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Why Is There Still Such a Thing as ‘Late to Work’?


There’s being late, and then there’s dropping the ball. A workplace isn’t high school (even though it can feel that way), and bells shouldn’t rule your life as an adult. What’s infuriating about old-fashioned workplace “late policies” is that they treat you like you like you’re not an adult or that you somehow live in a world that isn’t filled with the chaos of traffic, kids, and the occasional stomach virus.

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(Photo Credit: bradleygee/Flickr)

Policies That Clock You Aren’t Your Friend

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It’s one thing to have rules about being late to science class when you’re in your tweens and teens. But a workplace that clocks employees who work on salary (instead of those who are paid hourly) is just flat-out insulting and childish.

Adults are capable of policing their own hours and understand if management’s policies are “you must be here by X and you can leave after X.” It should also be reasonable to say to people who aren’t coming in on time, “Hey friend, you really need to get here by X time because that’s when things get going and I need you to be here when the work happens.”

And, if you don’t live up to that part of the bargain, then that’s trouble for you. But asking grown adults who don’t get paid by the hour to prove they’re working certain hours by hitting a time clock is pretty childish.

Flex Schedules Are for Grown Ups

Does your workplace offer flexible schedules? Whether they’re long-term maternity or paternity policies, or short-time adjustments of work start times and end times so that life can go on outside work, they just make sense. You knows how it goes — you need to take care of children at school, or your have a challenging commute that would be better handled “off hours” — there are lots of adult reasons why flex-time makes a lot of sense when it’s practical.

If you don’t have a flex policy and you want one, you can talk to your boss and the powers that be about why being a bit more bendy with time makes sense for you and why. If you have a good track record of getting your work done and being responsible, they just might see things your way. 

Late Policies Are for School, Not Work

There’s a reason why bells ring while you’re changing classes at school — you’re there to learn how to make your way in the world. But there’s also a reason why bells don’t clang when you’re leaving a meeting, or leaving for lunch — you’re an adult who should be able to govern your own schedule.

If you show up late for work or a meeting, you likely have an excuse that’s in the realm of adult life. If your work can’t trust you to take care of yourself as an adult in the workplace, than maybe you shouldn’t trust them to keep your career interests in the best light, either. Think on that one next time you’re freaking out sitting in traffic.

Tell Us What You Think

What do you think constitutes late to work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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The writing of this article appears to be that of a high school student..

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