Absenteeism and tardiness are not only detrimental to an employee's career, but to the organization's bottom line as well. On the other hand, widespread absenteeism could be an indication of managerial issues, such as low employee morale or a toxic work environment. Regardless of the reason, there is no doubt that the effects of absenteeism and tardiness on work are resoundingly negative.

Increased Expenses

Workers who chronically miss work or show up late risk being let go, forcing employers to go through the time and expense of hiring and training replacements. Further complicating matters is the cost of having to pay another employee to fill in, especially if short staffing forces management to pay that individual overtime.


Frequent absenteeism and tardiness can cause tension among co-workers. Employees who show up to work regularly and on time feel frustrated that a chronically late or absent employee is giving them an increased workload by forcing them to fill in. They may also pass judgment on the person's perceived laziness. This anger can be aggravated further if no disciplinary action is taken. The worst possible scenario is if a member of management is chronically late or absent, as the staff will feel that she is abusing her authority and not leading by example. The end result will be low morale and -- potentially -- high turnover as employees seek work elsewhere.

Lower Productivity

Naturally, an employee who puts in less time -- either through showing up late or missing work -- will be less productive. While coworkers can fill in sometimes, this may not be possible for highly specialized roles. A lack of productivity reduces an employee's work quality, jeopardizing his chances for advancement and stifling the company's ability to remain competitive.


Sometimes, absenteeism and tardiness can be justified, especially if the employee is experiencing personal problems; however, without a certain degree of flexibility and support from management, this can be even more detrimental than unexcused absences or tardiness -- a phenomenon known as "presenteeism." If supervisors show zero tolerance for any absenteeism, workers will feel compelled to come in regularly, even if they definitely should not be there. As result, severely ill employees could show up and infect others, resulting in a potential explosion of absenteeism. Similarly, individuals who are legitimately stressed will only aggravate their problems by coming in out of fear, causing long-term staffing issues, such as stress leave. In short, severe avoidance of absenteeism or tardiness can be just as bad, if not worse, than the problems themselves.