Employees need to know when they are expected to be at work. Some employees must be at work at a specific time each morning to help customers or attend meetings. Others can work a more relaxed schedule, as long as they work the required amount of hours each week or get the assigned work done. Schedules depend on the job duties and the rules you put in place as a manager. If employees begin to show up late, miss work without permission or work less than they are supposed to, you need to address the situation.
Pull the employee who is having attendance problems aside and ask if anything in particular is causing him to be late or miss work. Before you take action and reprimand the employee, you need to make sure nothing serious is going on outside of the office. Employees who are fired for being late might actually be able to sue your company down the road if their tardiness or absence was caused by disability, injury or other medical issues. Remind the employee of schedule requirements and your company's policy for attendance issues, as well as the process for taking time off if necessary. If multiple employees are having attendance issues, talk to each one individually.
Work out a new schedule with the employee, if possible, that works better with his personal schedule. For example, if an employee is late each morning because he has to take his child to school, consider allowing him to come in later each day and stay later than normal. This allows the employee to fulfill his family obligation, as well as work the required amount of time. Make sure the new schedule works for both you and the employee.
Give the employee at least a week to adjust to the new schedule. If the attendance issues continue, talk to the employee again, and warn him that if he continues to have attendance problems, he might get demoted or lose his job.
Reprimand the employee if problems continue with attendance. Reduce the amount of hours he is scheduled if he is an hourly employee, which reduces his pay. The reduction in hours might actually benefit the employee; employees with attendance issues might need more time for other things in their life outside of work anyway. Other punishments include a demotion with a lower salary or terminating the employee altogether.
As a manager, you need to set an example for employees. If you show up late or miss work frequently, your employees will assume it is acceptable to do the same. Show up on time, and clearly communicate in advance when you plan to be away from the office or take time off.
Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.