The myth about slacking latecomers

A blog article by Peter Honey on the CIPD website got me thinking about the importance of being on time. Peter Honey writes about high achievers who boast that they wake up before sunrise to get a head start to their day. Presumably this boasting is meant to induce admiration and set an expectation for their staff to also dedicate many more hours than contracted to their jobs. Peter Honey’s take on the subject is that if the individuals have a healthy self-esteem and are happy, they wouldn’t feel the need to play this kind of ‘point scoring game’ and tell others that they wake up at 4.30am. These bosses may also be guilty of keeping tabs on what time others arrive at or leave the office. They certainly take note of who arrives late.

Ahh, the latecomers

The dilemma of being on time is an interesting one. As we wrote previously, there has been some research into time keeping that suggests different people have a different concept of time. The fact that some individuals are perpetually late to everything might not be a result of their lack of concern or respect for others or dis-engagement and dis-interest in their jobs. Instead, they may just have an over-optimistic view of what they can achieve in how much time and a compulsive need to start the next thing if they have 5 minutes to spare before it’s time to get going. Of course, one should still have the common courtesy to arrive on time to meetings and events where their late arrival will affect others’ day or delay the meeting.

Early hours score more “points”

Whatever the reason for being late, being late unavoidably shows you in a bad light. Bosses and co-workers are much more likely to notice someone arriving late than them staying late. For all we know, everyone else has already left the office hours ago when the latecomers are still finishing their tasks for the day but this won’t be counted to their benefit. In some workplaces, staying behind after your official working hours is even expected and leaving on time is also frowned upon.

So why is it that early starters seem to get more credit than those that start their day later but contribute just as much? How come 4.30am is somehow more admirable than 4.30pm? And how productive will you be at 4.30am if you’ve only had a few hours sleep?

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