It's all too easy for bad practices to creep into your working environment. Whether it's taking phone calls at the desk or not booking out meeting rooms, these everyday annoyances can actually cause a company major problems in lost productivity.
But when your employees start getting tardy with their timings, it can become much more serious. Not only do they risk missing meetings, client appointments and training, it could have an impact on their colleagues.
Seeing other professionals turning up late in the morning or after their lunch break can be demotivating to the point where it affects their morale or even impact their own punctuality.
So, how do you ensure all your employees show up on time?
1. Make it clear
Establish what your working hours are and what time you expect people to be there. If there's been a long-term understanding that the start time is 9am and as long as they get in before 9:15am, there's no problem, but if you've never said this to anyone, you need to. Of course, things get in the way - late trains, schools being closed, sick children - but for the most part employees should be at work for the time you set.
It can be difficult to raise this as an issue if you have a number of professionals who have adopted a more laidback approach to starting work, but flag this as a health and safety issue that you need to be aware of where employees are during working hours. For complete transparency, it's also important that to communicate to every employee what is expected, even if they are the most punctual on the team.
2. Plan morning meetings
If getting to work in the first place is the biggest issue, encourage management and other colleagues to organize meetings for the morning. Having this first thing in the day can make people more productive, while also giving them extra motivation to get to the office on time - or at least inform their colleagues that they'll be late. This helps break the habit of just walking in 10-15 minutes after work has started.
3. Introduce technology
There are a variety of tools that can help you monitor employee attendance and punctuality. Time and attendance software can be a fantastic resource if you are looking to collect widespread data about departments and better understand their behavior. It can also help you to identify the worst offenders who may need further intervention from their manager.
Just informing employees that you will be introducing software to help track attendance might be enough to remind them of what their obligations are to the company and see them become more punctual.
4. Have action plans
If there are a consistent group of people who consistently show up late, then work with their management teams to develop an action plan for how you're going to proceed. Their behavior has a knock-on impact on the rest of the workforce and could even cause their co-workers to emulate them, so it's important that you eradicate tardiness as soon as possible.
The first step may be having a meeting with their line manager, where the expectations are clearly communicated to them personally and the impact of repeatedly turning up late is explained. This should be done in private because there may be personal reasons why they are not getting to work on time. If their behavior doesn't change, you can then give them a verbal warning.
5. Introduce incentives
Incentives can be a good way to encourage certain behavior from your employees without potentially upsetting them. For example, keep a list of everyone who has been there on time for a week and on Friday one of them gets a free bottle of wine or box of chocolates. This may seem simple, but it's surprising the impact this practice can have.