The wind blew the deck off my house. My mother-in-law wouldn’t stop talking. I forgot it wasn’t the weekend.
If you’re a manager, chances are you’ve heard some excuses like those from people late to work.
More than 1 in 4 workers, 29 percent, indicated in a Career Builder survey they are late at least once a month, up from 25 percent the previous year. And 16 percent, up 3 percentage points from a year earlier, said it’s a weekly occurrence, according to the survey results released in late January.
More than 2,600 hiring and human resource managers and more than 3,400 workers participated in the nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Poll from Nov. 16 to Dec. 6 last year.
Other "outrageous excuses" for being late, according to a news release, include: I overslept because my kids changed all the clocks in the house, and my mother locked me in the closet.
Some jobs require employees show up at a precise time, while others are more flexible.
Nearly 2 in 3 employers and employees, 64 percent in both categories, believe the concept of working 9-to-5 is antiquated. Yet, more than half of employers, 53 percent, expect employees to be on time every day, and 4 in 10, or 41 percent, have fired someone for being late.
Some employers, 29 percent, are lenient as long as lateness doesn’t become habitual.
But that’s down from 33 percent who felt that way a year earlier.
Typical reasons employees are late include traffic, 49 percent; oversleeping, 32 percent; bad weather, 26 percent; too tired to get out of bed, 25 percent; and procrastination, 17 percent.
Marc Levy is executive director of Questa Education Foundation. He has taught at universities and worked for government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including 25 years with United Way. He provided the following guest submission to Lead On:
"Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people, an organization or community. Yet the 21st Century increasingly requires us to think differently about leadership, organizations and communities. To begin, there is the lesson of the octopus.
"The octopus has eight tentacles and a central body, which is the head. It is amazingly flexible and takes multitasking to another level. Each tentacle can act, feel, taste, perceive and analyze independently. Yet, each of the tentacles can and will collaborate with the others to accomplish joint tasks including separate actions that are part of a larger strategy. All of this happens without having to pass through the central brain. However, the tentacles and head share the sense of survival as one whole animal. So, this ability to act independently yet collaboratively is why the octopus is able to survive in a challenging and hostile environment.
"The octopus challenges us to rethink and redefine how organizations and communities can benefit by engaging and building on the power of diversity and inclusion. This requires leadership that respects the talents, initiative, energy of people and the ability to both move in rhythm individually and collectively. Leadership that not only acknowledges diversity, but welcomes the differences and disagreements that come with it. Leadership that understands a natural flow and how to simplify systems to enable the flow and access to information. One that understands the unifying principles of nature, physics, technology and social organizations.
"Changes like this are vital because organizations and communities are demanding new leadership models. We see this in the levels of dysfunction, distrust and disillusionment we observe daily. Years ago Robert Putnam documented decreases in trust, growing lack of engagement in civic organizations, declines in social interactions, declining voter participation, etc. in his book ‘Bowling Alone,’ we see this trend continuing in broader distrust of our institutions and increasing levels of alienation.
"Leaders of organizations small and large, private and governmental, can benefit from a leadership commitment to be more like the octopus. Becoming fully engaging and participatory for those who work there and those who live in the community. Allowing them to take risks, do things differently or in new ways. Where these changes occur, organizations and communities will thrive with an increased shared ownership in their struggles and successes. Rather than merely attempting to survive."