How to Be Late for Work Without Getting Fired

We’ve all been there a time or two, some of us more than others. No one ever wants to be late for work. Being prompt is important; employers want you to be on time and turn in projects before deadlines as often as possible.

If you’ve been struggling to make it through the door when you’re scheduled to start, here’s how to strategize and avoid being fired in the process. 

Be Truthful

There are countless reasons why you may be late, and you can probably come up with some really good ones right off the bat. Think again. While some excuses, like you had to help an elderly person with a flat tire, sound like a great reason to be late, they’ll likely come back to bite you. Always be honest. You went to bed late and forgot to set your alarm. You slept right through it. 

Tell your boss the truth. And be sure to get a more trustworthy alarm on your way home from work!

Accept Responsibility and Blame

You’re late for that really important early meeting. Countless thoughts run through your head about how you’re going to approach your boss as you stroll in 20 minutes late for your presentation. “I thought it was at 8:30, not 8:00 a.m.” Blame the receptionist or say you didn’t get the email. It’s easy to do, but it doesn’t make you look good. 

At the end of the day, you’re the only one responsible for getting to the meeting on time. Own it, and don’t let it happen again. 

Go Straight to the Boss

When running late because the coffee shop line was way too long, you might think calling in to the receptionist is enough. Then you don’t have to deal with your boss, right? Wrong. Ask to speak to your manager directly. Tell them you’re running late, and you wanted to make sure they knew. 

It may or may not soften the blow, but you’re making an honest effort and taking responsibility. Your boss should commend you for that.

Have a Future Game Plan

Being late a time or two often can’t be helped, but be prepared with a backup game plan, so it doesn’t happen again. Get to bed early enough to get a full night’s rest. From there, be sure to have a reliable wake-up source. Give yourself more than enough time to get up, get ready and arrive at the workplace before you need to clock in. 

Being fashionably late is one thing, but it can make you look ridiculous when it happens excessively. You run the risk of termination or losing an array of benefits in the workplace. Show responsibility, so your boss doesn’t take any drastic measures. Not going to be there by 9:00 a.m.? Don’t freak out. Get yourself together, take a deep breath and call your boss. Be honest and try your hardest to not let it happen again.