Punctuality displays a person’s respect for people and time. In a scheduled appointment, returning late to a clients home, the late-comer usually gives an impression that he/she doesn’t value the other person’s time or considers his/her time more important than that of the other.

Why Be on Time?

Being on time:

  • Demonstrates that you are diligent and dependable;
  • Indicates that you honor your commitments and you can be trusted;
  • Shows that you have respect for other people and that you care as much about their time as your own; and
  • Sets a good example.

When you are late for your shift with other caregivers, clients, or clients’ families who value their time, you will have wasted one of their most valuable assets and there is a good chance they will view you as rude, irresponsible and disrespectful. Is this how you want to brand yourself?

Valuing other caregivers, clients, or clients’ families’ time and earning their respect is not only an important part of the reputation of At-Home Quality Care’s reputation, but your individual reputation.

Let’s now look at two specific scenarios where punctuality is critical.

Keeping Your Shift.

Not only should you strive to be on time for your shift, but also, we recommend that you set a goal to arrive at least five to fifteen minutes early.  This is an easy way to make a great first impression.

Four Reasons You Should Arrive Early:

  1.  To give yourself a buffer in case something delays you. Planning to show up at the exact time of your shift leaves no room for error.
  2.  To be relaxed for the shift. Running through the door stressed out because you were rushing, never reflects well on you.
  3.  To make sure you are prepared for the shift. Always arrive early so you will have a few minutes to relax, think about your shift, and get organized (even more so, if you are meeting with a new client that day).
  4.  To avoid making up an excuse for being late.  We don’t know about you, but we hate listening to excuses and even worse, we hate making excuses. Arrive early to review notes and materials that were given by the trainer and scheduler.

When Your Best Plan Fails.

Circumstances do arise, and it won’t always be possible to be on time. If you are going to be late for a shift, call as soon as you know you are going to be late. This allows others to plan their schedules accordingly. Cell phones, PDA’s and other technology make this an easy thing to do.

When you are on time you enhance your brand. When you are late, you devalue your brand.  Being on time is a choice.

Let me encourage you to take pride in being a person who is always on time and prepared for your shift. Remember, there is no downside in showing up early, but there is significant downside to showing up late.

Is being on time a challenge for you? Then do the following:

  • Prepare the night before (ex.: packing, food, gassing car up, maps, etc.);
  • Set your alarm extra, extra early;
  • Leave your home extra, extra early.

Below you’ll find 7 tips for being punctual.

  • Make Being Prompt a Priority. The first step in becoming punctual is accepting that you have a punctuality problem. Then, realize that it’s not a cute or quirky character trait. Instead, it’s a habit that’s having a negative impact on your career, on your business, and/or on your relationships.
  • Be Ruthless With Your To Do List. One reason why you may have a tendency to be late is because you simply have too much to do. If your schedule is unrealistic, how can you possibly be on time for anything? It’s better to say “no” to something you don’t have time for than it is to say “yes” and then be an hour late.
  • Be Prepared to Be On Time. Preparation is one of the keys to punctuality. As an illustration, if you’re constantly late leaving your house in the morning, set up the night before. The night before, do the following:
    • Choose the clothes that you’re going to wear and lay them out.
    • Pack your suitcase/briefcase and leave it by the door.
    • Make sure that your house keys and your car keys are by the door.
    • Make your breakfast —one idea is to cut up some fruits, put them in a container, and store the container in the fridge.
  •  Give Yourself a Time Cushion. Even if you know how long it takes you to perform different tasks—such as driving to work or driving to a case/clients home—give yourself some extra time  in case of unexpected events. It’s a given that things are not going to run smoothly 100% of the time.    Leave earlier than you plan because you know traffic is the worst when traveling to your clients home.  Don’t forget there is always heavy congestion in certain areas, or construction sites are backed up and don’t forget about the weather which can play a big factor as well and slow down traffic.   One of the habits of people who are punctual is that they don’t just give themselves the amount of time that they need to get to where they’re going on time. Instead, they also give themselves a time cushion in case something goes wrong.
  •  Be Prepared to Wait. People usually don’t like to be early because they feel that the time that they spend waiting for others is wasted time. That is, they prefer to be late rather than having some downtime. The key to overcoming this hurdle is to be prepared to have to wait. Waiting time doesn’t have to be wasted time.  If you arrive early to your clients home the other caregiver there will have time to give you an update, or it will give you time to get your things in the house while the other caregiver is there.
  • Change Your Thoughts About Being Early. A lot of people think that those who are important keep others waiting. Therefore, being early is a sign that they’re not that important. And no one wants to feel unimportant.  However, being early is really a sign of being organized, having respect for others, and having good time management skills. And these are all character traits of important people. Keep telling yourself, “Important people are punctual”.
  • Always Leave on Time. The moment which ultimately determines whether you arrive where you’re going late or on time is the moment in which you walk out your door. Once you’ve reversed engineered the time at which you need to leave in order to arrive at your intended destination on time, force yourself to leave at that time.
  • You can be respected, as someone who is always on time, if being on time is important to you.  
  • Being on time will help you to cut down on stress (after all, few things are as stressful as always running late).
  • Being on time will reduce friction with your co-workers; nobody likes to be kept waiting.
  • Being on time will let your boss know that you can be counted on, which could lead to a promotion.

When you’re on time you’re prepared to do your best. Being punctual signals to others, as well as to yourself, that you can be depended on.