Do you know co-workers who are always late? Are you chronically late? Do you or someone you know show up late for work, to meetings, for phone conferences, for social gatherings? I doubt seriously that you would consider that something anyone does on purpose. In reality, it’s simply a lack of time-management skills. It’s the lack of realization that you are valuing your own time over that of others. You don’t even realize that is the statement you are making when you are late. You’re saying, “My time is more valuable than anyone else’s.”
At work, there are even more consequences for being late.
When you’re late for work, you create an immediate loss of productivity. If you work as part of a team, your tardiness disrupts the work flow of other team members. If you are late 10 minutes per day, that equals out to almost an hour a week. If a team member needs a late person to provide his or her part of a project, the punctual person still gets behind waiting for what he/she needs from you.
Not only does tardiness make others late, it lowers their morale. If one member of the team doesn’t follow the rules, others in that group will began to feel resentment and that the situation is unfair. This is particularly true result for those suffering from chronic lateness. It puts stress on others to cover the work of the late employee or fall behind in their own jobs.
If an employee is late and fails to make an on-time delivery to a customer, the result may be that the business loses that customer. An employee who is supposed to open a specific location at a certain time may lose customers if it isn’t opened on time. If the chronic late employee is tardy for customer meetings, this puts the entire company in a bad light. Poor customer service of any type damages a business’ reputation and discourages perspective clients.
If management lets a chronically late employee slide, it creates the potential for loss of respect for those in charge. On-time employees may feel if the rules don’t apply then why should they make the effort to be on time! Letting it slide sends the wrong message to the entire company.
How to Fix it
Everyone slips up and is late occasionally. Traffic, family responsibilities preventing us from getting out the door on time and just everyday life sometimes slow us down. These things happen and sometimes can’t be avoided. However, the chronically late person truly has a time-management problem and is totally focused on self instead of the consideration of others. Being late is a product of poor planning. So, here’s what you can do to fix it:
» Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal.
» Determine the night before what you will wear the next day and lay it out.
» Don’t promise family members that you will handle something “in the morning” when it can be dealt with the night before.
» Plan to be at the office 15 minutes early so you can actually show up on time!
» If traffic is a major factor, plan a new, quicker route, and leave the exact amount of time earlier than you are usually late.
» If getting up 30 minutes earlier still doesn’t give you enough time, make it an hour.
» Remember, this is about respecting others and the value of their time. Don’t make everything just about you. You will find that others will respect and appreciate you more if you resolve your chronic lateness.
If you are part of a management team that is dealing with chronically late employees, consider sending them to time management coaching, and suggest all of the above!
How to Manage Chronically Late Employees
— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.