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There is this colleague who would schedule 15-30 minutes meeting and join themselves like 10-15 minutes late (I am the only attendee). It has happened on several occasion and I have ignored it but now it seems very impolite.

How shall I bring this up to them without sounding rude?

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  • 2
    Does the meeting still conclude on time? Feb 4 at 7:23
  • yes and if not then max +5 minutes
    – Swarley
    Feb 4 at 7:25
  • 2
    What are the cultural norms around time in your locale?
    – jcm
    Feb 4 at 9:51
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First of all, stop waiting for the meeting to happen for 10-15 minutes. A minute or two is understandable, but stop waiting for 10-15 minutes. If the attendee(s) have not shown up, drop off from the meeting, and send a note that due to missed presence, you are dropping off. If you allow them to be arbitrarily late into a meeting (without a prior notice / rescheduling), and still continue as usual - you're essentially wasting your own time.

If still this continues, try to talk to them (over chat or face-to-face) to understand why this repeats. They may be in need of help for some time management lesson (to ensure they finish other tasks / meeting on-time and honor the time booking for all meetings), or they might just not understand the importance of being on-time.

  • If they seem to have a hard time managing time (overlapping meetings, discussions running past allocated time etc.), advise them to schedule meetings with buffer time (no back to back bookings), and try to wrap up meetings 5/10 minute before the actual time. Also, advise them that in case they see that they are going to be late for a meeting, at least send a note to the attendee(s) about that, and if the delay is more than ~10 minutes, possible re-schedule the meeting.
  • If they seem to be ignorant about being on-time, stop accepting meeting invites from them. If they ask for the reason of refusal, reply over email to attend on-time, with examples of previous occurrences.

In short, respect time, others as well as yours.

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This issue is quite common in my workplace, even more when we were still working in the office and often moving between meeting room would require 5+ minutes of walking if the rooms were far apart.

Based on how I handle the situation when it happens to me, I think you have to make a distinction between

  • the colleague being late annoys you but has no impact on the meeting outcome
  • the colleague being late makes the meeting less effective

In the first case you can use those 10-15 minutes to do other stuff, like reading or answering mails, which one usually parks for later. In this way those minutes won't be wasted from your side.

In the second case you can point out that using only half of the allocated time for a meeting has a negative impact on the meeting efficiency, because you will either not reach a conclusion or need to schedule another meeting to do it.

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