What To Do When You’re Late For Work
4:15 pm, May 17th | by Laura Donovan
The only thing worse than waking up late (and still exhausted) is coming to work behind schedule. Call me dramatic, but showing up after everybody else sets a person up for a so-so day and demonstrates bad form. We’ve all been there, but you don’t want to make a habit out of it.
For one reason or another, some people are more inclined to roll into the office later than the rest of the staff. This is unfortunately applicable to me, as my easygoing parents spoiled me during my senior year of high school by allowing me to ditch my 7:30 a.m. class at least once a week. It was awesome at 17, but molded me into a pseudo adult rather than a real grown-up, so I have to act strategically on the occasions I’m late to work, where there are legitimate consequences for the tardy. Here are some game plans to consider when you can’t seem to get to work on-time.
Scenario: You wake up ten minutes before your designated office arrival time.
What You’ll Want To Do: Call in sick or ask to work from home.
What You Shouldn’t Do: Leisurely get ready for work and eventually pop in without explanation. Or pull an “Alice and Wonderful” and do this:
What You Should Do: Notify your boss via email that you’re running late. This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, but you’re more likely to be cut some slack if you explain yourself.
Scenario: You show up late to work for the umpteenth time that week (or in recent months) as a result of oversleeping.
What You’ll Want To Do: Ask to start at a later hour or justify that you work later than everybody else.
What You Shouldn’t Do: Make excuses or complain about pushing yourself too far.
What You Should Do: Set your alarm earlier. Make it a priority to allow yourself enough time to do whatever you need to do each morning (prepare lunch, shower, make your bed, etc) without showing up to work late as a result. If you’re not a bright and early person, try going to bed earlier. Turn off all electronics an hour prior to hitting the hay to calm your mind and improve your rest. You may feel tired all the time and as if you simply don’t get enough shut eye at night, but you can figure this out on your own — without making your colleagues wonder and supervisors frustrated.
Scenario: You’re late due to unreliable transportation.
What You’ll Want To Do: Ask to work from home twice a week.
What You Shouldn’t Do: Point a finger at traffic or train delays.
What You Should Do: Bring your boss pastries (guilty!). While that certainly can’t hurt, the sustainable solution is to leave the house earlier to account for road or subway congestion. It’s inevitable, especially during the morning rush, but even five minutes can make all the difference in that department. If you’re put on the spot and asked why you’re never on time, take responsibility and promise to avoid it going forward. Your boss doesn’t have time to dwell, he/she just needs to know what’s going on and that you understand the importance of promptness.
Scenario: You’re late because of inclement weather and resembled a soaked rat by the time you make it to your work desk.
What You’ll Want To Do: Say the storm threw you off.
What You Shouldn’t Do: Act grumpy all day.
What You Should Do: Contact your boss on the way to work (yes, even if it’s raining and you must hold your phone underneath an umbrella to send the message) and say the weather is slowing you down. Chances are, your coworkers are in the same boat, so you’re probably not going to get an epic scolding from the higher-ups when this happens.