It may be due to my military background, or it may be because of my dad and the lessons of politeness he drilled in me. I don’t know why, but I can tell you this: I hate being late. 

Late. What a horrible word.

Do you realize each day consists of only 1,440 minutes?

Though different circumstances individually constrain us, we each choose to spend these 1,440 minutes differently, and we all place an “amount” on how much that time is worth. 

We calculate the opportunity cost based on what we would rather be doing with our time, and most of us go to great lengths to ensure we aren’t wasting time on non-important things.

By definition, our work time is worth money. It’s worth a predetermined, agreed-upon amount with our employer. 

When you waste that time, when you are late, you must understand that you are, in essence, stealing money from the people that pay you. 

Greg Savage, a “leader of the global recruitment industry,” sums it up succinctly in one of his posts: How did it get to be ‘OK’ for people to be late for everything? He writes, “…it is not that we lead ‘busy lives. That’s a given, we all do, and it’s a cop-out to use that as an excuse. It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. And technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late. Rubbish. You are rude. And inconsiderate.” 

I couldn’t agree with him more.

If you are the person consistently causing others to wait, you are wasting your organization’s most precious resource. And, yes, that resource you are wasting has a dollar amount attached to it. 

When any member of an organization holds up a meeting by being late, they are not only inconsiderate and wasting your time; they are wasting the time of each employee waiting. Being half an hour late to a meeting with ten people costs five full work hours of productivity – not just the half hour. 

Calculate those wasted 5 hours by the average employee’s hourly rate, and you will start to understand how valuable that half hour is.

I’m just trying to remind you of the financial cost associated with people wasting your time through their actions, not meaning to sound like Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry McGuire screaming, “Show me the money!” 

In addition to the financial irresponsibility, think of what else those people could be doing productively with their time while they wait.

You must ensure that your employees are tasked appropriately and enjoy a professional quality of life. We pay employees, and we are paid, for how we spend our time at work. 

I always hear people complain they don’t have a firm grasp on their time. You know the feeling. You arrive at work, your phone rings, you get called into a meeting, and the next thing you know, you look up, and your significant other is calling to ask what time you will be home for dinner. 

Time flies by. Pretty soon, days, weeks, and months are gone. Years even.

When you see instances where your company’s time is being wasted – it is up to you to help remedy this. 

First and foremost, don’t allow behavior from others that is inconsiderate and rude. You are wasting hundreds of hours of your life on nonsense by tolerating this rude behavior. 

One day you may look back, calculate the cost, and wish you had a few of those lost hours back.