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August 28, 2008

Late to Work – What’s Your Excuse (pt 3 of 3)

Filed under: Management Practices8:26 am

The Reasons

To some extent the reasons why an individual is tardy are irrelevant.  Most managers are pretty reasonable and realize that all of us will at some time be stuck in traffic, forced to deal with an issue at home, or had something unexpected come up that makes us late. The concern is the employee who is chronically late.  These are the people who consume time in corrective actions and who we may ultimately be forced to fire.   Do you care why they are late?  In most instances, no.  You just want it resolved.  However, a number of people have tried to examine the issue and taken a “Dr Phil” moment to figure it out.  A few suggested reasons for the behavior of the time challenged include:

• Some people just don’t realize the importance of being on time.
• Younger workers, perhaps have yet to develop the work ethic required by many businesses.
• Changing societal standards.
• Increasing family responsibilities.
• They have poor morale.
• Difficulty with time management.
• Punctually challenged tend to procrastinate, have low levels of self-control, like living on the edge, or may be exceptionally anxious.
• The tardy are more self centered, less respectful of others, or may be seeking attention.
• They’re just lazy.
• People are too stressed out about life in general.
• Work is just not a priority.
• Some people “aren’t morning people.”
• Some just don’t like following rules and conforming.

When Reasons Matter

Remember, however, that if lateness is due to legally protected reasons (e.g., protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act) then the reasons do matter. Be sure to act cautiously when taking corrective action or “marking an employee down” on an appraisal because of an absence or tardiness that could be legally protected.


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