Why Punctuality Absolutely Still Matters–Even for Remote Jobs

Everyone wants to work from home. Everyone wants flexible schedules.

This seems to be the zeitgeist but that doesn’t mean punctuality isn’t a necessary characteristic. Or perhaps a skill. It is certainly something that you can learn and change about yourself.

When everyone who possibly could work at home went home, businesses felt pressured to allow remote work for just about everyone. And with that remote work comes flexibility that people can’t find in the office. But just because you can literally work while sitting in bed doesn’t mean that you can ignore the clock. Here’s why.

Lots of professional jobs require punctuality.

We accept that a physician needs to be at the office at a specific time every day, as patients are waiting. A lawyer needs to show up in court prepared and on time, regardless of traffic. A school teacher can be the best teacher in the entire world, but if she isn’t there when the first bell rings, no school wants to hire her.

But what about a marketing professional who works from home? Does she need to be on time?

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4 thoughts on “Why Punctuality Absolutely Still Matters–Even for Remote Jobs

  1. I totally agree. But, then I’m that person who shows up hideously early for everything. Perhaps, there’s a little Swiss in my background! 🙂 Seriously, though, you’re absolutely right that you have to adapt your arrivals to the local culture and the occasion. It’s — generally — considered extremely inconsiderate, in America, to arrive early, or even at the stated time, for a party. Often, the host(s) is/are still running around frantically, completing last-minute preparations. However, if it’s a dinner party, it’s rude to arrive late, since, sometimes, the food is ready and you’re delaying the start of everyone’s meal. All that being said, it’s my understanding that working from home has resulted in a lot of people turning in more than their normal 8 hours of work, so there’s that.

  2. This is so true. I had set up a Zoom meeting to go over benefits with a newly hired remote employee — someone who had been repeatedly ghosting my emails and requests to complete her paperwork for weeks. I had to CC her boss to get a response out of her. At the time of the meeting, on a time/date that she chose, she sent me an email that she was running late for the meeting and could we meet a half hour later. Had she been on another call that ran over, sure. That happens. Had it been first thing in the morning, maybe not so bad. But it was late morning and based on her message, she was not in another virtual meeting. I don’t think she was even at home. (Think along the lines of ‘I’m late because I got caught in traffic.’) Not a good look for a brand new employee and one of our very few remote hires.

  3. Punctuality has developed different meanings and it is not just in WFH situations. I wouldn’t precisely say it is a cultural geographic idea but more based on the individual cyclic perception of time, as everyone views time. It also depends on how much value you put on time spent doing your daily activities, whether it is work or play. Just like needing to perform a necessary task that also is not your idea of necessary. I could list pros and cons on minute timekeeping but the key here is to address how a company and the indivduals co-exist to create a working environment that produces in a timely matter. If being present a specific times is necessary for the job, then a clear understanding should be had but company standards and reaction to those individuals who can’t seem to follow any schedule no matter how adapting methods are employed by the company to cover the needs of the individuals. It is very similar to dealing with a person’s disabilty needs. At some point the company (employer) has to follow through the disciplinary (oral, written, etc) to address the issue. Part of having any job does require doing a necessary task that one may not personally feel like doing (arriving on time) and if consistant lateness is more your style, then the individual is in the wrong job.
    Every job can make adaptations within a limit if it doesn’t effect result for that specific company, but there plenty of jobs where the adaption may not satisfy the individual, for whatever reason. That individual needs to realize that their life choices do effect their work and not always in a positive matter.

  4. Hi Suzanne, I sent you emails on 18&19 of August. Could you please check and respond… Thank you… Helen from New Zealand

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