'Sorry I'm Late ... My Dog Ate My Car Keys'

Survey: Canadian CFOs Frown on Tardiness; Younger Workers More Likely to Be Late

Toronto, ON — Night owls beware: Showing up late to work – even if the job’s getting done – doesn’t fly with nearly one-third of Canadian executives. Only two per cent of CFOs in an Accountemps survey said they are OK with tardiness only if productivity doesn’t suffer. Sixty-five per cent of respondents said coming in late on occasion isn’t a problem unless it becomes a pattern. The rest (32 per cent) believe workers should arrive on time so others can rely on them during set hours.

Accountemps conducted a separate survey of office workers in Canada to get their thoughts on the importance of showing up on time. Among the findings:

  • Imperfect timing – Fifty-six per cent of workers said they are occasionally late to work. Four per cent admitted they are tardy every day.
  • Old school etiquette – Fifty-five per cent of workers 55 and over are never late to work compared to 45 per cent of those 35 to 54, and 28 per cent of respondents 18 to 34.
  • Downside of delays – Thirty-three per cent of respondents said their productivity has suffered because a colleague arrived late to work.

Financial executives have heard it all when it comes to excuses for tardiness by workers. While the saying “better late than never” usually rings true, these excuses make one wonder:

  • “My dog was feeling anxious.”
  • “Got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.”
  • “I thought it was Saturday.”

Then there were those who were delayed by “alarming” situations:

  • “My alarm clock died overnight.”
  • “Someone’s water broke.”
  • “Saving a cat from a house fire. Turned out to be true.”
  • “I thought about quitting.”

These next excuses appeared a bit suspicious.

  • “Someone spilled coffee on me and I had to go home to change.”
  • “My dog ate my car keys.”
  • “I dreamed I was fired and fell back asleep.”

“Punctuality is often perceived as a reflection of an employee’s work ethic,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Regularly coming to work late can give the impression that you’re disengaged, and leave colleagues and employers second-guessing your commitment.”

“Tardiness also indicates a lack of respect for other people’s time, and can impact the productivity of coworkers who depend on you,” cautioned Hunnam-Jones. “If you’re going to be late, send an apologetic heads-up, and next time make it a point to be early.”

View a breakdown of the CFO survey findings.

About the Research

The surveys were developed by Accountemps and conducted by independent research firms. It includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada, and more than 400 Canadian workers age 18 and older who work in an office environment.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at roberthalf.ca/en/work-with-us/our-services/accountemps. Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

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