Ensuring Punctuality in a Remote Work Environment

There are so many things on a manager’s plate, but still, they have to worry about attendance and punctuality in the workplace. A 2018 CareerBuilder survey reveals that one in four workers shows up late to work at least once a month. 38% of those tardy employees are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 36% are aged 35 to 44. Indeed, this problem spans two age brackets of the workforce. 

Unfortunately, attendance and employee time tracking can be even more difficult in a remote work environment. However, you don’t need to worry because we’ll share some easy tips to ensure employee punctuality for those who are working from home.

What Happens When Tardiness Is Not Addressed in the Workplace?

It’s only natural for people to run late from time to time. After all, some things that are beyond human control can happen. If an employee is usually outstanding, then you can leave their occasional tardiness alone. However, if the behavior becomes habitual, then you should not ignore it. Here are some of the things that can happen if you neglect employee attendance issues:

People May Feel Entitled

If you keep letting an employee’s tardiness slide, they may start to think that it is not a problem. It will also lower staff morale. Others will wonder why some people are allowed to show up late while they cannot do the same. Employees will discuss the issue between themselves and conclude that there’s unjust treatment in the workplace. Now, when employees pit themselves against others, there will be a growing resentment that can affect team efficiency and performance.

Tardy Employees May Influence Their Colleagues

When a worker constantly shows up late to work, their colleagues may think that discipline in management is not a serious matter. They may decide that they can get away with this behavior too. This can also happen in a remote work environment, especially since their supervisors are not present to monitor their attendance. When neglected, this behavior can cause a domino-like effect in the workplace. So, you need to find out what’s causing the tardiness of your employees and help stop it.

Employees Will Lose Respect for Their Manager

Habitual tardiness shows blatant employee insubordination, and it can impact the entire team negatively. Most of the time, when a worker logs in late, it is a passive way of expressing that they do not care about their job. Moreover, the company’s rules might not matter to them. Of course, other people in the team will start noticing this behavior, and they will wonder why their manager is not taking action. When employees discuss this issue in the break room, it can lead to poor morale. They will eventually lose respect for their manager—a problem that can be difficult to fix.

The Company’s Productivity Will Suffer

Not only do tardiness and other attendance issues affect staff morale, but they can also harm your company’s overall productivity. An article published in the Human Resources Director Magazine estimated how much a business loses when an employee consistently shows up late to work. The author hypothesized that a company with 150 employees—10% of which are consistently tardy—can lose almost 14,000CAD a year.

The Importance of Attendance at Work

Now, you may wonder, “Why are attendance and punctuality important in a remote work setup?” After all, many WFH employees can still complete their tasks even without following the office schedule strictly. Well, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When you’re punctual, you’re showing people that you care about your job and the growth of the company.
  • Consistently running late will give a “disorganized” vibe to your manager and colleagues.
  • When you log in to meetings on time, your co-workers see that you respect their time.
  • It’s not a good look to barge into a Zoom meeting, sweat-soaked and out of breath. Showing up for work on time will illustrate your attention to detail and professionalism.
  • Being punctual also means you won’t have attendance-related deductions in your paycheck.
  • When you log in for work on time, you can finish early and have more time for your hobbies and recreational activities.

Tips on Ensuring Punctuality in a Remote Work Environment

It can be challenging to enforce punctuality when you are managing a remote team. Even so, many companies have accomplished it by using the right methods. Here are some tips we recommend:

Create and Enforce an Attendance Policy

You can only address attendance issues if you have a clear policy on tardiness and absenteeism. You need to define what “late” is. For example, a YouGov poll reveals that 53% of employees consider the first five minutes of their shift still “on time.” Meanwhile, if an employee comes to a big presentation “right on time,” managers will view that as tardy. So, when it comes to attendance rules, it’s crucial to put what you expect from your workers on paper. As we’ve mentioned, you need to define what being tardy means. Moreover, your timekeeping policy should include a ‘grace period’ that will allow a few minutes of lateness. Besides, you should indicate the number of times your employees can be tardy before HR takes disciplinary action.

Look Into the Problem

The next step to ensuring that your remote workers are punctual is letting them know what you expect from them. If your team has transitioned to working from home, then you need to consider domestic disruptions like childcare and network problems. For example, if there’s a power outage in the area, all of the staff members will be affected by the problem. 

You should also be concerned about tardy employees who were previously punctual. Instead of taking immediate action, you should learn about the root cause of the issue. It’s possible that the move to remote work has been making it more challenging for them to balance their commitments. Perhaps the current setup is not working for them and you need to find a better solution for them. For some cities, going back to the office full-time may not be an option. However, you can still have a more flexible work arrangement to help your employees become more engaged at work.

Use a Time Tracker for the Easier Logging of Work Hours

Your remote workers already have a lot on their plate, and managing manual timesheets adds to their burdens. Whatever the reason behind an employee’s tardiness is, negative discipline should be your last action. So, you need to find a way to make logging in and out easier for them. In this case, you should let them use a time tracker like Traqq. Instead of trying to remember what time they logged in, they can use the tool to record their work hours automatically.

Once your employees have installed Traqq, all they need to do is click Start. The app will start logging their work hours in the background while they perform their work. At the end of the week or month, you can go to the dashboard and check their attendance. In a few clicks, you can even generate a timesheet for a specific period and export the data to a CSV file. So, it makes the job easier not only for your employees but also for you, the manager.

The best part about Traqq is that it is an all-in-one employee performance management tool. Aside from functioning as an automatic timesheet, this app also monitors your team’s performance. No matter where they are in the world, you will know if they are punctual and productive. You can view the dashboard and see their activity levels in real time. A green bar indicates that your employee’s activity levels are high, while normal activity levels are shown in yellow. Now, if a certain bar appears to be red, it means their activity levels for that period are low. You can check the screenshots for that period to see if they were doing productive work or just cyberslacking.


As we’ve illustrated in the tips we shared, ensuring employee punctuality is not simply about delivering punishments. It’s about understanding the circumstances of every worker, establishing clear expectations, and making processes easier for the team. You need to find ways to make it easier for your staff to come to work on time.

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