Continued Tardiness After Winter Commute Hassles

Q: Over the past winter, I had many employees struggle with getting into work on time. I didn’t confront the issues because I knew commuting, parking and the trains were horrible because of the snow. However, today is a beautiful day with no major traffic delays and not a flake of snow on the ground. I have noticed that my employees are still coming in 20-30 minutes late or more and no one seems to think it is a concern, except for me! It is now a pattern that I need to break. Have I let this go on too long?

A: This winter caused unprecedented travel hassles, especially for those reliant on the MBTA. Hopefully this coming winter brings us less snow and a more efficient MBTA!

It sounds like you were flexible over the winter months. Many employers had to be flexible since commutes were horrible. Many of us would have been fired if we were judged on our timeliness this winter. However, thankfully this winter is behind us and most employees should be back on track in terms of trains, buses, driving and parking. I would reset expectations with your employees. One option for your message is: “I tried to be very flexible with arrival times this past winter because of weather-related hassles. However, those problems should be behind us. I now expect all employees to arrive by 9am. I have noticed that many employees are not. Please plan your mornings and leave your homes earlier if needed.”

After you have re-communicated expectations, you can now hold your employees accountable. You may have to begin disciplining employees if they continue to arrive late. However, at least you have given your employees notice that you are expecting them to be on time.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.