Create your balance. Design your life.

Ask Madeleine Vol. 17

Need a fresh perspective? Ask Madeleine.  She’s four and has no problem telling you exactly what to do.  Send in your questions–comment below, use the contact link, post them on our Facebook page, or email us at advice @


What’s the most important equipment to have in an office?


Madeleine: A PHONE!!!  You have to make lots of calls.  You can also have pencils for writing.  I don’t know?  There’s a lot in an office.

Stinky Old Mom: I guess it depends on the office!  I would say a computer is the priority, but a phone is important.  How many times do we send an e-mail where a phone call would have been the perfect touch?  Taking my daughter’s advice, I will pledge to make a few more calls this week instead of sending out e-mail after e-mail.  It may make all the difference in an ongoing work relationship!


How should I handle chronically late or absent employees?



Madeleine:  You put them on the absent list.  [OK.  How can you stop them from being absent and want to come to work instead?] I like being on time so I can be first and get stickers.  You can go to the treasure box. You can still go to the treasure box if you are late though.

Stinky Old Mom: As an employer, you must address these issues before they become chronic.  Make immediate note of the absence/tardy and how the employee handled the situation.  Did the employee call to let you know or leave you in the lurch?  Make sure your employee knows you noticed the absence or tardiness after the FIRST time.  This is important.  A reprimand is not in order, especially if the employee handled it well, but it is important for your employee to know you notice him/her.  If you say nothing, especially when the person is late, it can come across as if you don’t care (that they are on time or that they are there at all).

By the third time, you need to handle the tardy/absence as a performance issue.   A one-on-one is in order.  Chronic tardies/absenteeism can be a sign of serious personal issues.  Some workplace coaching could help.  If the employee has demonstrated value to you, perhaps this is an opportunity to work with the employee on a schedule change.  For example, the employee has a child in a new school across town and has difficulty getting to work on time.  Try having the employee come in an hour later and stay an hour later.  This demonstrates your ability to be firm on your policies and your ability to value your employees.  Working with your employees in time of crisis is an excellent way to stress the importance of work life balance, and create a loyal and committed employee.

If you have many employees who are late or calling in all the time, that shows an issue within the workplace (leadership/management/morale–something on your end).  If you are unsure what might be causing this or how to fix it, call in a consultant ASAP!


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