You can run late or miss a deadline for a variety of reasons. “The alarm didn’t go off,” or “I hit every red light on the way to work.” Whatever the reason, you can take control of being punctual. If you were headed to an important interview, you would probably take traffic into consideration and show up well in advance. But sometimes it’s hard to treat every workday or deadline as if it were an important interview.
Unfortunately, constantly being late can send the wrong message to co-workers and your employer. Some see being late as a disregard for company policy. Others may believe you are late because you are disorganized. These messages can translate into assumptions about your character and work ethic. For example if they think you are late because you are disorganized, you may not be considered for leading a big project with a tight deadline.
Here are a few good reasons to be early or on time that can have a positive impact on your image in the workplace.
Respect is a big thing in the workplace. Being constantly late, whether its to work, to a meeting, or with a project, is rude to your co-workers, manager, and clients. Being late is seen as disrespectful and that image can be difficult to recover from professionally. When you are on time you show your respect for the policies of your employer, as well as the time of peers and leaders.
This isn’t high school and your boss is not your teacher, so resist the urge to be the cool kid that comes in late and slacks off. On the flip side, showing up early does not mean that you are trying to show up your co-workers that might struggle with being on time. Try not to get caught up in who is showing up on time for work or returning quick from lunch. Unless you are a manager, all you need to worry about is your own punctuality. Don’t worry, people will notice that you are always on time and that they can count on your dependability. You’ll know your reputation for being on time has had a positive impact when people start to rely on your departure from your desk to signal them its time for the weekly staff meeting.
Apart from the normal stressors of a workday, always having to rush because you are running late will compound stress. It can just pile on – being late can mean having to park far away, which causes you to be even later by having to walk further to your building, etc. – and it’s not a good way to start your morning off. Once you get into a routine of being on time you may find the rest of your calendar falling into place. You should be scheduling your day, not reacting to a schedule imposed upon you.
Clearing Your Mind
When you are running late all the time or pushed up against a deadline, you don’t have time to think. To foster creativity you need to allow yourself time to problem solve and brainstorm. Working ahead of schedule allows you time to develop alternative solutions or try out a few ways of completing a task before having to meet a deadline or turn in something you don’t feel totally finished with.