Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / DEC. 31, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Punctuality: Why it Matters

You wake up in the morning, feeling relaxed and refreshed after a good night’s sleep. You kiss your hubby on the forehead and, smiling, look over to the clock… and realise you’ve slept through your alarm by 25 minutes! Cursing yourself and the alarm clock, you jump out of bed, hysterically performing the extended disco remix of “Everybody Get Up and Get Ready (We’re Running Late!)”.

Half an hour later, you’ve got the kids and husband ready, and you’re about to leave the house when you remember you’ve forgotten to feed the dog. You quickly go back in, pour some dog biscuits into his bowl, and rush outside. Finally in the car, you realise you haven’t locked the front door. When you eventually get to work, after a detour at McDonald’s drive-thru for the kids’ breakfast and then dropping them off at school (since it’s on your way), you look at your watch to see you’re only 10 minutes late. Phew. Not bad.

But is it really “not bad”?

We’ve all had a bad start to the day just like that at one point or another. It’s not like we plan to be late – even if we were to leave the house five minutes earlier than usual in the morning, it does not guarantee we would arrive at work five minutes earlier. Sometimes we’re delayed by unfortunate events that are simply out of our control: we could get stuck in traffic, the bus could be running late, or really bad weather conditions.

So, what does punctuality do for you?

Advances Your Career

Managers are less likely to promote late employees, according to Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, on the grounds that tardiness shows lack of responsibility. Arriving to work on time communicates to your employer that you’re dedicated to the job and passionate about what you do, and your chances of a promotion rise significantly. On the other hand, being regularly late for work puts your job in jeopardy.

Gives You a Good Reputation

You might not “care about what other people think”, but you actually should, especially when it concerns your coworkers and, more importantly, your clients. Being punctual not only shows respect for others, it shows professionalism and trustworthiness. Why would a client want to do business with you when you’re 24 minutes late, because you were out having lunch? Punctuality equals reputability, while lateness strains your relationships with colleagues: they may begin displaying resentment towards you, which consequently lowers office morale and disrupts the workplace’s smooth operation. Jennifer Cohen conducted a poll of 150 business associates and found that “80% listed lateness as one of their top greatest annoyances in those that they work with”.

Keeps You in the Loop

If you’re late for the morning meeting, it’s highly probable they’re not going to wait for you to get started, especially if you’re a repeat offender. They’ll go ahead without you, which results in you missing important information and making you appear indifferent.

3 Tips to Avoid Being Late Again

  • Wake up 10-20 minutes earlier than you need to
  • Arrange everything the night before (work documents, shoe-polishing, etc.)
  • Always have a back-up plan or two (if your car breaks down, make sure you know which bus you need to take)

While even the chronically late do not intend to be late for work or enjoy their colleagues’ “death stares” when they walk in the office, tardiness leads to stress, and increases the risk of traffic accidents. Moreover, DeLonzor reports that “10 minutes of tardiness over the course of one year costs you the equivalent of one week’s paid vacation”.

Main image source: iStock

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