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“Why Were you Late for Work?” November’s Top Reasons for Employee Lateness

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  • Public transport was the biggest cause of people being late for work (20%).
  • 16% was caused by “being stuck in traffic” or traffic delays.
  • A total of 9% of employees “slept in” or “slept through alarm”

Employees being punctual and turning up to work on time is a vital part of any business functioning properly. However, sometimes you can’t help being late for work. Things happen and disasters strike when we least expect them.

The UK’s most popular HR software company, BrightHR, logged that was a total of 1,360 employees late throughout the month of November and public transport issues (trains, buses and the tube) was the most used reason for employees reporting to work late. This comes after it has been reported this week that more than one in seven trains were late or delayed, over the last year.

The RAC say there’s around 16.7 million of us that drive to and from work so it’s no surprise to see why “being stuck in traffic” came in second as the most used response for being late with 16%.

Surprisingly nearly 10% of BrightHR users logged that their employees had slept in or had slept through their alarm as for why they were late to work. This could due to employees struggling to adjust to morning being darker when the clocks go back or also has the potential to be from staff being burnt out due to not taking their required rest.

The city with the highest number of staff being recorded as late was Manchester, as the city’s transport was brought to a standstill with delays, cancellations and strikes. It’s been reported that nearly a quarter of Manchester’s trains were late or cancelled, during the run-up to November and the city’s buses were rated as less reliable than previous years.

The city with the lowest amount of staff being recorded as late was Bath. With access to major motorways and good transport links, employees from Bath enjoyed little to no disruptions to their commutes to work.

Throughout November there were some excuses for being late that flagged up as ‘out of the ordinary’:

  • The employee claimed they “needed a long walk”
  • The employee claimed they “had to go to Primark to get fishnet tights”
  • The employee claimed they were “fixing their pet snakes heating system”
  • The employee claimed they “saw a bus driver purposely drive through a puddle to soak him” and had to go home and get changed

Alastair Brown, Chief Technological Officer at BrightHR, said:

“At BrightHR, we advise employers that prevention is the best tactic when it comes to reducing employee lateness.

“Employers should ensure they have implemented an up-to-date policy regarding employee conduct and a procedure for notifying someone when an employee is going to be late.

“However, honesty is the best policy when it comes to employees reporting lateness, as lying will reduce trust within the business, as one employer found out when it was logged that an employee said he had been stuck in traffic but he walked in with a McDonalds.”

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