Networking and Career Advice

10 Reasons to Be on Time at Work

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer

Being punctual at work may not be something you’ve given much thought to, but it’s the foundation for building a successful career. All of your technical or job-specific skills will be in vain if your peers and superiors can’t trust you to show up on time and do the work. In fact, Simon Sinek once famously said that

You don’t hire for skills. You hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”

This is so true when it comes to punctuality. You may wonder why is being on time for work important when the focus seems to be on measuring outcomes rather than clocking in hours. However, punctuality is shown to impact business performance. So, whether you’re looking to prove yourself in a new team or score points for your next promotion, working on your punctuality can give your career a much-needed boost.

What Does Punctuality at Work Mean for You?

Punctuality at work means your employer can rely on you to show up when you’re expected. That could mean showing up at work at the same time each day (if that’s your schedule). Maybe it means coming to meetings on time. In the end, punctuality means that your team and company can rely on you to take up your job responsibilities when expected.

How Does Punctuality Enhance Your Employability?

Punctuality is the first step towards building trust with your employer. Not only will this open up doors for more projects and responsibilities down the line, but should you ever require a reference for future employment, your current employer will be happy to give a positive review.

10 Specific Reasons Why Being Punctual at Work is Important

Builds a Culture of Trust

Punctuality helps build trust with your colleagues and demonstrate that they can rely on you. Whether you need to take over a second shift or meet with important clients, being always on time will make it easier for your co-workers to trust you.

Sets You Up for Leadership Positions

Climbing the ladder in your company might take more than just being on time, but without it, you won’t be able to get far. Senior managers and executives manage other people and oversee strategic aspects of the business. If you’re someone who’s constantly late, the board may not trust you to take on extra responsibilities. 

Reduces Stress

How often have you jumped out of bed, realizing you’re late for work? On those days, you probably rushed around the house to get ready, skipped the morning coffee from your favorite shop, and showed up late at work, all out of breath. Not a great way to start the day. Showing up on time, even slightly earlier, gives you an opportunity to start the day on a positive note. 

In the same way, your tardiness to work (or with assignments) could cause undeserved stress on your coworkers, who have to pick up the slack.

Increases Your Productivity

Punctuality gives you extra space to complete tasks on time and meet deadlines without rushing. When you’re on time, you can organize, review, and achieve more while at work.

Improves Your Overall Performance

Besides being more productive, being on time means having the space to perform better. Rather than rushing a task just to get it done, you can focus on its execution. As a result, you can utilize your fullest potential to achieve the best result. 

Helps You Hone Your Time Management Skills

We often underestimate time management as a skill, but it’s crucial for achieving anything in life. Whether you want to send a job application before the deadline on the careers page expires, or correctly estimate how long a task would take you, managing your time well can help you feel in control of your life. 

Allows You to Take on More Responsibilities

Consistently arriving at work on time opens the door to taking on extra responsibilities. You may be wondering why would I want to do that? But taking on extra responsibilities or bigger projects gives you an opportunity to show your employer how much you have developed. As a result, managers will trust you with bigger projects or promotions down the line.

Improves Your Future Employability

Throughout your career, you’ll notice that people at all levels of seniority are constantly moving around in different jobs and industries. Making a good impression with everyone you work with can significantly impact how many new opportunities come to you in the future.

It Speaks about Who You’re as a Person

A study has found that being punctual is also linked to being conscientious and agreeable as a person. So, showing up on time can play a massive role in how others perceive your personality and commitment to relationship-building.

Frees Up Room for Other Activities

Who wants to stay late at work staring at a spreadsheet or talking to clients on the phone? While you may occasionally need to do that, being on time allows you to finish work on time and not sacrifice other aspects of your life. This then gives you space to dedicate time to your hobbies or spend more time with your friends and family.

Benefits of Being on Time at Work

Hopefully, by now, you’re convinced that hitting that “snooze” button one more time isn’t such a great idea. Here are some of the other benefits you can expect from showing up at work on time:

  • Learn more about the business and your colleagues – a lot of banter takes place in those early hours before the workday starts. You can learn a lot in that time about the business. You may even get to know your co-workers personally and build trust.
  • Have a better overview of your day – arriving on time means you can plan other activities in your day with more confidence.
  • Be the go-to person for your co-workers and clients – if you always show up on time or early, guess who your team will go to when they need help. Also, your clients will learn to trust you and prefer to deal with you over others.

The Bad Effects of Being Late at Work

In contrast, work tardiness can be like a cancer to productivity and positive work culture. Not only would this corrode the trust among co-workers, but it can also elicit feelings of anger and frustration, especially if your lateness impacts other people’s schedules. 

Here are some of the other negative effects of being late at work:

  • reduced productivity;
  • friction with co-workers and your manager;
  • getting fired if you’re consistently late;
  • bypassed for promotions or larger projects;
  • poor workplace relationships;
  • increased levels of stress and disorganization;

Tips to Prepare Yourself to Be on Time

Often people are late because they aren’t “morning people,” or they often miscalculate how long something takes. But showing up on time doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little upfront planning, you can achieve a lot.

  • Always overestimate how long something will take – if you know that getting to work is only a 20-min bike ride, give yourself 35 minutes to err on caution. You never know if there might be a car accident on the way or if the weather forecast missed the morning rain that day.
  • Use a timer – timing yourself can be an eye-opening exercise. You can use your phone or free services such as to time your tasks, commute time, and even your breaks.
  • Practice prioritization – going back to underestimating how long something takes, you may bite off more than you can chew. Here, you can use Eisenhower’s principle to distinguish between urgent and important tasks and focus on those that require your immediate attention first.

Frequently Asked Questions on Maintaining Punctuality at Work

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding punctuality at work.

How Does Being Late at Work Affect You?

Being late at work can not only impact your mental health and make you feel frazzled and stressed, but it can also negatively impact your productivity and your relationships with others.

Why Does Being Late Causes Stress?

If your lateness is unintentional, this can cause a lot of stress as your sense of responsibility and guilt kick in. Stress can also creep up as the day goes on your workload accumulates due to your late start.

Does Being Late Affect Your Attendance?

Your tardiness can also affect how you perform at meetings or other events where your attendance is required. Sometimes, if you’re too late, you may decide to excuse yourself from attending altogether, severely impacting your performance and rapport with others.

Bottom Line

While being late five or 10 minutes daily may not seem like a big deal, it can quickly accumulate to hours of missed work. As a result, it leads to increased stress levels, poor rapport with your co-workers, and missed opportunities for growth. 

If this is something you often struggle with, take a good look at your patterns of behavior and the root cause of your tardiness. Then, put good systems in place to set yourself up for success.

1 Comment

  1. Jesse Gamon Reply

    Awesome information!!! Really liked it and will share it with my students.

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