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10 Wacky Excuses for Being Late to Work

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may5homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, May 5, 2008-(CareerBuilder.com)- If the minutes on the clock seem to fly by in the morning as you frantically run around collecting your keys, getting your kids out the door and grabbing your bills while trying to make it to work on time, you’re not alone. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 15% of workers say they arrive late to work at least once a week, while nearly one-in-four of all workers (24%) admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness. The CareerBuilder.com survey, “Late to Work,” was conducted from February 11 through March 13, 2008 among 2,757 employers and 6,987 workers.

“Although flexible schedules are more common in the workplace these days, it is still important for employees to be mindful of their arrival times,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. “Consistently showing up late can affect how others in the company view your work ethic and discipline, as well as affect your productivity.”

While 43% of hiring managers say they don’t mind if their employees are late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality, others are much stricter, and would consider terminating an employee if he or she arrives late several times a year.

When asked to identify the primary cause for coming in late, more than 32% of workers claimed traffic was the culprit. Falling back asleep was the reason cited by 17%, while 7% pointed to a long commute as the main cause. Other popular reasons included getting kids ready for school and day care, forgetting something at home and feeling sick.

While the majority of hiring managers believe their employees’ reasons for being late to work, more than 27% say they are skeptical of the excuses.

Hiring managers provided the following top 10 examples of the most unusual excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:

- While rowing across the river to work, I got lost in the fog.
- Someone stole all my daffodils.
- I had to go audition for American Idol.
- My ex-husband stole my car so I couldn’t drive to work.
- My route to work was shut down by a Presidential motorcade.
- I wasn’t thinking and accidentally went to my old job.
- I was indicted for securities fraud this morning.
- The line was too long at Starbucks.
- I was trying to get my gun back from the police.
- I didn’t have money for gas because all of the pawn shops were closed.

Insights for Managers about Tardiness

Other jobs can be successfully performed with very flexible hours.

Some jobs require adherence to a specific schedule in order to maintain quality service levels and precise hours of operation. Other jobs can be successfully performed with very flexible hours. Whether you tend to be strict or flexible about schedules, frequent tardiness or lack of reliability should not be ignored. Managers who have frequently tardy employees should do the following:

Candidly discuss the tardiness issue with the employee, seeking the root cause. The employee may have personal scheduling issues that can be worked around with reasonable schedule adjustments. Employees who have problems with oversleeping or unanticipated traffic delays may need help understanding the importance of strong personal discipline. In talking with these employees, also inquire about their level of satisfaction with their current role. Frequent lateness can sometimes be an indicator of job dissatisfaction.

Evaluate the current policies and consider trying flextime, which can be implemented with various levels of flexibility. One recommended approach is to set “core business hours” and a weekly time requirement.

For example, require employees to be in the office between the core hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (excluding lunch), while working a total of 38 to 45 hours per week. This kind of policy, which lets employees set their own schedule to avoid traffic or drop kids off at school or day care, may reduce stress in the workplace.

When using flextime, it is usually best for managers to clearly define expectations and use measurements based on accomplishments and deadlines, rather than specific hours.

For more information, visit http://www.careerbuilder.com/.

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