Workplace punctuality increasing: Survey

'My dog swallowed my cellphone' one of outrageous excuses given for lateness
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 03/26/2010

A tighter job market may be contributing to increased punctuality at work, according to a new survey.

Just 16 per cent of workers surveyed by online job site CareerBuilder said they arrive late to work at least once a week, down from 20 per cent in last year's survey.

The survey of 5,200 workers also found eight per cent said they are late at least twice a week, down from 12 per cent last year.

"Some workers may be more concerned with the nuances of their on-the-job performance these days, resulting in fewer late arrivals," said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

"Regardless of the economy, though, getting to work on time can be more of a priority in some work places than in others. It’s important for workers to be aware of their company’s tardiness policies and make sure to be honest with their manager if they are going to be late."

While some employers are more lenient with worker tardiness, others have stricter policies. One-third (34 per cent) of employers said they have terminated an employee for being late. 

Workers shared a variety of reasons for being tardy, led by traffic (32 per cent) and lack of sleep (24 per cent). Seven per cent said getting their kids ready for school or daycare was the cause of their lateness, while the same percentage said bad weather was the culprit. Other common reasons included public transportation, wardrobe issues or dealing with pets.

Hiring managers share some outrageous excuses for being late:

• My dog swallowed my cellphone.

• I got mugged and was tied to the steering wheel of my car.

• My deodorant was frozen to the window sill.

• My car door fell off.

• It was too windy.

• I dreamt I was already at work.

• I had to go to the hospital because I drank antifreeze.

• I had an early morning gig as a clown.

• A roach crawled in my ear.

• I saw an elderly lady at a bus stop and decided to pick her up.

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