Do you work with someone who just can’t ever seem to get to work on time? Someone who is habitually late is not committing a great offense. This is simply an annoying bad habit. But then, that’s what we’re talking about this week, annoying bad habits of coworkers and how we should respond to them.

I find that many who are guilty of habitual lateness frequently want to justify it by saying that they work late to make up for it, or they have a very long commute, and that may be true. But the facts are, if your company has a certain start time, everyone should be there on time consistently. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

This is a management issue. If it’s important for people to be on time, management must set the priorities, communicate them clearly, and hold people accountable. There would have to be some kind of negative consequence for the person who will not change that annoying habit.

However, if you’re not this person’s manager, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this annoying habit. One thing you don’t want to do is make snide remarks about it or communicate your annoyance with body language or harsh words. Unfortunately, that happens too often where people don’t confront the real issue and instead display their displeasure in other ineffective and unkind ways.

If a coworker’s habitual lateness is having a direct negative impact on your ability to get your job done, that might be an indication that it needs to be addressed. First, try to kindly explain to the coworker the need you have for them to be on time, and see if that might work. But remember, unless you’re the manager, you don’t have the authority to demand anything from that person.

Isn’t it interesting how something so small as this annoying habit can so easily turn into a real issue between two people and eventually lead to other, more major problems. That’s because we dwell on these little things, allow them to occupy too much thought time, and develop an attitude pretty quickly.

If you are powerless to either change or address this annoying habit of a coworker, then it’s time to let it go. Colossians 3:13 tells us to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Just let it go—it won’t kill you!