How to Improve My Attendance at Work: An Idea Trader Guide
Molly Hitchens studied business for years before launching her career as a journalist and analyst specializing in original and innovative business planning. She shares her expertise through her work with The Idea Trader as well as through in-person speaking engagements at universities around the country.
When it comes to making yourself a valuable team member at your place of work, there are many disparate things to consider, and many easy mistakes that new employees tend to make.
Above all else, showing up to work every day that you’re scheduled is absolutely key to establishing yourself as an ambitious employee who plans on advancing within the company in the months and years to come.
Taking days off that you’ve cleared with your boss or supervisor ahead of time is completely acceptable.
But days you take off without notification or valid reasoning can do a lot to harm your reputation within the workplace.
Even if you’re planning on finding a different job in the near future and you’re not very invested in the immediate work at hand, it’s important to keep up appearances and quietly go about your business until you secure a new role elsewhere.
Optimize Your Commute
When it comes to getting to work every day and on time, you definitely don’t want your commute to be a negative factor.
If you haven’t already done so, check Google Maps or other similar navigation sites for the ideal route between your home and your place of work.
The fastest and most efficient route is likely to change based on road closures and traffic conditions on any given day. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a navigation app during your commute for a couple weeks in a row.
That way, after a while you’ll naturally start to memorize alternative routes and be able to take one of those instead at a moment’s notice.
Once you have a solid idea of how long your commute takes, on average, you can plan your days better and even let your boss know how long it usually takes you to come to work.
Wake Up Early
As much as we hate to admit it, waking up earlier than you really need to in order to get to work on time can have many different advantages.
For one, you have more time to truly wake up, instead of stumbling your way into the office half an hour after you got out of bed with your eyes still half-closed.
Waking up an hour or so earlier can also give you a chance to have some coffee and a small breakfast.
You’ll be surprised how much these small gestures prepare you for your day. You’ll be more motivated heading into work and should have plenty of time to get there on time, even if traffic is worse than usual.
If you’re having trouble waking up to an annoying alarm sound on your phone, consider downloading a sleep cycle alarm.
Apps like these sense vibration and sound to determine what stage of sleep you’re in, and wakes you when you’re still in shallow sleep.
Maintaining a solid sense of motivation may be the most difficult aspect of performing well at work and not taking unnecessary days off.
It’s also a very personal process. Outside of a few major recommendations, the most important part is to find which methods work best for you.
Set attendance goals for yourself, pending a reward if you meet that goal down the road.
For example, try not to miss any days of work or leave early for at least three weeks. After completing the goal, let yourself take a weekend trip to a nearby getaway destination.
Then set a new goal to not miss any work days for six weeks.
Also, try reminding yourself of the aspects of your job that you genuinely enjoy. Focus on those aspects when you’re at work as well as in the morning when you’re getting ready for work.
You may even want to check out our article on a few ways to make work more fun.
Simple meditation can be another great way to deal with troubling work-related anxiety and gain perspective on difficult office situations and ongoing projects.
Schedule Appointments Wisely
Doctor and dentist appointments can’t really be avoided, and medical offices very rarely offer hours on weekends.
That said, it’s possible to schedule your appointments wisely so that you can maintain solid attendance at work.
Consider setting appointments for later in the afternoon. That way, you can still head into work on time and complete several tasks before having to leave for your appointment.
Consider Permanently Changing Your Work Schedule
If you’ve tried to make several adjustments to your routine to make your way to work consistently and on time and none of these changes have worked, then we recommend speaking with your boss about making a permanent schedule change.
While many offices stick to a 9 AM - 5 PM schedule, certain job types and companies allow for a little more wiggle room to that strict schedule.
Offer to come in earlier, for example. You’re more likely to avoid major rush hour traffic and you’ll get to head home sooner as well.
Deciding to move is always a major decision, and you should never move just to accommodate a certain temporary job.
But if you plan on staying with a specific company for many years, meaning 10 or more years, then it might be beneficial to look for housing much closer to your place of work.
Again, this is only a viable option if it makes practical sense to move, on many different levels.
Is the neighborhood surrounding your place of work affordable, safe, and convenient for accessing other parts of your city or town?
Most importantly, do you have other reasons to leave your current house or apartment?
Cutting down your commute time will be a great way to assure better attendance at work. You may even find housing that’s within walking distance of your office.
This would make your commute much healthier, both physically and psychologically.
It may seem difficult now, but committing to your current job and never being late is a trait shared by all successful individuals.
And if you’re a boss or supervisor yourself, it’s even more crucial that you set a good example for your employees by always coming into the office when you’re supposed to.