What Are the Causes of Tardiness Among Employees?

Lateness is a habit that seems trivial; however, its effects on a company can be costly.
Lateness is a habit that seems trivial; however, its effects on a company can be costly. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Gini Graham Scott, author of “A Survival Guide to Managing Employees from Hell,” notes that employee tardiness can “delay production if you’re a manufacturing company, create customer problems if you’re in retail, and trigger morale problems for the staff who come in on time.” Lateness reduces employee productivity, which decreases profit for your business. CNET reports that this behavior costs an estimated $3 billion annually in lost productivity for U.S. businesses.

Lack of Consequences or Rewards

Lateness is more likely to occur without written and verbal policies that threaten to lower pay or terminate perpetually tardy employees. Letting employees get away tardiness can result in chronic lateness and encourage other employees to be late. However, a company with a punctual culture discourages employee tardiness: Employees come to work on time to avoid being labeled as unreliable or lazy. Rewards for promptness create incentives for employees to arrive on time. However, if bosses offer no rewards, employees may believe punctuality is not important or acknowledged.

Dissatisfaction with the Company

Stress from heavy workloads, low pay, tough demands and poor treatment can lower morale. Employees with low morale are more likely to subconsciously delay coming to work, and adverse conditions at work can push employees away from work. Employees who feel helpless and angry may use tardiness to show their discontent or passively punish their company. If employees do not like their job or company, they are less likely to put in the effort to be on time or to care about how their actions affect the company.


It's difficult for some employees to juggle work duties and life demands. James J. Bardsley and Susan R. Rhodes, authors of “Framework to Identify Correlates of Employee Lateness,” reveal that employees with young children are more prone to lateness. Dealing with their children's sickness, preparing their children for day care or school in the mornings and trying to secure child care create barriers to punctuality. In other instances, long work hours leave little time for workers to handle responsibilities outside of work or rest. Employees may begin oversleeping after a series of long and strenuous work days. In addition to the busyness, many employees underestimate the time needed to prepare for work. These factors can lead to tardiness.

Confidence in Job Security

Upper-level management and highly skilled employees may feel less pressure to avoid tardiness. High-level managers are usually less accountable to other employees and are powerful enough to avoid punishment for tardiness. In her book “Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged,” Diana DeLonzor writes that most employees are too hesitant to approach their boss about being late; therefore, bosses may continue their behavior without any threat to their job security or challenge from others. Employees with notable skills, rare talents or social influence may develop a mindset that encourages lateness, especially if the employee has job offers from other companies and his current employer is reluctant to fire to him.

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

Are You Really Getting A Deal From Discount Stores?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!