CFOSnafu.com » 10 reasons your employees are late

10 reasons your employees are late

May 29, 2008 by Shane Borer
Posted in: "Seemed like a good idea at the time", "Would you want this person in Finance?", Special report

Sure, cruising in a few minutes late on a Monday might be the office norm. But ask Finance staffers what the holdup was, and you might get more than you bargained for.

The latest survey from CareerBuilder says more than one-in-ten workers (13%) admit to arriving late to work at least once a week. Another 24% say they’re late at least once a month.

Most admit to the more common causes:

  • 10% said getting children ready for school or day care slowed them down
  • 27% blame traffic or the weather, and
  • 11% said they just fell asleep again (kudos to the honest).

Other popular reasons included forgetting something at home, not feeling well first thing in the morning and misplacing house or car keys.

But the real kicker is 20% of employees admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness. How fake? Here’s the list of the top ten most unusual excuses for tardiness, along with suggestions on how to respond:

  1. I had to take my cat to the dentist.
    (I hope you’re not sneaking “Mr. Jingles” onto our dental plan.)
  2. I couldn’t find the right tie, so I had to wait for stores to open so I could buy one.
    (But you’re wearing a polo shirt …)
  3. I saw that you weren’t in the office, so I went looking for you.
    (I was looking for a replacement employee who’d always be on time.)
  4. My son/daughter tried to flush our ferret/lizard/cockatoo down the toilet, and I needed to tend to the animal.
    (We have plenty of bathrooms here for that kind of thing.)
  5. I dreamed that I was fired, so I didn’t want to get out of bed.
    (Maybe you should stay in bed next time.)
  6. I stopped for a bagel sandwich, the store was robbed and the police kept everyone there for questioning.
    (Did you bring enough sandwiches for everyone else?)
  7. I ran over a goat.
    (Make sure you write off the depreciation on your car.)
  8. A bee flew in my car and attacked me, so I had to pull over.
    (Didn’t you get the memo on carpooling?)
  9. I made it all the way to the office before I realized I was still in my pajamas.
    (Hey, it’s casual Friday, you should have come right in!)
  10. I wet my pants and went home to change.
    (No excuse — I keep Depends on-hand for month-end closings.)

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20 Responses to “10 reasons your employees are late”

  1. Melony Says:

    Hahaha too funny! First of all I’m late every morning (yes I’m one of the bad ee’s) I cant seem to do anything on time. My boss doesnt mind so much because I always get my work done. The couple of times that I do show up on time he will ask me “what couldnt sleep?”.

    I love the one about the bee. I truly had a similar experience but it was a spider!

  2. Tim Says:

    I had an employee that was always 5 minutes late for work, so I wrote her on the schedule to start at 8:55 am instead of 9:00 am. As long as I wrote it that way on the schedule, she would always show up at 9:00 am. If I happened to forget and write her on the schedule for 9:00, then she would show up at 9:05.

  3. Denise Says:

    Well I am happy to say that I am not one of the late employees. I am a morning person so I guess it would take a certain person to get themselves into that mental state of mind two hours before work. Second I hate dealing with morons in traffic that are either too sleepy, are on the cell phone, applying make up or shaving..which should all be done at home, before trying to attempt to drive on the way to work. So if I do happen to come across these people I have ample time to get to work. I guess I think about the fact that this is now an employer’s market, where they can easily replace you. But what it all boils down to is how you feel about your job! your career! your livelihood! Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

  4. Denise Says:

    Try asking the employees that have to wait for you to come into your place of employment!

  5. Deb Says:

    I’m usually 5 to 10 mins late most days. However, I’m here till 6:30pm or 7:00pm every day and still do e-mails from home late at night to China. No one better say a word to me, especially the 8:00 to 5:00 er’s. This company is getting more than their paying.

  6. Barb Says:

    There is no excuse for being late to work. It’s not like we don’t know what time it starts! I have a 30 mile commute and arrive 1/2 hr before the gal that lives 2 blocks away!

  7. Dave Says:

    Barb is onto waht I call “the paradox of the commuter”. I have the longest commute in our office (over an hour in heavy traffic) and somehow I get in to work on time (even when the weather is bad), while the folks who live just minutes away from the office are always late. I find it very interesting.

  8. Janis Says:

    My Father taught me the principle of “If you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late.” I always prepare myself in the morning to be 5 – 10 minutes early as I was raised. Now my husband, on the other hand, is one of the always late employees. I think he feels like “fashionably late” is the norm. Now that he is retired he is trying real hard to convert me by keeping conversation at the breakfast table going so I won’t leave him home alone. It is SO FRUSTRATING!!

  9. Laresa Says:

    In this day & age….of FLEX TIME….it really shouldn’t matter if you are few minutes late to work. We’re all supposed to be ADULTS, we all work at different paces, but we all get the work done & fullfill our responsilibities to the employers. Everyone should mind their own clock rather than focusing on what time your co-workers arrive.

  10. Jerry Says:

    Laresa hit it right on the head. I am one of those employees that arrive late everyday, but I always make it up and then some in the evenings and on Saturday. Those who have a problem with it (except management, who could care less), can mind their own business and stop worrying so much what I am doing.

  11. Luana Says:

    When I get comments regarding my being late ( I have a long commute), I tell them that if they are checking my arrival time, make sure they are checking my departing time. I usually am still working when they are long gone. They quit commenting.

  12. Evelyn Says:

    Amen, Luana. I think those of us who work flex time should always be sure we are accomplishing our work. Also, some jobs require a specific start time and some don’t so that makes a difference a well. I believe that as long as the department has someone who can answer questions or take messages during the most important times then what difference does it make. Also, if someone wants to meet with me and makes an appointment I will be there.

  13. Denise Says:

    Flex time is available for people whose companies provide this luxury. In this day and age now..this added feature for salaried employees (exempt)works well for those individuals. However, everyone is not salary exempt and for some employees it is crucial that their attendance is punctual.

  14. Steph Says:

    i wouldn’t say flex time is a luxury. more like the company’s way of getting you to stay late without having to pay you overtime. i tend to come in 5 minutes late nearly every day. i TRY to make it on time, but i can’t predict traffic when i’m 30 miles away and have to take the three busiest highways in the city (major city). but i also stay late. so what’s the difference.

  15. Denise Says:

    Flex time has mutiple meanings. Basically it is for people who are interested in Part-time /Time sharing positions. Another form of Flex time is for people who work a 40 hour week and can not make it into the office by the rigid schedule of 8 to 5; 9 to 5: etc. These people who have this(Luxury) and Yes I mean Luxury! can usually come to the office in early hours or late hours and work the hours that best fit their schedule for the day. Just as long as they make it up during the week. So it doesn’t matter what time you come into the office! or what time you leave just as long as your weekly total ends in 40 hours.

  16. Ouida Says:

    Here if you are late twice, you’re written up and the third time you can be fired. So being late is not an option where I work. And that goes for all people, salaried (exempt) and hourly. We all punch a time clock whether we are paid hourly or not so management always knows who is coming in late.

  17. Rebecca Says:

    Some positions in my industry do require that the employee is at their post when the doors open to the public. That is good customer service. I however do not have customer contact, being a “back office” type. I believe in letting an employee find and use their most productive hours.

    I’m sure you’ve figured out that I am the employee who is chronically late. But, you early birds should know that while you are getting the worm, us nightowls are enjoying rabbit stew!

  18. Bonnie Says:

    Late employyes make it very difficult for those of us that need to interact with them to get OUR jobs done. Being late is not sylish or cute. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful of your co-workers. If you have a 9 AM start, be there at 9 AM!

  19. Bill Says:

    I had a secretary many years ago who was 15 to 30 minutes late every morning. She had been allowed to get away with this before I was transfer into this office as the manager. I talked to her about the problem a nember to times and told her that this had to stop. It did not and I gave her a week off without pay and she was never late again.

  20. Diane Says:

    I’m a night owl and am usually 10-15 late every morning. After 7 years my boss realizes that nothing can change me. There were a few times we had to have an early morning meeting and I was there in body but not spirit. My brain just doesn’t function “early”. I produce my best work after 4 when most employees start going home. I’m also usually the last one to leave every evening. Since I work on the east coast I am usually the only one in the office answering questions from customers on the west coast that forgot about the time change.


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