Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Getting to work on time can be hard enough without the added obstacles imposed by car trunk thieves, gas station stick-ups, and shower mishaps. Yet, these are exactly the types of incidents some workers claim prevented them from getting to work on time this year, according to a survey from CareerBuilder.
When asked how often they come in late to work, more than one in five workers (23%) admitted they do it at least once a month, and 14% say it’s a weekly occurrence for them.
Working 9-ish To 5
Of the workers who have admitted to being late for work in the past, three in 10 (30%) have lied about the reason for their tardiness. Perhaps they feel the need to lie because the repercussions of lateness could be serious: 41% of employers have actually fired an employee for being late.
Some employers are more lenient than others, however. One third of employers (33%) say they have no problem with the occasional late arrival, as long as it doesn’t become a pattern, and 16% say they don’t need employees to be punctual if they can still get their work done. (Indeed, 59% of workers who arrive late will stay later to make up for it.)
Traffic is the most common cause of tardiness among employees (50%), followed by lack of sleep (30%), and bad weather (26%). Trying to get the kids to school or daycare is a roadblock for one in 10 workers (12%), while public transportation and wardrobe issues get in the way of being on time for 7% and 6% of workers, respectively.
For some workers, however, the blame belongs on less conventional culprits. When asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late, employers shared the following:
- I knocked myself out in the shower.
- I was drunk and forgot which Waffle House I parked my car next to.
- I discovered my spouse was having an affair, so I followed him this morning to find out who he was having an affair with.
- Someone robbed the gas station I was at, and I didn’t have enough gas to get to another station.
- I had to wait for the judge to set my bail.
- There was a stranger sleeping in my car.
- A deer herd that was moving through town made me late.
- I’m not late. I was thinking about work on the way in.
- I dreamed that I got fired.
- I went out to my car to drive to work, and the trunk had been stolen out of it. (See photo above for an example, taken from internal CareerBuilder research.)