The Importance of Punctuality to Healthcare Staffing Agencies
As a society, many of us have become lax about our punctuality. I believe it started with arriving “fashionably late” for social functions. Like any social norms, that practice seeped into our work place habits as well as our everyday schedule.
How many times have you agreed to meet someone for lunch, dinner, or a drink and found yourself waiting for your companion to show up? Or, how long have you kept your companion waiting for you to show up? At best it’s annoying; at worst it’s downright rude. As I’ve sat waiting for someone to appear at a time mutually agreed to, I find myself fuming so that when the person actually arrives, the event is less pleasant than it was intended to be.
One scenario we can all agree upon is the dreaded physician/dentist waiting room where we sit wasting valuable time, mindlessly thumbing through an outdated magazine of no interest to us. Why do you think that those waiting rooms are a universal example of wasted time and frayed tempers? That’s simple to answer: it’s because patients are lax about being punctual for their appointments. All it takes is for the first patient of the day to show up as little as 10 minutes late for the entire day’s schedule to fall apart. I know you are probably muttering that the reason you’re lax about being on time for an appointment is because you are always kept waiting. Therein lies the genesis of this vicious cycle. You know you’ll have to wait, so why bother being on time – and that’s the problem.
I’ve been going to the same dentist for over 20 years. He is very respectful of his patients’ time and rarely runs late. However, for a period of time, I noticed I was kept waiting longer than usual. When I mentioned this to the dentist, he apologized and shared what was said above about patients being late. We came up with a plan that if he was going to be delayed by more than 15 minutes, his staff would call me to let me know so that I wouldn’t pace and mutter in front of them. By the dentist respecting my time, I also respected his – if I found myself delayed by traffic for even 5 minutes, I would call to let the staff know I was running late. Though this didn’t solve the waiting issue, at least we were not angry with each other and the appointment was more pleasant.
We are a staffing company that sets up interview appointments for as many candidates as we can comfortably accommodate in a day. There is a reason for appointments. If everyone arrived at once, we would be unable to give each person the attention they deserve. Candidates that arrive late are cutting into the time of the candidate after them causing a less than favorable impression of our company. The candidate that arrives late for an interview is already at a hiring disadvantage. Since an interview is the time to see someone at their best, if their best is less than stellar, it’s time to move on to someone else. I wonder if tardy candidates even take this into consideration.
Employees that are chronically late are actually company thieves. Not only are they stealing time from their employer, but they are causing a serious disservice to their colleagues who are dependent on each other to get the work done. Here are some tips from someone who is obsessed with punctuality:
- Put out your outfit the night before. Don’t wait until you need to be out the door to realize your pants are wrinkled or the sweater you pulled out of a heap needs a trip to the cleaners.
- If you bring your breakfast or lunch to work, prepare it the night before. There is nothing more frustrating than starting out on time but being delayed by food preparation.
- Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier (or more if you need to) than you need to be up so that you can use the extra time to get going mentally before the physical part needs to kick in.
- Be sure you have gas in your tank. If you’re on empty or close to it, fill up on your way home from work to save those precious few minutes.
- Place your house and car keys in the same spot each day so no hunting expedition is required.
- Before leaving the house, try to limit the time you spend on the computer or your smartphone. All it takes is one involved message to make you late.
- Above all, know different routes to take to work, or alternate means of mass transit. Your boss will not appreciate hearing “I was stuck in traffic” or “the bus never came”.
A punctual employee will be very much appreciated by those who not only sign their check but by their fellow co-workers who made the effort to be on time.