Being late could get you fired: Here's how to get to work on time

Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on why those few extra minutes in bed could get you fired.

Most of us have had mornings where we would give anything for a tiny bit longer in bed after our alarms go off, but despite this, we drag ourselves out of the leaba to ensure we make it to work in time. Therefore, it is no surprise that the punctual among us can get very frustrated when colleagues are consistently late to work. Nearly half of Irish workers (46 per cent) said they are resentful of colleagues that are always late, according to

While everyone ends up late every now and then due to circumstances outside of their control, those that are late over and over again can create workplace animosity, according to half of the survey respondents in senior management positions.

The most common excuses for being late to work include traffic (59 per cent), oversleeping (33 per cent) and the weather (26 per cent). One in five people admit that they lie when explaining why they haven’t got to work on time.


The importance of being on time does vary depending depend on the kind of company you work for, with 37 per cent of bosses saying there are no real consequences for being late, 8 per cent saying they had a casual approach to punctuality and 10 per cent believing that once an individual gets their work done, nobody notices when they start.

However, some 41 per cent of employers described being punctual for work as absolutely essential. Legally, employees in Ireland can be fired for being late. The employer will be expected to have proof of this allegation, such as clocking-in records or documented times the employee was late on file that are not medically certified. They also have to prove that they warned the employee that continued tardiness would have consequences. According to, a quarter of bosses have fired employees for consistently being late.

If you are always running late, here are some tips to get you to work on time:

  1. Prepare for the next day before you go to bed: Lay out everything you need for the working day including clothes, keys, money, Leap card, and lunch.
  2. Ban your phone from the bedroom: Use an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you up in the morning and leave your phone outside. You will avoid those 15 minutes of lying in bed in the morning scrolling mindlessly on your phone. Plus, the lack of blue-light in your bedroom means you’ll get a better night’s sleep.
  3. Know how long it takes to get everywhere: While you might be able to get to work in 16 minutes if you run and land in the office panting and sweating, time how long it takes to get there at a normal pace and then factor in a contingency time in case you forget something, if there is traffic or some other hold up.
  4. Wear a watch so you always know what time it is: Don’t be tempted to use your phone as a clock as it will inevitably distract you.
  5. Get a job with flexi-time: If you are really not a morning person and the above tips do not work, start looking for a job with hours that suit you better (or a boss that is always later than you are!)

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