Help Employees Overcome Lateness

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 7:25 PM EDT

ClockIn Sunday's New York Times, Phyllis Korkki addresses the issue of chronic lateness. Although written for the chronically late, the article brings up a few key points that can help managers better understand their chronically late employees. For starters, don't take it personally. "Most late people have been late all their life, and they are late for every type of activity -- good or bad," says Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again.
If you're working with an employee on his punctuality, you may want to share these tips from DeLonzer's book, which are included in the article:
HAVE A STRATEGY Make a commitment to work on the problem every day for at least a month.

RELEARN HOW TO TELL TIME Late people tend to underestimate the amount of time their activities take by 25 percent to 30 percent, she said. Write down all your activities and clock how long they actually take.

NEVER PLAN TO BE ON TIME Instead, plan to be early. Punctual people build in extra transit time because they know that unexpected delays can occur. Many tardy people -- in their naïve optimism -- have never learned to do this.

WELCOME THE WAIT Bring a magazine, a book or some language tapes so that you can entertain yourself and get something done while you wait.

As you're working with the employee, be patient. Remember that he's working to overcome habits he's probably had for years, and to see improvement, you may have to take a more active role in the employee's development plan. For example if an employee regularly shows up late to a weekly meeting because she forgets to bring information she needs to present, remind her to print it out a half hour before.

(Clock Photo by Uwe Hermann, CC 2.0)