Small businesses with good timekeeping are 20% more likely to be successful. Effective timekeeping is cited as a key factor in distinguishing firms that see profit and growth (research by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research).
While some staff see punctuality as a badge of honour others can lack time management skills. In the workplace timekeeping applies to employee arrival and leaving times but also to lunchtime and breaks. For some employees good timekeeping is also required for attending internal meetings, meetings with clients and other external appointments. Staff lateness has been calculated to cost the UK economy a staggering £9 billion a year in a survey by Heathrow Express. An average of 590,000 UK workers turn up late every day according to the survey. Common reasons, or excuses, include traffic problems, bad weather, alarm mishaps and forgotten items at home.
While hours worked are a contractual matter for ensuring value for money, other timekeeping habits will affect the external reputation of your business. Being late for meeting existing or prospective clients is not good for maintaining or winning new business – 11% of people in the survey admitted that bad timekeeping was a factor in losing a potential new client while 63% said they were affected by the stress of being late.
Ensuring fairness amongst all staff is also another consideration – persistently late staff can cause grumbles and discontent amongst other staff if not dealt with promptly. Small businesses will of course disproportionately feel the negative effects of poor staff timekeeping; it can make all the difference to remaining competitive.
So punctuality is important and does affect the productivity of your business as well as staff morale.
How you can help staff with timekeeping:
- Take early steps – without being too inflexible, take steps at an early stage when you can see timekeeping issues building up. Raise the matter informally at first; often this may be enough to nudge the employee into improvements.
- Be fair and sensitive – be sure to be sensitive to any temporary issues that an employee may have with lateness e.g. childcare problems or particular commuting difficulties. Try to work through how they can be tackled, for example, flexible hours or remote working.
- Ensure staff are aware of timekeeping expectations – make sure that staff have in writing the attendance expected of them – this will usually be part of your on-boarding and induction procedures. Any important changes to hours should be documented too.
- Have established HR guidelines and follow them – ensure staff are aware of lateness policies and the procedures which they and line managers should follow. Discussions can then properly focus on the lateness issues rather than procedures.
- Be consistent – deal with all staff lateness in a consistent way to avoid feelings of unfair or discriminatory behaviour.
- Time and attendance systems – one of the most effective and simple ways of monitoring timekeeping is via an automated time and attendance system. Good time and attendance systems offer a variety of clocking-in options so you can choose the one which suits your business. An advantage is that these systems are consistent and transparent leaving line-managers freer to tackle persistent lateness rather than worrying about manual time tracking.
uAttend’s automated time and attendance system helps small businesses stay on top of timekeeping and absence data ensuring you save time and money. Use the wealth of accurate data generated to tackle any persistent lateness problems.