Traffic Woes a Big Excuse for Office Tardiness

May 18, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - Nearly a third of workers in a recent survey blamed traffic woes for their being tardy in getting into the office.

A news release said its survey,Late to Work,” found that 31% complained about traffic tie-ups between home and work.

Some 16% admitted they fell back asleep while 8% had problems in launching their children for a new school day. Others blamed the length of their commute, leaving a prized possession at home, and generally feeling ill as reasons for their tardiness.

According to the news release, 16% of workers said they arrive late to work at least once a week, and a quarter admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness.

“The most important thing for employees to remember is that they should take the time to learn the company’s culture and its policies,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources for, in the news release. “While 44% of hiring managers say they don’t care if their employees are late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality, others are much stricter in their policies. In fact, one-in-five hiring managers say they would consider terminating an employee if he/she arrives late two or three times in a given year. The key is to know your individual manager’s expectations.”

The survey found that broken down by gender, males are less likely to be late, with 41% saying they have never been tardy in their current position compared to 37% of females. Males are also less likely to tell fibs about why they’re late – 22% compared to 28% of women.

While the majority of hiring managers don’t typically question the validity of the reasons provided, just over a quarter say most of the time they don’t believe the excuses. Hiring managers provided the following top ten unusual excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:

  • Someone was following me, and I drove all around town trying to lose them.
  • My dog dialed 911, and the police wanted to question me about what “really” happened.
  • My girlfriend got mad and destroyed all of my undergarments.
  • I woke up and thought I was temporarily deaf.
  • I just wasn’t “feelin’ it” this morning.
  • I was up all night arguing with God.
  • A raccoon stole my work shoe off my porch.
  • I super-glued my eye thinking it was contact solution.
  • I was putting lotion on my face when my finger went up my nose causing a nose bleed.
  • A prostitute climbed into my car at a stop light, and I was afraid my wife would see her and think I was messing around … so I got out of the car.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of and USA TODAY among 6,823 private sector employees and 2,591 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions), ages 18 and over within the United States between February 15 and March 6, 2007.