Why do small businesses fail? You can think of a multitude of reasons for this, ranging from terrible business ideas to a lack of funding. Usually, failure is pretty obvious in the small business world. Having said that, there are many cases when it’s not so clear. You have a great business idea, there are no funding issues, and your marketing plan is relatively effective.
Why is your business struggling? You inspect different elements of your company and run an analysis to try and get to the bottom of the problem. Your searches still don’t find the problem – so what is it?
In many instances, your business is doomed to fail thanks to a secret, hidden reason. It’s something you may not associate with failure initially, but the more you think about it, the clearer it is. What are we talking about? Tardiness.
Tardiness – or lateness – refers to employees that don’t come to work on time. It’s not just a one-off; you regularly have one or two employees that are ten, fifteen, sometimes even thirty minutes late for work.
Initially, you think nothing of it. Sure, it’s a minor annoyance, but does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
Lateness has a profound impact on the way your company runs, leading to a plethora of problems. Ultimately, this culminates in your business being unable to make money, meaning it may have to be shut down.
At this point, you’re struggling to see how lateness is that big of an issue. So an employee – or some employees – are late to work, big deal. Surely, surely, this doesn’t have an impact on how much money you’ll make. It just seems so insignificant when you look at a business from the outside.
Unfortunately, this is where you’re wrong. This attitude is what makes tardiness such a problem. We don’t see it as a huge issue, so nothing is done to correct it. As such, it slowly eats away at and erodes your business until there’s nothing left. In this part of the article, we’ll showcase how tardiness disrupts your business, which will demonstrate precisely why it should be taken seriously.
If someone is late for work, it immediately means that your day starts unproductively. What if they are a key team member? Perhaps people are waiting for their report before they can get on with the day’s tasks. Even when someone is ten minutes late, this eats into your hours of productivity.
Why? Because it’s never only ten minutes, is it? Work starts at 9, and they arrive at 9:10. But, they then spend an extra ten or twenty minutes unpacking and getting everything ready. Before you know it, it’s 9:30 and you’ve lost half an hour of work. Imagine this happening every single day of the week. Suddenly, you’re losing 150 minutes of work every week!
Leading on from the previous point, it’s not just your overall productive output that’s affected. A late employee drastically messes up the workflow. They may need to be caught up on what they’ve missed, which sets them back even further!
Let’s say a late employee is working as part of a team. That team has started work, and then the tardy member turns up. After they’ve got themselves settled, they have to butt in and ask to be caught up to speed. Instead of just one individual having an unproductive start to the day, the entire team now faces a setback.
The whole flow of work is messed up – and that’s only when one person is late. Imagine two people are constantly late, or three.
Let’s play a game. Imagine you’re an employee working for your business. You get up early every morning to ensure you’re at work before 9. Why? Because you know that work begins at 9, so you get in five/ten minutes early to unpack, settle yourself, and begin working at 9 am. Do you enjoy this? No. It’s hard waking up early in the morning, but you do it because those are the rules.
Then, you suddenly notice people turning up late every day. Hang on a second…these people live way closer than you. You also know they don’t have kids but you do. What’s their excuse for being late? Nobody seems to question it, so what does this make you do?
Naturally, you’ll think why the hell am I bothering to get in on time? I’ll give myself a few extra minutes in bed, and head to work at my own convenience. Who cares if I’m a few minutes late; everyone else is!
All of a sudden, your business ends up with half the office turning up late every single day. Now, the two problems mentioned before are multiplied and magnified.
Ultimately, all of the prior problems lead to a loss of money. You have a business that struggles to be productive thanks to the disruption of tardy employees. Even worse, their behavior encourages more tardiness, compounding the issue.
Instead of operating at peak efficiency, your business is doomed to fail as it can’t achieve the proper levels of productivity to make money.
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? If employee lateness is so bad, what can you do to deal with it?
You’ll be happy to know that only two solutions should be implemented to stamp this out:
- Track employee hours – To start, create a system where you track employee hours to ensure they’re working for as long as they should. Nowadays, you can turn a smartphone into a mobile time clock with an app. Here, you can track your employees by making them clock in when they get to work. You’re notified when someone is late, allowing you to stay on top of things. Many employees think they get away with being late as there isn’t a clocking-in system. With one in place, this should (hopefully) clamp down on the situation.
- Set clear ground rules for tardiness – Moreover, you must set some clear rules for what happens when people are late. Let your employees know how negatively this can affect your business, which is why you’re going to take it seriously. If they’re late, they either lose out on time at lunch or have to stay a bit later in the evening to catch up. Notify them that if they are running late, you need to be informed as soon as possible – and there must be a legitimate reason. Setting these rules will discourage people from taking advantage of you as they know there’s something at stake.
It can feel like you’re running a really tight ship with these implementations. Ironically, that’s why so many small companies struggle with tardiness. You don’t want to feel really mean, telling your employees to come in at certain times and enforcing the rules. Unfortunately, this means your kindness will be taken advantage of.
At the end of the day, you have the most at stake here. It’s your business, meaning if it goes under, you’re the one that’s hit the hardest. Your employees will simply find another job while you’re left to pick up the pieces. In short, tardiness should be taken seriously as it will have serious consequences when left unchecked. You’ve seen what it does to your business, and now it’s time to take some simple steps to tackle it.