The term punctual refers to appearing at the regular appointed place at the specific time while punctuality refers to the attribute of being able to finish a requisite duty prior to the allocated time.
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According to Brooke and Price (140), some of the reasons as to why there is lack of punctuality among employees include; different work attitudes of job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment.
Webb (46) argues that a positive attitude towards ones work can help foresee if the employee will be punctual during their work term and also deadlines affect the completion of the tasks given to employees.
Wardy (105) study found out that the three main reasons as to why employees are not punctual at the workplace are; lack of respect, lack of accountability and lack of organization. Lack of respect is whereby the employees who running late do not inform or call prior to inform the respective people of their delay this results in time wastage for their fellow co-workers and loss of money for the company.
Lack of accountability is when employees arrive late at work, for a meeting or submitting work late. Employees should be held liable and they should be able to effectively give answers and explain their mishaps.
If the managers themselves are punctual and include punctuality as part and parcel of deadlines and yearly evaluations, the employees will in turn be punctual as they will be expected to do so. Lack of organization is when employees do not manage their time or they do not effectively plan their time and the tasks they are supposed to finish at an allocated time period. Therefore these employees end up with a lot of things to do and with no time to finish their tasks resulting in lateness.
Most employees are usually not punctual to the work place at the beginning of the week, because during the weekend most people tend to relax and enjoy the free days as much as possible. As the week progresses employees are more punctual to work as they have gotten used to the idea of waking up early heading to work.
Other days when employees are more frequently not to be punctual are the days when it rains, or snows heavily in the mornings these natural weather patterns seem to cause snarl ups of traffic jams therefore affecting the punctuality of employees and also employers.
At the time Wardy was conducting his research; he was an employee at different American organizations and observed his findings from a natural setting. In his findings, he made the conclusion that not even once did the employees or the supervisors apologize for being late.
On the other hand while he was an employee at Panasonic, a Japanese company, his superior profusely apologized for coming into a meeting late although he could not help it as an emergency had caused the delay. These two similar situations show how different people react to punctuality and how if they are running companies how the employees would react differently to their supervisors.
Promoting punctuality in the work place
Webb and Chapman (78) suggested the following ways in which employees can improve their punctuality records at the workplace;
- Ask the employees to envisage every appointment as an interview and make sure you arrive at the designated area earlier than the actual time stated. This will give one ample time to relax and compose one self for whatever is coming afterwards. Also budget in emergencies or unplanned mishaps like mechanical difficulties with the car or traffic delays so that you can arrive before the time agreed upon. If all employees would imagine that every day they are going to work, they are attending an important interview that they cannot afford to miss, they would always be punctual for work and lateness would be a thing of the past. Soon they would have formed the habit of getting to work early and starting their work on time hence maximizing profits for the company and minimizing on loses.
- Request the employees to imagine that they own the company or they are shareholders in the company and how they would feel if they were always counting losses because of lack of punctuality from employees. This will give employees a feel of what the employers go through when they come into work late and may make them change their behavior of arriving late for work and wasting valuable company time while catching up with their colleagues.
- With the employees empathizing with their colleagues who are punctual at the work place and getting their work done on time, may make the employees change their behavior for the better. Most employees get angry at their colleagues who constantly keep arriving at the workplace late as they feel their time is not being respected and constantly being wasted and therefore creating a hostile working environment whereby work can not be carried out effectively. A hostile working environment will make employees antagonistic affecting their productivity to the company.
- An employer should expect each employee to make a verbal commitment to being punctual during the tenure employment and they should be held legally responsible to their word. This will make the employees feel as if they are going back on their word and cheating themselves hence prompting them to be punctual to their places of work and in doing their work.
- Modesty should also be put in practice at the work place this will ensure respect of everyone in the work place whether junior or senior in position. Employees and employers should also get into the habit of apologizing when they arrive late for work or hand in late reports or delay in passing of some information. Employees should also take responsibility for their actions at the work place and not let their colleagues suffer unnecessarily because of their mistakes or short comings.
However, a study done by Buehler, Dale and Michael (128), reveals that when men and women are compared at the workplace in terms of their punctuality, no specific gender seemed to be more punctual than the other.
Although women seem to be more absent from work than men due to unavoidable circumstances like maternity leave, while men walk into work late and waste a lot of time reading the newspapers during company time.
In conclusion punctuality in the workplace depends on the company values, time allocated for the completion of each task as well as the individuals themselves. Employees with a longer deadline are most likely to finish their tasks later than those with a shorter deadline due to procrastination.
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Employees should strive to be punctual at the work place and in their work so that they can not only improve the quality of their work and the image of the company. However, there are more ways of promoting employee punctuality in the workplace other than the ways suggested and discussed in this paper.
Depending on the nature of the work and the locality of the place of work, an employer should be able to identify and focus on how he or she can promote the virtue of punctuality among its/his employees.
In addition, the employers should give more incentives to encourage employees to be punctual and they should also take note of employees who alack in punctuality and act upon it, hence measures to promote and check on employee punctuality should be put in place.
Brooke, Russell & Price, Johnson. “Discriminant validation of measures of job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment.” Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 73 (2) (1988): pp 139-145. Print.
Buehler, Roger, Dale. Griffin and Michael Ross. “Exploring the “planning fallacy”: why people underestimate their task completion times.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol 67, no 3, (1994): pp. 366-38. Print
Wardy, Joseph. Why Punctuality gains respect in the workplace. Andover, MA: Helium Inc, 2010. Print.
Webb, Allan and Chapman Hall. “Managing Innovative Projects.” International Journal of Production Economics Vol. 35 no1-3 (1994): pp 45-406. Print.