5 important career lessons of punctuality
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Good time management is an in-demand skill in today’s workplace.
And we’re not just talking about arriving to work on time each day (though according to The Independent, it’s estimated staff who arrive late to work cost the economy £9 billion each year).
Punctuality plays a big role in workplace productivity (and especially job interviews), and can have an even more vital function underpinning your personal branding.
With this in mind, we look at five important reasons why punctuality is a soft skill worth aiming for.
1. Punctuality shows you are organised
Few things scream “disorganised” more than perpetually running late. While being disorganised may seem quirky and offbeat in social circles, it spells bad news in the workplace.
Employers like to know their team is productive, and continually wasting time looking for files, hunting down client notes, or searching for a misplaced invoice is costing the company in lost productivity. Being organised is a precursor to punctuality, making it a lot easier to complete tasks, arrive at meetings, and meet client requests on time, every time.
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2. You are a dependable employee and colleague
Your personal reputation is an important asset when it comes to career progression. When co-workers regard you as punctual, they are more likely to involve you in new and exciting projects.
After all, no one wants to hand an important piece of work to someone who is likely to miss the deadline.
3. You enhance your company’s reputation
It’s a fair bet that punctuality matters to your employer. In today’s competitive market, businesses that don’t consistently deliver on time quickly fall out of favour with customers.
No matter what part you play in the supply chain, committing to punctuality helps to underpin the good reputation of your company, and that’s a plus for the success of the business – and your role in it.
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4. Punctuality reflects professionalism and attention to detail
Let’s face it, bursting into a conference room ten minutes late with papers flying and a sweat-soaked brow is not a good look. Moreover, you’re not giving yourself a chance to play out useful strategies.
Whether it’s a client appointment, a team debrief or a staff training session, punctuality provides time to check you have the essentials (iPad, pens, agenda etc) and review your notes. It’s also an opportunity to work out the best seating position – one that gives you eye contact with the main speaker, while maximising your personal visibility so you can contribute in a meaningful way. It’s hard to be viewed as a serious contributor when a late entrance sees you stuck at the back of a conference room bobbing and weaving between colleagues just to see what’s going on.
Being punctual also means you’ll have all the information needed to complete a project. Running even just a few minutes late to a meeting can mean missing out on valuable facts that form the foundation of the rest of the discussion.
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5. You respect your co-workers
Few things are more irritating than having your own good efforts dragged down by the tardiness of a colleague.
Teamwork is a primary driver of modern workplaces, and with good reason. Work environments are interdependent - when everyone completes tasks on time, the flow of work runs smoothly through the business.
Conversely, a hold-up in one area passes down the line hampering everyone else. Aiming to meet a deadline that sees you complete your part of the work flow on time demonstrates your respect for fellow co-workers to meet deadlines of their own.
Easy steps to make punctuality part of your personal brand
There is a wealth of tools available to achieve the goal of punctuality. Something as simple as a written diary note or creating an alert on your smartphone or PC provides a ready reminder of allotted times for meetings, phone calls and deadlines.
Consider using a time management app like Remember the Milk or Time Doctor. And importantly, don’t try to outsmart the clock. Be realistic about how much time a piece of work, a meeting or a phone call will take. Setting unrealistic, tight timeframes is likely to see you continually running behind.
Allow some wiggle room for unexpected interruptions. It can help you retain your punctuality without getting stressed about falling behind.