HR

Tactics To Deal With An Employee Who Is Habitually Late At Office

Employee: Excuse me for being late to work.

Manager: Where have you been?

Employee: I was getting stuck with traffic

Manager: That’s too bad. Please come early so that it doesn’t happen again.

Employee: Yes, I’ll work on it.


This may be a common instance that many HR Managers may have had to deal with. If the same incident continues for days and months, it may seem to be unauthentic. Most widely haunting challenge before a manager is how to deal with an employee who has taken to arriving very late most mornings. This employee may work late to make up time. However their late comings may start impacting the level of morale in the office. Sometimes such instances create a lot of issues such as:

  • Productivity Loss
  • Negative Morale
  • Customer Dissatisfaction
  • Management Problems
  • And More

Proper handling of this situation always demands a proactive nature rather than a reactive nature. If the employee is a productive one, it is important to handle the situation effectively in a way that doesn’t affect the employee’s commitment towards his/her work.

The first and foremost thing that can be done is to understand the attitude and attributes of that individual. It had to be established if the individual has a legitimate reason for being late. Life happens and unexpected problems do come up occasionally. When a staff member consistently shows up late he/she is essentially not respecting company’s time or his own time. That is when it needs to be decided if your employee’s behavior is worth condoning or reprimanding.

The second step is to communicate regret with the employee who is late. Respect a person’s privacy, elucidate them about the impact that their behavior is having on their work outputs and on the morale of other employees. The expectation that they will do the required hours needs to be stated clearly, firmly and without emotion.

The next step is to rewind and make the employee familiarize with the company’s terms, conditions, HR policies, contracts and more. These should be clearly communicated to the employee and understood by them.

Even after adopting all these steps if the employee’s behavior does not improve then the next step needs to be taken. Reprimand the employee with a written warning and written performance goals. Dock the employee’s pay or decrease any bonus he/she receives. If the behavior affects your bottom line or tarnishes a client relationship a more serious action may be warranted.

Finally, Never ignore the positive changes. When it is noticed that an employee has altered their behavior in a positive way, say so. A simple acknowledgement will let the employee know that he/she’s on the right track and will also show him that his efforts are appreciated. It can be surprising how a few kind words go a long way.

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