The best late to work excuses are those that digress from the truth to the least possible extent.
Running late to work is something that happens to most people at some point of time.
Personal conditions such as a sick family member, medical emergencies, a need to be present in the kid’s school and the like all rank amongst the most common late to work excuses.
Frequent lateness for these reasons implies a serious work-life conflict that could necessitate remedial action.
The second common group of excuses given for running late to work include general conditions such as traffic jams, a flat tire, unexpected long queues at the gas station, route diversions, accidents and the like not directly within one’s control.
It is easy to prove such excuses with supporting documents like a repair bill, newspaper reports, and the like.
The reason for lateness might sometimes be genuine, and sometimes avoidable. While most bosses condone the occasional one-off lateness, habitual lateness is likely to cause trouble unless the organization has a liberal flexi-time policy.
What Excuses Sell?
People tend to give false excuses for lateness owing to a variety of reasons.
The most popular reasons include the employee attending an interview for another job, attending a personal religious function, or keeping an appointment with the doctor, all of which the employee may not want to disclose at that particular point of time.
The golden rule for the employee is however to stick to the truth as far as possible and digress only to the minimum extent required.
A good excuse for lateness depends on the employee’s reputation in the organization.
The boss might tend to believe or condone the excuse of “having overslept” from an employee who has established his or her punctuality, whereas the same excuse from a person known for habitual lateness might not sell.
Bizarre and strange lateness excuses such as “a tiger on its way to zoo escaped and held up traffic on the way” might be true, but such excuses are unlikely to sell if the employee has established a reputation for arriving at work late and lying.
Whatever the excuses for being late, the important factor is not to contradict any reasons given earlier or anything on record. For instance, an excuse of taking a dependent father to the hospital one day followed by taking time off to receive the same dependent from his trip abroad the next day is a sure way to get fired.
Man is a social animal and a perfect work-life balance is next to impossible. Most bosses understand this fact and make some allowance for lateness. Habitual lateness however disrupts the functioning of the office and is likely to affect the employee’s appraisals.
Habitual latecomers are also more likely to be amongst the first to receive the layoff notice when times go bad.