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Is it OK to be Late? This Year’s Most Ridiculous Employee Excuses for Coming Late to Work

July 21, 2017

Are perpetually late employees hurting your business? Every now and then, there are good chances that even your most punctual employees are showing up late at work. While the most common excuses revolve around being overslept or stuck in traffic jam, CareerBuilder’s latest survey reveals that some employees take their excuses to the whole new level.

Apparently, latecomers seem to be something inevitable in the industry. According to the CareerBuilder study, as much as 29 percent respondents admitted that they come in late to work once a month, up from 25 percent last year. Meanwhile, the other 16 percent said that arriving late is a weekly occurrence for them, up from 13 percent last year.

For most of the time, employees’ excuses for being late are pretty common, such as traffic (49 percent), oversleeping (32 percent), bad weather (26 percent), and fatigue (25 percent). Nevertheless, there are times when employees are telling outrageous stories, enough to make employers wonder if they are just making up the excuses.

See: Staying Off the Monday Blues at Work: Motivational Tips for a New Work Week

Some of the most ridiculous employee excuses for coming late to work, as reported by the study are:

  • I forgot it wasn’t the weekend.
  • I put petroleum jelly in my eyes.
  • My pet turtle needed to visit the exotic animal clinic.
  • The wind blew the deck off my house.
  • I overslept because my kids changed all the clocks in the house.
  • I was cornered by a moose.
  • My mother locked me in the closet.
  • The sunrise was so beautiful that I had to stop and take it in.
  • My dad offered to make me a grilled cheese sandwich, and I couldn’t say no.

While some jobs can be performed with flexible hours, there remains some type of occupations that require specific and on time schedule in order to maintain high-quality service level. For example, those who work in retail and hospitality industry should adhere to specified working hours in order to define precise hours of operation for the customers.

Staggering 64 percent employers and 64 percent employees believe that the concept of ‘9 to 5’ working has been an outdated practice. However, paradoxically, the study also notes that 53 percent employers expect their employees to be on time every day. Despite the finding that nearly 2 in 3 employers acknowledge that rigid working hours no longer fits modern working life, 41 percent employers admitted that they have fired someone for being late.

Then the question remains, how much does employee lateness cost to your business? How should you tolerate the latecomers?

As the old adage goes, ‘time is money.’ While late-coming does not seem like a big deal, overlooking your employees’ habitual tardiness might cost your business a fortune. Workplace tardiness costs U.S businesses more than $3 billion annually in relation to lost productivity.

Not only affecting the business’ bottom line, unpunctuality might affect your employee morale, too. When leaders are unable to take disciplinary action toward tardy employee, the other employees might lose respect for overall organisation’s management.

Read also: Absenteeism Management: The Missing Links for HRs to Fix

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