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The Surprising Link Between Time and Attendance and Work Ethic

Time and Attendance

If you’ve managed a retail team for long enough, you'll know that no-one has a perfect time and attendance record. Every once in a while, someone will be late. And, that’s all right. You can accept one-off lateness, and it’s okay to provide some leeway because there are some situations that you can’t control. What is not acceptable, however, is continued lateness.

That’s not just because it shows a lack of professionalism on the part of one of your team members. Or, that it’s a sign of disrespect to colleagues. There are also far-reaching consequences that you might not notice until it’s too late. We’re not only talking about the influence it can have on your company culture or work ethic.

Employee lateness can cost your business money.

Financial Impact of Lateness

The financial impact of arriving late for work or not arriving at all

There are plenty of studies and publications that focus on the financial impact that late and absent workers can have on a business as well as the economy. What’s staggering is when you get into the details of these studies.

Take the publication - Absenteeism: The Bottom-Line Killer published by Circadian, as an example.

It found that on average, “a shift worker in the US costs a company roughly $2660 in excess absenteeism costs per year.” If you were to have 500 hourly shift workers, it would cost your business around $1.3-million. Moreover, that only covers the direct costs, such as wages paid and expenses related to managing absenteeism.

Then there’s the Society For Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society, which found that if one of your team members is 10 minutes late every day, that’s equal to a week’s paid leave over a year.

Meanwhile, a study by Heathrow Express found that staff who arrive late cost the UK economy £9-billion a year. Of the 1000 people surveyed, 39% said their lateness negatively affected the rest of their day while 48% believed their tardiness leads to colleagues losing respect for them.

Time and Attendance and Work Ethic

How do poor time and attendance impact work ethic?

As much as tardiness can affect your retail business’ bottom line and can cost the economy millions if not billions, it has just as much of an impact on work ethic.

That’s the work ethic of the individual team members who are late as well as the rest of your team who need to pick up the slack.

          A loss in productivity

The most apparent impact of lateness is the loss of productivity.

As noted in one of the above studies, 39% of late arrivers admitted it affected their work for the rest of the day. That same study found that it took an average of 49 minutes for people to feel settled after arriving late.

To make matters worse, you are not only dealing with the loss of productivity of that one person who arrives late. While it may take them close to an hour to feel settled, they could also disrupt others who are already working.

Then there are situations where the person who is regularly late needs to give a presentation at a meeting or input for a project. By not arriving early, they’re holding up everyone else, effectively bottlenecking any work.  

Also, if a person is continually late, someone else needs to pick up the slack, which can take them away from their primary role.

          A drop in team morale

Besides the loss in productivity, late arrivals can also impact overall team morale.


Let’s say that a colleague arrives five minutes late every day and for the sake of this example, we’ll take the cost out of the equation. What’s more, as the manager, you overlook this lateness. After all, what're five minutes in the grand scheme of a day.

Well, what does that say to the rest of your team?

Someone knowingly arrives late for work and yet there is no acknowledgement or punishment of this. That’s disheartening for the rest of your team who do arrive early and understand the importance of begin on time.

By the way, it’s not just about being 5 or 10 minutes late. Even someone who regularly arrives at work a minute before they’re meant to clock in can frustrate others. That’s especially true if they hold others up who need their input for projects.

After all, let’s look at it this way: if one person knows they can get to work early, and consistently so, why is it so difficult for another person to do the same? Yes, one or two late days can be explained away. However, you can’t excuse it every day.

What’s more, if one person continually arrives five minutes late, that can subconsciously drive a culture where it’s acceptable. One late person becomes two, becomes three.

          An increase in unhappy customers

No matter if you run a store, a supply chain business or provide retail services, you undermine your effectiveness when productivity dips and team morale is low. That’s because in most cases, it creates an environment where people don’t want to work.

What’s more, it leads to another consequence: an increase in unhappy and dissatisfied customers.  

Let’s say you’re a supplier with multiple retail clients. If your clients find out that your team is not producing the same type of quality goods as you did in the past, there is every reason for them to drop you and go with another supplier.

It’s the same if you’re a retailer. If shoppers find out that the goods you offer are not of a good enough quality or your customer service levels drop over an extended period, what stops them from going to your competitor?

Where Time and Attendance Software Helps

Where can time and attendance software help?

If you can address tardiness head-on - not accept it - you can make a positive impact on the productivity levels of your retail workforce and boost morale. What’s more, you can also impact the overall work ethic of your business.

Of course, how you address it comes down to you. One way is to turn to specialised time and attendance software such as Activ8.

Why? It’s because of what you can achieve with it.

          1. Monitor and track team punctuality

The fact that Activ8 has built-in time and attendance functionality means you can use it to monitor and track when your team arrives at work. You can achieve that through the Activ8 Android and iOS mobile apps, which use phone GPS to track your team.

Then, on the Activ8 dashboard, there is a My Stats column for each team member under which you can find a widget detailing their attendance rate. Expressed as a percentage, it’s also colour-coded for easy reference — Green for positive; Red for negative. So, at a glance, you can see if someone’s attendance record is at an acceptable level or not.

If not, you can address it directly.

You can also compare an individual of your team against another as well as against your entire workforce.

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          2. Ensure the completion of store visits

If you’re a retail service provider who offers merchandising services or a supplier with a field marketing team, you can use Activ8 to complete your store visits. What’s more, you can also ensure your team completes these visits.


Through the Activ8 Android and iOS mobile apps, you can track your team’s location at all times during the day.

If one of your team says they visited a store and checked the layout of your products on the shelf, for example, you can verify that by looking at the data sent from their phone.

          3. Approve ad-hoc check-ins

If you have a team spread across multiple locations, you need software that will help you to manage them effectively.

Fortunately, with Activ8, you can. Thanks to the ad-hoc check-in feature, you can approve ad-hoc check-ins requested by your team.

Let’s say, for example, you have a team of space planners, and they need to visit a store because you offer planogram services to the retailer in question. Your team of space planners can submit a request and include all the information such as the date for check-in, the location as well as the time they plan to arrive.

You can also use this feature if one of your team members want to arrive at work later than usual.

          4. Assign specific or multiple worksite locations to your team

Alongside the check-in function found in Activ8, you also have the option to assign specific worksite locations to your team members. Thanks to the Activ8 mobile apps, you can track your team and ensure they arrive at the designated site.

You can even assign multiple locations to a person, which is especially helpful if your team regularly travels between two places during any given week. Your team can then check-in at any of the worksite locations assigned to them to show you that they have arrived at work on time.

For further control and peace of mind, locations on the Activ8 dashboard shows you where each team member is at any time of the day.


Activ8 is team management software for retail with time and attendance functionality. If you’re interested in monitoring team punctuality and tracking their locations across your entire retail business, Activ8 is for you. You can learn more by scheduling a demo with one of our sales consultants below.

Darren Gilbert

Content Writer at DotActiv

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