and then seek feedback. Enable the employees to process what you've said before responding. Exercise practical listening skills. Your employee will be more likely to trust you if you take a fair, genuine, and direct attitude.

Recognize and Reward Improvements

Appreciation can be used to reinforce progress. When you notice an employee's attitude has changed for the better, let him/her know. This will assist boost the employee's confidence, and perhaps a reward will ultimately strengthen their determination to perform even more. A simple acknowledgment of their progress will reassure him/her that he is on the right path. A few supportive words can go a long way.

When a person arrives early and is driven at work, this is one indicator of their dedication to their job. When pressure, exhaustion, and other things cause them to lose passion in their profession, their performance deteriorates. Managers must devise efficient strategies to provide appropriate solutions to these problems.