Employers share workers' top 10 excuses for arriving late to work

RP news wires
Tags: talent management

In today's tough economic climate, where productivity and resources are being closely scrutinized, employers are taking more notice of punctuality. Thirty-nine percent of business leaders in the United Kingdom reported they are paying more attention to what time workers arrive than they had in healthier economic cycles. Fifteen percent of employers said they would terminate an employee who was late two or three times while 12 percent would terminate the employee for being tardy four or five times. The study was conducted from April 29 to May 7 on behalf of CareerBuilder.co.uk and included more than 100 United Kingdom business leaders across industries.

While employers would prefer workers to clock in at their designated start time, many are willing to afford workers with some flexibility. Forty-six percent of United Kingdom employers said they didn't care if their employees are running late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality.

When asked to share the most unusual excuses workers gave to explain their late arrivals, European employers offered the following real-life examples:

  • Employee said there was a bank robbery in front of his house.
  • Employee was delayed by volcanic ash.
  • Employee was concerned about an impending comet impact.
  • Employee reported that a horse jumped over a hedge straight on top of her car.
  • Employee's cat was stuck in the cat flap.
  • Employee's house was on fire.
  • Employee's car was blocked in by a stolen car and the police were taking fingerprints.
  • Employee had difficulty adjusting to the climate change from winter to summer.
  • Employee said someone moved his teeth.
  • Employee said, "I always leave at the same time. Sometimes I'm late, sometimes I'm not. I can't figure it out."

"Arriving late can impact perceptions of your professionalism and reliability not only in the eyes of your employer, but in the eyes of your co-workers who may have to pick up the slack," said Tony Roy, managing director for CareerBuilder U.K. "Getting organized and preparing for the upcoming day the night before can help to improve punctuality and make the commute less hectic."

Three Tips for Getting to Work on Time

  1. Plan ahead. Set everything you need to get out the door in one place the night before. If you drive to work, make sure you have a full tank of gas.
  2. Limit distractions. Turn off the TV or computer. Save phone calls for the commute.
  3. Consider an alternate work arrangement. Telecommuting enables you to start your work day right away. 

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