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Late for meetings or work events? How this bad habit can hurt your career

When employees run late to meetings or work events, they convey a lack of regard toward their job and toward their manager, according to job experts. Experts weighed in on this career issue.

Showing up late for work, meetings, events and other job-related responsibilities can be a problem for people in today’s work culture, a number of hiring and human resource professionals indicated in interviews with FOX Business. 

When employees are late, they're conveying a lack of concern about their job and a lack of concern as well for other people in their organization, especially their manager or team leader. 

"Punctuality and professionalism go hand in hand in the workplace," Cheryl Hanson, district manager with Insperity in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, told FOX Business. 

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"However, the consequences of being late often go overlooked. Employees should consider there are repercussions for habitual lateness."

To get a better handle on the way lateness is perceived in the American workplace, employment experts discussed why it’s "time" for people to make punctuality a priority in their career — as their bosses and managers definitely notice their comings and goings. 

Here are insights and tips.

Rushing in 10 minutes late to work or strolling into a staff meeting 15 minutes after it started is not only disruptive to the company culture and flow of business — it’s disrespectful. 

Here’s what you’re missing due to your late arrival. 

Consistently arriving late to meetings or events deprives you of opportunities to participate in discussions and contribute to decisions and collaborative efforts, said Hanson. 

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"When people are late, they not only miss out on crucial information but also fail to provide their insights and expertise, which could impact the outcomes of the meeting or project," she noted.  

Your lack of input can diminish your ability to contribute to the team's success and may result in your ideas being overlooked or disregarded, she also indicated. 

"Moreover, your absence during critical discussions can lead to uninformed decisions or a lack of innovation and problem-solving," added Hanson. 

Ultimately, consistently missing these opportunities hampers both individual growth and team effectiveness, hindering the achievement of an organization’s goals, she indicated.

"Habitual lateness can have a negative impact on an employee’s reputation and may cause others to perceive them as unreliable and even untrustworthy if an employee cannot be counted on to arrive on time for meetings, it raises doubts about their follow-through ability on other tasks, such as meeting deadlines," Hanson told FOX Business. 

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"Your credibility and professionalism can be hindered by this perception," she said.

A culture of lateness can hinder the organization's ability to compete in a fast-paced, dynamic business environment and erode its reputation externally, she noted. 

"As a result, being consistently late can have far-reaching consequences beyond just an individual’s career," Hanson clarified.

Given the rise of hybrid and remote work, some employees could be lax about watching the clock. 

Video conferences should be taken as seriously as in-person meetings and timeliness should be expected. 

"Many people are in multiple, back-to-back meetings each day – both in-person and remotely – and even the slightest delay in a meeting’s start time can have a ripple effect that throws the rest of someone’s schedule into chaos," said Frank Weishaupt, the Boston-based CEO of Owl Labs. 

It's a company focused on AI-powered, 360-degree hybrid videoconferencing solutions.

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Weishaupt said at Owl Labs, employees are expected to be on time and prepared. 

"To encourage this, meeting leaders circulate agendas in advance so attendees can pre-read the discussion topics and come prepared with ideas," he said. 

"We also do a biannual calendar cleanse, where we step back, look at what we have recurring, determine the necessity of the meeting and adjust accordingly."

Having employees show up consistently late for meetings or work events can have a detrimental effect on business. 

Employers should have best practices in place to confront this type of employee, experts said. 

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The most professional way to handle a discussion about an individual's lateness is privately. 

"To avoid public embarrassment, employers should address tardiness with employees privately and not make comments during a meeting in front of colleagues, etc.," said Sarah Doody, a career expert and the founder of Career Strategy Lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Employers should go into the discussion with a desire to gather all the context about the situation, she said, so they can understand if there are legitimate reasons why an employee is late — whether it's a personal matter or because the employee has too many job responsibilities and isn’t speaking up for himself or herself. 

"After gaining an accurate understanding of the situation, the employer should then set clear expectations and consequences for what will happen if the problem persists," Doody told FOX Business. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving an employee’s punctuality. 

Hanson with Insperity, however, said the following tips may help reduce late habits.

Identify the root causes contributing to lateness. These can include poor time management skills, procrastination or personal challenges. 

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"Take proactive steps to address these issues, whether through self-help resources, professional development opportunities or seeking support from a mentor or supervisor," Hanson said. 

Adopt an organizational method that best suits you. An organizational method that aligns with your preferences, work style and goals can enhance your ability to manage time effectively, prioritize tasks and stay punctual in the workplace, Hanson said. 

Hold yourself accountable. This can be achieved by setting goals, tracking progress and seeking feedback from colleagues or supervisors, Hanson indicated. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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