Have we become a nation of foot-draggers? With more than a quarter (26 percent) of workers admitting to being late to work at least once a month, and 16 percent tardy once a week or more, you could make that argument.
But perhaps more astounding than those numbers are the reasons people give for not showing up on time.
According to a new CareerBuilder study, frozen car keys, a functionally fashionable cement duck and coin-operated newspaper machines top this year’s list of most outrageous excuses for arriving to work late.
“Employers understand that every now and again circumstances will arise that are out of a worker’s control and unfortunately cause a late arrival to work,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “It escalates to a problem when the behavior becomes repetitive, causing employers to take disciplinary action. More than one-third of hiring managers reported they had to fire someone for being late.”
What’s your excuse?
Traffic is the most common culprit causing tardiness according to 31 percent of workers. Other factors include lack of sleep, the need to drop off the kids at daycare or school, bad weather and public transportation delays.
Not all employees blame jammed roads. Hiring managers shared some of the most memorable excuses they’ve heard from employees who were late getting to the office, including:
- Employee dropped her purse into a coin-operated newspaper box and couldn’t retrieve it without change (which was in the purse)
- Employee accidentally left the apartment with his roommate’s girlfriend’s shoes on and had to go back to change
- Employee’s angry wife had frozen his truck keys in a glass of water in the freezer
- Employee got a late start because she was putting a rain coat on her cement duck in her front yard (because rain was expected later that day)
- Employee’s car wouldn’t start because the breathalyzer showed he was intoxicated
- Employee attempted to cut his own hair before work and the clippers stopped working, so he had to wait until the barber shop opened to fix his hair
- Employee’s car was attacked by a bear (had photographic evidence)
- Employee drove to her previous employer by mistake
- Employee claimed to have delivered a stranger’s baby on the side of the highway
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012 and included more than 2,600 hiring managers and more than 3,900 workers nationwide.