It’s 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning. As you’re drinking your double espresso and fumbling through a slew of new e-mails, your phone rings.
“Hi, boss. It’s Steve.”
“Steve, your voice sounds really muffled. Everything okay?”
“Um, not really. You see, I’m locked in my car trunk. That’s right – I am calling you from the inside of my car trunk. I’m not going to be able to make it into work until I get out of here.”
Hmm. You’ve never got that phone call from an employee? Well, chances are you’ve heard a similarly outlandish excuse at some point. Workers have a slew of crazy excuses for being late to work, and “I got locked in my car trunk by my son” tops our most recent survey of over 8,000 workers. According to the survey, 20 percent of workers arrive late to work at least once a week, up from 15 percent in last year’s survey. One in ten (12 percent) said they are late at least twice a week.
The most popular “standard” reasons for running late are due to traffic (33 percent); lack of sleep (24 percent); and getting the kids ready for school or day care (10 percent). Public transportation woes, wardrobe issues (not of the Janet Jackson-malfunction kind), and dealing with pets are also also common reasons.
But mixed in with those “common” reasons are those that are, well, a bit more odd.
The most outrageous reasons for being late to work:
- You’re sleeping on the couch tonight
- “My husband thinks it’s funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.”
- Dumpster drama
- “I was attacked by a raccoon and had to stop by the hospital to make sure it wasn’t rabid.”
- Those meddlesome gurneys
- “A gurney fell out of an ambulance and delayed traffic.”
- Just being considerate
- “I feel like I’m in everyone’s way if I show up on time.”
- Preventing frostbite and snakebite
- “My heat was shut off so I had to stay home to keep my snake warm.”
- Billy Madison?
- “My father didn’t wake me up.”
- Six-more-weeks-of-winter aggression
- “A groundhog bit my bike tire and made it flat.”
- Walking into spiderwebs
- “I walked into a spider web on the way out the door and couldn’t find the spider, so I had to go inside and shower again.”
- Parent trap
- “I got locked in my trunk by my son.”
- Island paradise
- “My driveway washed away in the rain last night.”
- B47 obsession
- “I had to go to bingo.”
“My left turn signal was out so I had to make all right turns to get to work.”
Read the full press release here.
Author’s note: In line with 2008′s most unusual excuses for missing work, animals seem to be a common theme.
Employees, Be Honest
“While some employers tend to be more lenient with worker punctuality, 30 percent say they have terminated an employee for being late,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. “Workers need to understand their company’s policies on tardiness and if they are late, make sure they openly communicate with their managers. Employers have heard every excuse in the book, so honesty is the best policy.”
I would add that on the flip side, employers must be open and communicative about policies and preferences for work tardiness. Let your employees know what your expectations are in the case that they are running late to work. Open lines of communication will garner respect from your employees — and less headaches for you. Chances are, if you trust and respect your employees, they will return the favor.
What are the best (or most unbelievable) excuses you’ve heard from your employees — or that you’ve used yourself?Related
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