These are some of the challenges you are likely to encounter in your attempts to monitor and improve employee attendance:
Late arrivals and early departures. Let’s say you’ve scheduled an employee to handle the day’s first customers when your storefront opens at 9 a.m. If that employee arrives even a few minutes late, there might not be someone present to help the customers. These customers might go elsewhere, sending would-be revenue to a competitor.
Late starts and early ends to the workweek. Even if you love running your business, you probably understand why so many people hate Mondays. That said, you might not feel a ton of sympathy for the employee who comes in excessively late at the start of your workweek. The same goes for the employee who always takes off early on Friday afternoons. Both occurrences are quite common among all kinds of small businesses.
Excessive breaks. No one should have to work a full eight-hour shift in one go, but an employee whose breaks are too long or frequent can disrupt your operations. Nobody’s saying that you should scold an employee for returning a minute or two later than planned, but you should make sure another employee is available whenever a staff member is on a break.
Unexpected absences. At the end of the day, employees are still people with lives and needs outside of work. They might fall ill, have family emergencies or just need mental health days. You shouldn’t hesitate to grant them time off for these occasions, but you also need to fill the gaps that these employees’ absences leave.
No improvement after warnings. Although absenteeism may be the most common reason for employee discipline, you shouldn’t jump straight from observing a problem to acting on it. Give the employee a kind but firm warning or two; just remember that warnings don’t always lead to change.
New attendance problems after warnings. Not everyone you hire will be happy at work. These employees may show up late or leave early, and if you warn them about one type of absenteeism, their absenteeism could change form. For example, if you warn an unhappy employee about failing to show up on time, they could start leaving early instead.
Sick employees. A late 2019 survey found that 90% of employees have gone to work sick, also known as presenteeism. Especially now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you should encourage sick employees to stay home even if your bottom line takes a hit. The short-term absence of an employee is certainly better than your whole team catching that person’s illness and calling in sick.