Question: When is punctuality important for business?
The importance of being on time is taught to us from a very young age. It should be no surprise, then, that lessons in punctuality stay relevant throughout our lives and work.
Punctuality informs many aspects of Executive Presence. Being on time helps you to establish a good reputation and allows others to trust you. When you are punctual, your professional image appears polished and organized, rather than hurried and haphazard. Above all, it’s simply the professional standard to be consistently punctual. Yet many people still fail to meet this standard.
Here are a few examples of professional contexts where punctuality is key – and why being on time can be a deal breaker. If you are someone who is chronically late, let these examples inspire you to become an early bird!
First Impressions: Interviews & Initial Meetings
It should go without saying, but it is never acceptable to be late to an interview. This is such a common standard that some employers will refuse to interview a candidate if he or she is even one or two minutes late.
Other than interviews, there are many contexts where first impressions and punctuality go hand in hand. For example, consider the early stages of a partnership or a deal. If the person with whom you are negotiating walks into a meeting 10 minutes late, would you trust them to stay organized and present throughout your relationship? The answer is likely no. In this case, something as harmless as a bad habit can ruin a business relationship before it begins.
Meeting Deadlines and Completing Work on Time
When you consistently complete documents, finish projects, or produce any other kind of output on time, it reflects positively on your work ethic and your quality of work. Not only will colleagues notice your personal standards, but also they will acknowledge your commitment to your company and its success.
By contributing your own work on time, your actions show that you want your company to stay on track and meet its goals. Others in your organization will take note – and such clear demonstration of dedication to a company is a solid foundation for advancing within that organization.
Arriving on Time to Internal Meetings
For regular internal meetings, some employees may deprioritize their importance and take a casual approach – which often entails showing up late. Even though regular meetings often are not as critical as an initial meeting or a deal, do not assume that they are not “important.”
Close colleagues may understand if you occasionally are late due to bad traffic or a long appointment. However, avoid making a habit out of tardiness to internal meetings. After a while, those in your company will begin to notice your style and it will begin to hinder how they perceive you. Importantly, this could affect how you do – or do not – advance within your company.
Above we list just a few examples of the many contexts in which punctuality is key to success. After all, there is much truth to the saying, “the early bird catches the worm!”