Are You Always Late to Work?

How Lateness May Be Heart-protective and Unchangeable…

Ryan Scott Shannon
3 min readAug 25, 2022


Image by author. Ryan Scott Shannon

We’re probably all late at some point in our lives. As it’s said, life happens. But what if it’s chronic? What if you’re habitually late to your place of work? What does this mean, and what are its root causes?

The answers to these questions may surprise you.

The Dividing Schools of Thought

Currently, studies on lateness branch off into two perspectives, according to this 2002 study from Bar-Ilan University. The first school of thought sees employee lateness as a withdrawal behavior. This withdrawal behavior is connected to low job satisfaction and organizational commitment. In other words, the employee’s interest in the organization — and performing for it — wane.

On the other hand, some researchers consider the term “withdrawal behavior” as inaccurate, and even misleading. Rather than depicting the chronically late worker as engaging in withdrawal behavior, this school of thought views the late employee holistically.

With this approach, the late worker’s context is considered, including: work-family conflict (which is experienced more frequently by women ad younger employees), the imbalance between work and leisure, the weather, health conditions, and transportation issues. (Duh!)

…Or a Matter of Personality?

From the aforementioned paper, a questionnaire was mailed to 158 participants that sought to measure their track record of lateness, their sense of Time Urgency, and organizational commitment.

It was found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the personality attribute of Time Urgency predicted whether an employee was punctual or not. The interesting part is Time Urgency is tied to personality.

What Is Time Urgency?

Time Urgency, the subjective feeling of hurry someone faces in life, is viewed as a subcomponent of Type A personality. Type A personalities are future or goal-oriented, while Type B personalities tend to live more presently. Five dimensions of time urgency include:

  • Competitiveness. Those with high degrees of competitiveness may feel the need…



Ryan Scott Shannon

Digital nomad, I/O psychology student, entrepreneur. Visited nearly 30 countries. Author of 5 books on travel, wellness, mental health.