Punctuality: Personal and Professional Image A man of experience once said that there are four good habits-punctuality, accuracy, steadiness and efficiency. Without punctuality, time is wasted; without accuracy, mistakes are made: without steadiness, nothing can be done; and without efficiency, all is lost. To this we may add the habits of prudence, discipline and contentment as being most desirable. So what are the payoffs of punctuality? Two important ones are that it is an indicator of professionalism, and it’s respectful to the other person.
These are certainly important in business.
Another payoff is that it is moral and ethical. As someone once said, “ A man who has taken your time recognizes no debt, yet it is the only debt he can never repay’. A taken for granted aspect of everyday life is that people are usually punctual. This norm is so well established that a common sense understanding of unpunctuality as a personality defect prevails in the social science literature.
Drawing on qualitative and experiential data from the Mass Observation Archive, this paper argues that punctuality is less a matter of individual virtue and more one of age, gender, and work situation.
It proposes that a close study of these differentiating “surface” conditions leads back to more fundamental questions of social structure and solidarity. The sentiments underlying the norm demanding unconditional punctuality correspond to, and may be a legacy of the mechanical solidarity that Durkheim stressed underpinned even the most complex and advanced societies. With all the tasks on our plates, it is easy to try to cram in one more activity before rushing off to the next engagement, but when you arrive late, it can resul in any of the following: Conveying to the other party involved that you feel your time is more valuable than theirs.
Presenting the image that you are poorly prepared causing others to fall behind in their schedules for the rest of the day. Contrast the symptoms that often result from running late with the confident feeling of arriving at an event on time, feeling calm and in control. Punctuality is a habit that takes time and practice to develop, but both your self-esteem and your professional image will benefit. It is most important, therefore that we should acquire good habits at the very start of our life. As a friend and an individual, learn to meet people on time.
Every minute counts, do not be late for doctors or dentists appointments, do not be late to school and do not meet friends 10 or 15 minutes late. Dhirubhai Ambani who started Reliance Industries says that one of his greatest achievements lies in having promoted punctuality at all levels from top executives to the workers. All had to keep exact time. It is a form of discipline that has effect on all your achievements. Many people like to get their coffee and breakfast prior to starting their work day. The biggest problem with this is that it is being done on company time.
Corporate America suffers millions of dollars in losses each day because of employees spending the first 10 to 15 minutes of their workday conducting non-business rituals, such as getting coffee, eating breakfast, and chatting with co-workers about their evening or weekend. The figures given in the following example are a conservative estimate. It must be acknowledged that not all employees would make the same hourly wage and not all employees waste company time. Of course, there is also the fact that some employees waste more time than others do during a work day. Say an employee is paid $20. 0 per hour, during a 5 day work week a company would pay $25. 00 just for that employee to get their morning coffee. That is $1,250. 00 per year (this estimate deducts two weeks from the year for illness, vacation time and holidays. Next, imagine that every employee in a company of 5,000 wastes 15 minutes every day. That is an incredible $6,250. 00 that the company would lose each and every year because its employees utilize company time to conduct personal errands each morning. As with formal controls, informal controls reward or punish acceptable or unacceptable behavior.
Informal controls are varied and differ from individual to individual, group to group and society to society. For example, in a college class, a disapproving look might convey the message that it is inappropriate to arrive late and disrupt the lecture. In a business setting on the other hand, a stronger sanction applies in the case of someone who arrives late for a business meeting and threatens to jeopardize the company’s image. Did you ever notice that sometimes, if not often, you arrive late, even when you have carefully planned to arrive on time to a meeting, date, or appointment?
Possibly, you are among those who are chronically late. One reason for constant tardiness is that it’s extremely difficult to arrive on time, especially in large metropolitan areas. Unexpected traffic congestion, taking that last minute call, running back to the office or home to grab forgotten articles, are all impediments to being on time. Even the most time conscious, careful planners can be undermined by these factors. While this seems obvious at first, it’s really not that simple. One thing that makes this difficult is simply human nature we simply don’t like waiting.
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