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How to Get to Work on Time

Updated on November 30, 2012
ChrisMcDade8 profile image

Christine McDade is a Human Resources professional (PHR & SHRM-CP) with over 18 years in the public sector.

Being late to work habitually is likely to land an employee into hot water with the boss.
Being late to work habitually is likely to land an employee into hot water with the boss. | Source

Being Late is No Longer Cool

Employees sometimes find it difficult to get to work on time. For many, this behavior has been a part of their lives since the days they attended elementary school. Bad habits, such as being tardy, are behaviors that can cause an employee to have disciplinary actions taken against them. The bad habit of not allowing enough time to get ready and then, subsequently, not arriving to work on time, can have serious repercussions for an employee who demonstrates a pattern of lateness. Because being late to work is not the same as being late to school, it is important for employees who are habitually late to work to make some drastic changes to their behavior in order to keep from being disciplined or eventually fired.

Smartphones offer good alarm clock options.
Smartphones offer good alarm clock options. | Source
Some individuals choose to set out work clothes the night before to save time in the morning.
Some individuals choose to set out work clothes the night before to save time in the morning. | Source

What Can an Employee Do to Improve Their Attendance

Although being late to events in life seems to be a problem for many people, there are some easy behavioral modifications that can be made to help an employee improve their attendance/tardiness at work. Consider the following:

  • Get more rest. Many employees are unable to get the needed sleep because of personal commitments and/or lifestyle choices during their off-time. As a result, they have trouble waking up when that dreaded alarm clock sounds in the morning. By changing bedtimes that include an earlier hour to go to sleep, an employee will be in a better frame of mind to wake up on time and get out of the house in a timelier fashion. Feeling rested in a fast-paced world is a plus for everyone.
  • Exercise. When employees practice healthy lifestyle habits, such as engaging in regular exercise, they are more likely to get the needed sleep that will help them get off to a good start each day. As mentioned above, sound rest that provides the body the needed down time will go far in helping the body to get started every morning while preparing to go to work.
  • Leave the house earlier or select another travel route to work. Allowing more time for travel will provide an employee those extra minutes that might just get one through those extra traffic obstacles, such as fender benders and road construction. If traffic issues seem to plague an employee due to the irregular occurrences that seem to occur on that same route, it will be helpful for these employees to leave the house earlier or even find an alternate route to work.
  • Prepare for the workday the night before. Many employees benefit from being a little more organized the night before work in order to eliminate having too much to do when they get up for work in the morning. A little preparation the night before might mean laying out clothes to be worn to work, making a lunch, gassing up the car on the way home from work instead of leaving it for the morning ride to work, etc. A little more effort to be organized can be very beneficial to employees who struggle to get to work on time.
  • Choose a job that has a schedule that meets your personality. Whenever possible, individuals should choose a work schedule that fits their personality. For example, if one knows that they fall asleep easily after 9:00 p.m., they should not choose to work in a job that requires shift work. Conversely, if an individual considers themselves to be a "morning person", it would behoove them to choose that day shift that will require them to start their day early.
  • Get a good alarm clock. In today's world of technology, there are many different forms of alarms that can be set to sound off when programmed to do so. Smart phones can be set to go off when its alarm clocks are set. Clock radios can sound off loud rock music to stir a sleeping individual. Even the old-fashioned wind up clocks are still available to do their magic. Whichever method an employee chooses, there are many ways to set an alarm to get the attention of a sleeping individual.

Make Those Necessary Changes

Employees who have difficulty getting to work on time must make changes in their behavior. Failing to take stock in what behaviors they are doing to make them late is missing an opportunity to improve negative behaviors that are likely to get them in trouble. After all, attendance and tardiness are often listed on performance evaluations where supervisors will document such unsatisfactory behavior. Supervisors who have to regularly address poor attendance will document tardiness as a weakness on a performance evaluation. Employees who have issues with being late should make personal choices to correct these behaviors before they become an issue that a supervisor must address in a disciplinary action.


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