Looking to immediately irritate friends, family and general acquaintances? It can be as easy as uttering three innocent words, “sorry, I’m late.” If promptness is a virtue, arriving after the scheduled time is the polar opposite.
Why So Late?
Lateness, in its most basic concept, is an underestimation of the passage of time. It is something so powerful it has the ability to end friendships and result in the termination of a job, so why does it continue to be such a prevalent issue?
Reasons for Being Late
- Overestimating what can be done in a particular amount of time
- Distractions from other tasks keep an individual from staying on schedule
- Avoidance mechanism for not being the first to arrive
- Circumnavigating the feeling of wasting time by arriving before a scheduled meeting or appointment
The Cost of Lateness
In life, lateness creates an unfortunate domino effect. At work, when an employee is chronically late it not only throws off the tone for the day for the employee but it has the potential to spark a negative reaction from employees who choose to be on time. Whether or not it’s explicitly stated, being on time is an important way to demonstrate respect to oneself and someone else. Arriving at the scheduled time, or slightly earlier, conveys an understanding of the importance of the task. On the flip side, regularly showing up late demonstrates the polar opposite.
Ways to Break the Lateness Cycle
- Avoid overscheduling, too many tasks mean something will always not get done
- Budget extra time for unexpected things (traffic jams, crying children, long lines, etc.)
- Re-evaluate existing routines and see if you need to add in more leeway time
- Embrace the feeling of not rushing and the luxury of downtime
- Understand that being on time shows respect to yourself and others
Implications of Work and Tardiness
Obviously there are some times when being late can’t be helped. In these cases, it’s important to notify someone about a late arrival as far in advance as possible. If these calls become too frequent, an employee should expect a discussion with a manager about why the lateness continues to occur and how it can be eliminated. Troubleshooting the source of the problem is a way to not only look for ways to make time (yours and theirs) more valuable but also to keep the workforce united by observing the same schedules. If an agreement and subsequent action aren’t met in this area, there’s a good chance an employee will experience disciplinary action.
Importance of Being on Time
The growing number of technological gadgets and timesaving apps mean that the luxury of being late will continue to decline. Instead of relying on an age-old excuse, re-evaluate how you are spending your time and recognize that time may be one of the most valuable things of all.