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The Importance of Being on Time for Work

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When you show up for work on time and are diligent about your attendance, you increase the chances that your supervisor or manager and your peers and co-workers will view you as someone who is committed to your job and responsibilities. In many cases, traits like like dependability and reliability as just as – if not more – important as your technical abilities and qualifications. Consistently arriving to work on time demonstrates commitment and consideration for the people you work with, and the company that employs you. The benefits of being punctual include your ability to build positive and productive working relationships with your supervisor and peers. It also means you gain desirable traits that employers value and that you can perform your assigned job tasks within the allotted time.

Punctuality Enhances Your Employability

Being a punctual person enhances your employability. If your work history includes tardiness and excessive absenteeism (e.g., unplanned, unexcused and excessive absences), your current employer might presume that you're either not interested in the work or that you don't consider the company's staffing needs that important. Of course, there are instances when being late is unavoidable, but if you have a record of being late, that won't bode well for your continued employment or your prospects for future employment. For example, during a job search, you will probably score points with the recruiter or hiring manager if you can talk about your job skills, training and qualifications, and then top that with something like, "In my 10 years of employment with ABC Company, I arrived on time and often early – I was never late – and I also never missed a day at work due to sickness." Supervisors and managers will appreciate you more if you are punctual and present, because they'll consider you a dependable and reliable worker.

Being on Time Sustains Good Working Relationships

The benefits of being punctual include more than getting high marks from your supervisor. Your co-workers and team members will appreciate you too. Even if you're not part of a team or work group, it's likely that other employees expect you to be at work on time. For example, say you're the company receptionist and you're responsible for unlocking the business doors each morning, answering phones and routing calls. If you're late, that means someone else has to open the business doors and answer the phone lines until you arrive. And, if you're considerably late or excessively tardy, that can strain your working relationships with others. Regardless of whether you perform your job duties independently or your workday involves working closely with other co-workers, the expectation is that you will arrive at work on time every day.

Punctuality Can Improve Your Job Performance

When department managers and human resources design staffing plans, one consideration is whether each job in the staffing plan can be filled by a part-time or full-time employee. They determine whether the job duties and responsibilities can be adequately performed in 40 hours a week or fewer than that. Regardless of whether you're a part-time or full-time employee, if you're late to work, you're decreasing the amount of time you have to accomplish your tasks. When tardiness cuts into the amount of time you have to do your work, something is bound to fall through the cracks or be left undone. Also, by decreasing the amount of time you have to do your job, you're increasing the chances that you will miss important deadlines simply because you're not there. If you're missing deadlines and not finishing your assigned tasks, your performance suffers – all caused by not getting to work on time.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she earned both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), through the Society for Human Resource Management, and certification as a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ruth also is certified as a facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer. Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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