Being on time conveys important messages: (1) this is an important event; (2) you are an important person; (3) I have nothing I would rather do at this moment; (4) I know your time is as valuable, if not more valuable, than mine; and (5) I am aware of the powerful impact of first impressions and I am trying to make a favorable impression. Because I am the owner of the business where I work and I value punctuality, I require those whom I employ to be on time when engaging in any activity in which I am a part. My time is unarguably the most valuable within my company and, because my work revolves around the court system, airline departure times, and other situations and people that will not wait on someone who arrives late, I emphasize to my employees that they are required to be on time. In fact, if it is time to depart and someone has not arrived, the people who are there leave on schedule and the person who is tardy has to find another way to arrive at our destination. Although there are emergencies that delay things once in a while, when a client or a judge is waiting or when a flight is departing, time is truly “of the essence.” There are numerous tactics that can be employed to assist those who are time challenged to be on time, when being late has dire consequences. The first step is keeping one’s eye on the clock!
Melissa’s points on timeliness are on target. Though I believe some events are more time sensitive than others, sometimes it is difficult to balance the demands from different clients, directions, or events. As frustrating as it has been over the years to be kept waiting occasionally when arriving on time for a client appointment, the reality is that our clients have clients who have clients. It is sort of food chain issue and depending on where one is on the food chain, one can be forced to wait, even if he/she is on time. The practice of considering a college class cancelled if a professor was 15 or 30 minutes late does not work well in the business world. On the other hand, within an organization, keeping the boss waiting is never a good idea – it is very disrespectful. Employees should strive to be 5 minutes early to show how eager they are to do what needs to be done. For those running late, for example, when other clients’ demands or emergencies create an uncontrolled delay, the professional and courteous thing to do is to communicate this to the person waiting so that the cause for the delay is clear.