Tardiness by employees can be a significant concern for your business. A small business owner can't afford to allow chronic or even intermittent lateness to occur because it interferes with work in multiple ways. It adversely affects management, staff and customers. It can cost you profits and harm the future of your company.

Production Issues

When an employee is late for work, it can slow production. This is especially true when your company depends on work teams. Collaboration can't occur if one person is not there to serve her key role. Even just a few minutes late can cause the entire company production to lag when the person is key in the process. Once the person does arrive to work, it often takes another staff member's time to help the tardy employee catch up with what she missed.


The late entrance of an employee is disruptive to the work flow of the company. It is often difficult for workers to continue to do their own tasks when a fellow worker arrives and gets his work station ready. Managers might also stop their own work to address the employee regarding his tardiness. Other staff members often engage in time-consuming conversation and gossip regarding the worker's tendency to be late, according to the New York Times.

Co-worker Conflicts

Frequent tardiness can result in co-worker conflicts. Employees who are punctual could believe the worker who is late does so to decrease his workload. Others might also think the tardy staff member doesn't respect them enough to show up on time. This can lead to disagreements that harm teamwork, interfere with work tasks and create a negative work environment. When management doesn't address the tardiness issue, other employees can become angrier and lose respect for their superiors.

Poor Example

An employee with punctuality issues serves as a poor role model. Even if the worker is exemplary in every other area of the business, this one flaw can damage her work reputation. The act of frequent tardiness can lead others in the company to question the worker's commitment, work ethic and organizational skills. Customers who witness late arrivals might think of the company as disorganized and unprofessional. It's unlikely an employee with this issue will advance in her career until she changes this aspect of her work life. Managers must set an example as well by disciplining workers who are consistently late. The disciplinary measures should include requiring the employee to make up lost work and putting him on a performance action plan until the behavior is modified, according to Staples editor Maura Gallagher Ardis.