How strict is your employer about punctuality and does it matter?

posted 2 months ago in Career
Post # 2
1496 posts
Bumble bee

In your case, I think punctuality is important. Sure, maybe no one usually calls in at 8 am, but if the phones are on, someone should be watching them!

In my workplace, we are pretty relaxed, and I’m SO grateful. As long as I get my 40h my boss is happy. And that includes sometimes working from home. I don’t care when other people come in, it doesn’t effect me or my job. If I come in late, I stay a bit late. Sometimes I come in early so I can leave early.

And TBH I dont really see an issue with taking personal calls/texting so long as its not interferring, especially if its all phone based service. I dunno, maybe its because I have my own office so people arent constantly watching me, but if the job is getting done well, I just dont see a point in harping on it. (I’m also on WB during work hours, so that might also say something… lol)

So for you, I’d be a hardass about punctuality, because phones are ON, but not about texting. That is just me though.

Post # 4
1247 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I’m a salary plus commission employee without a set schedule, but I share a floor, and a breakroom, with a call center.  They have a point system, being late is a point,  an unexcused absence is 2 points, etc.  Accumulate so many points and you’re fired. They need those folks on the phones at a certain time and they need them back from lunch in time for the next person to go. 

Post # 5
4514 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Punctuality is not strict at all for my job. I shoot for 9-5, but I’m in a bit after 9 most days (but before 9:30) and I often leave a bit early if I’m done for the day. That said, I get my work done and I’m never late for actual meetings or scheduled events. My boss doesn’t care as long as my work is getting done and I’m not exceedingly late, in fact, he’s often late as well. I don’t work with customers and I don’t have coworkers that are waiting on me, so it really doesn’t matter IMO. I’m also a scientist doing research, so it’s not as if there are set tasks to accomplish everyday, some days I only have one thing to do for an experiment that takes 10 mins, other days I’m busy all day, it’s not a job that fits well within the rigidity of 9-5. 

Outside of my science jobs, I was always punctual, but I will say that having some flexibility does improve my job satisfaction. I don’t have to make a big deal out of leaving home super early because traffic might be bad that morning (I already have an hour commute without traffic). I don’t have to make a big deal out of leaving a bit early to run an errand somewhere that closes at 5. I do think that if people (either clients or coworkers) are relying on you then you should make an effort to be punctual. I also don’t think it’s fair to place different expectations on different people. I know in the past I’ve had coworkers who were always late when everyone else was on time and they never got in trouble, where if I was late once I got chewed out. That doesn’t foster a good work environment. I also don’t think the personal calls are a big deal as long as they’re not interfering with work or disturbing others. 

Post # 6
1029 posts
Bumble bee

CakeSniffer :  First of all, I commend you for taking the time to hear other perspectives to broaden your outlook and understanding (I am going to assume that you are honestly approaching this from a mostly open minded standpoint and are not one of those OPs who came here to hear a very specific response and will argue with opposing views.) Secondly, I didn’t see your other post so I don’t understand the personal conflict you seem to have with this woman. That said, what I can offer is one of the things you asked for and that’s my personal experience being a subordinate. I agree with you that it is horrible for an employee to be late. It’s kind of like stealing time. Inexplicably, I am late more times than I’m on time. Arguably, I’m almost never on time. My company tells us straight out that they want us there “early.” 9 am start time, and they want us there “before” that. That’s extremely vague and I don’t agree with that approach. I can assume it means 845? Maybe 850? I’m actually not sure. Bad tactic on the part of Upper Management. They should be direct about what they want. That said, it is bad of me to come in at 903-906. I honestly feel like crap about it. In my semi-defense, if I have a project to work on I’ll stay well past quitting time, usually don’t leave right at 6, and aside from my boss needing things, there’s nothing super impacted by my being 5 mins late.  However, when I come in it 857-900, I feel like I’m on time even though my superiors disagree. I only know because of what they’ve said in a group setting and in the employee manual though. They have never spoken to me about it, I don’t know why. I think managers and subordinates butt heads because to an employee, if I carve out 9am-6pm of my day to devote to work, that’s plenty and even though my computer isn’t booted up yet and if I walk in the door at 9, I’m not AT my desk but to me, I’m still at work. To management, they want you to START work at the designated time, not arrive, hang your coat and turn on your computer. I get that but I also feel like if your hours are 845-6 just say that on the job posting. All of this “you should know” is shady garbage. Also, the standard work day used to be 9-5, now most companies in my city are 9-6.. which really means 845-615 apparently, I mean…it just feels like we’re working our lives away and my kids will be working even more hours if something doesn’t change. Sorry for rambling, your company only has 7.5 hour days which is great and makes it harder to defend this employee. All I can say is it’s how her brain is wired. Some people are just that way. Personally I’d love to be a morning person, make up at 6, greet the world cheerily, go for a jog. But instead I roll out of bed at 811 and curse the world angrily. It sucks but that’s life. My mom was a bar maid because she was wired for night time as well. As for her coming back late from lunch, she clearly has a problem with time management and probably organization to some degree. I don’t know how to deal with that as her manager, but I do recommend being consistent. If you discipline one employee, do the same to others for the same transgressions. If you’re not going to fire her for it, then I guess just keep verbally correcting her behavior. It sounds like it helps a bit at least. In my experience with people, those who are goodie goodie types and want to be perfect will continue coming in on time regardless of this girl getting away with lateness. If her work and disposition is otherwise good, I guess that’s sufficient? Only you and other bosses can decide. 

Post # 7
8016 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we have flexible schedules, people can work 8hours, 9 hours with 1 day off every pay, or 4/10.

our main band is 930 to 230.  you have to be working during those hours and as long as you work your time there is no issue.  i’m on 8 hours so i could work 6 to 230 or 930 to 6. i generally come in 7-730.  i’ve been “late” but never called in because i don’t have an official start time.  if i know i am going to be late, doctor’s appt, etc, i give my supervisor a heads up.  but sometimes i do drop off in the morning for my son and don’t get to the office until 8/830.  those days i need to take leave if i want to leave at 4 or work my 8 hours.

in our office this is not a big deal.


but if her start time is 8am, she should be there at 8.


just to add.  my previous job was an 8-5 job.  i had an hour commute and was always there on time or a little early.  there was this other girl who was perpetually 10-15 late every day.  one morning i couldn’t get up and was just running a few minutes late. i decided since i was already going to be late, i was going to stop for gas so i wouldn’t  have to stop on my way home.  as i walking up the stairs, i ran into the big boss.  30 minutes later, my boss called me into his office and asked me if i had a problem being on time.  i started laughing but was livid.  i started to complain about the other person.  then stopped, i said i had a bad morning and i was 15 minutes late, it was my first time being late and i didn’t plan for it to happen again.  not long after i started interviewing, got a better job, and gave my 2 weeks notice.  my boss was not surprised.

Post # 8
1425 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

CakeSniffer :  At my old job, I was salaried, and my employees were all hourly. I always asked them to be in at the same time each day, within 10 minutes the time, and if they were going to be late, call me. 95% had no issue with that, but one did, and he didnt seem to comprehend that if you are 30 mins late to your 8-4 job, you stay 30 mins late that day. But he also had other issues and he was let go.

At my current job, I am salaried, but here everyone is very nosy, and will say something if you come in late or leave early. Even though it is none of their business, they will be like Oh, hunting_bride, why are you leaving early today? Did you tell your boss? “WHY YES I DID NOW BUGGER OFF NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” So even though I am salaried, and stay late most nights, someone tittle tailed on me when I left early to go to the dentist.

Post # 10
2919 posts
Sugar bee

If over fifteen minutes we need to call. We have a 7.5 too. But really if you’re here and do your 7.5/8 hours and finish work on time, get to meetings on time you’re good. It’s not as flexible as some but not very strict either. 

It’s expected that there is some overtime. But if you get your work done in the 7.5 they don’t expect you to stay for no reason either. But if you come up short on the 7.5 we have to use our time. And unpaid time isn’t allowed. 

Post # 12
2919 posts
Sugar bee

CakeSniffer :  Yea times when I needed to “open”the office you better believe I had to be there right on time! But no one waits fire me and even late my start time is earlier than some. 

Post # 13
367 posts
Helper bee

For her type of job it makes more sense to be strict. 

At my job nobody really cares where I am as long as my job gets done and I show up or dial in to meetings on time. I’m expected to generally show up and generally be around during business hours, but there’s a lot of trust that we know how to manage our time. People also often work from home and come in later to reduce commuting. Most people show up by 10am and people start leaving at 4, but you’re really not ‘late’ as long as you’re not late to your meetings. 

I’m salaried, but they aren’t paying me for my time spent, but rather whether the work assigned to me gets done. I’ve had some weeks where I’ve had to work 60 hours to get it done, and others where I worked 30.

We also have a culture where it’s considered totally fine to do personal things at work. I overhear coworkers talking to their spouses about groceries on the phone all the time. 

Post # 14
281 posts
Helper bee

I am usually 5-10 minutes late for work because the MTA in NYC has been horrendous lately and you can get held up for everything from “train traffic”, signal delays, sick passengers etc. so my bosses are very lenient, they will not harp on us about being a few minutes late a couple x a week but we also work in a different type of office environment. It’s a reasonable expectation that employees should arrive to work on time and come back to work on time especially if they are salaried employees, some employers may consider that “stealing time”. It’s a tough call because she is getting all of her work done and has been reprimanded for being late so many times already the only way she may change is if she’s given an ultimatum.

Post # 15
173 posts
Blushing bee

CakeSniffer :  I’m salaried and work in a job where we work so much that hours have to be flexible (it’s not a sweat shop, is it?). I would be very unhappy in my job if I worked 50 hours a week and they were also sticklers about arriving at a certain time. I also feel like I need that flexibility at lunctime because it’s sometimes my only time to run errands given that I may have to work later at night.

I recently changed jobs and though I love this one so much more in so many ways, I will say that I am “expected” to start earlier which is the only part I don’t like. There is no starting time per se, but I feel judged if I walk in any time after 8:45am. (At my old job, I arrived about half an hour later and it was ok).

I recently found out through the grapevine that though the main reason I was let go from my previous job (which I hated so it was a blessing in disguise) was to cut costs, they had noticed that I was on my phone a lot. Hearing this really upset me as 1) I didn”t think I was 2) I don’t work 9-5, and sometimes we just have to take care of personal things in the day….again, because I can’t in the evening as I am also working. I also felt they didn”t notice that I rarely took a lunch break – they should not have judged my phone use for this reason alone. 

For people to be happy in their jobs, there needs to be flexibility as long as the work is being completed properly and on time – we aren’t robots. I also think managers should evaluate the whole situation before jumping the gun. Is the employee doing other things to perhaps compensate for phone use or tardiness?

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