Lateness leaves bosses fuming, but few do anything about it

Apr 21 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

We've all done it – fumed in silence as a colleague ambles in half an hour late without a word of apology, and then disappears off for 20 minutes to get toast and coffee.

Employee lateness is a serious cause of irritation for nearly nine out of 10 employers, according to the latest survey.

But just like the silent co-worker, few managers and bosses are prepared to introduce disciplinary or monitoring measures to tackle lateness.

The study by employment law firm Peninsula found that fewer than a third of bosses – 30 per cent – monitored lateness, while just 29 per cent had plans in place to start tracking punctuality.

Of the 1,751 employees polled, 17 per cent admitted to being late at least seven times a month.

Manging director Peter Done warned employee lateness was a serious issue businesses needed to get to grips with.

Not only did constant lateness cost money, it risked creating completely the wrong culture within an organisation.

"There will always be a problem for companies in tackling lateness in the workplace effectively; it is not simply a matter of punishing those that are late for work," he said.

"An employer needs to promote a work culture where the effect of lateness has consequences throughout the business and this needs to be put forward to each employee.

"As soon as this work culture is adopted, employees will become used to and start to be concerned about their own time management," he added.

Employers could stop the problem simply by implementing disciplinary measures within their company, he suggested.

"Although it would not be a great idea to simply force the issue by being unreasonable and disregard an employee's reasoning for their lateness.

"Employers simply need to sit down with their workforce and discuss the implications of lateness in the workplace. If this is communicated correctly, it is only a matter of time before employees see tardiness as a serious issue," he said.