Does Tardiness in the Workplace Cost the Economy? [2024 Study]

Ismail Baumy

We ran a study to find out just how much money employees in each state cost companies by being late to work each week. The surprising results are below!

Key Findings

  • Economic Impact: Lateness of employees costs the American economy over $61 billion annually.
  • Average Lateness: The average U.S. worker is late by 35 minutes per week, resulting in an annual loss of $166 per employee.
  • Geographical Variations: Tardiness varies significantly across states, with Montana and North Dakota having the most punctual workers, while Maine and New Hampshire have the highest rates of lateness.
  • State-Specific Costs: California, due to its size, faces the highest economic loss from lateness, exceeding $10 billion per year.
  • Frequency of Lateness: On average, employees are late once a week, either in physically arriving at work or logging on from home.
  • Watch Wearing and Punctuality: 63% of employees believe they would be more punctual if gifted a luxury watch by their employer.
  • Perception of Professionalism: Over half of the respondents associate luxury watch wearers with business leadership and authority. 61% believe that wearing a specific brand or type of luxury watch can influence perceptions of professional demeanor.

Implications of the Study

  • Economic Significance of Punctuality: Our study highlights the significant economic impact of employee tardiness, emphasizing the need for improved time management in the workplace.
  • Cultural and Regional Differences: The variation in lateness across states suggests cultural and regional differences in attitudes towards time and punctuality, perhaps warranting tailored approaches in different geographic areas.
  • Potential for Incentives: The positive response to luxury watches as a punctuality incentive indicates that non-monetary rewards could be effective in improving employee timeliness.
  • Technology and Privacy Concerns: The resistance to using smartwatches for monitoring punctuality reflects growing concerns about workplace surveillance and the need for a balance between employee privacy and productivity monitoring.
  • Future of Work Culture: This research could influence future work policies, particularly in addressing lateness and exploring non-traditional methods to encourage punctuality.


Online panel survey of 3,000 adults based on age, gender, and geography. Internal data sources are used to obtain population data sets. We used a two-step process to ensure representativeness through stratified sampling and post-stratification weighting.

Respondents are carefully chosen from a geographically representative online panel of double opt-in members. This selection is further tailored to meet the precise criteria required for each unique survey.

Throughout the survey, we design questions to carefully screen and authenticate respondents, guaranteeing the alignment of the survey with the ideal participants. 

To ensure the integrity of our data collection, we employ an array of data quality methods. Alongside conventional measures like digital fingerprinting, bot checks, geo-verification, and speeding detection, etc. each response undergoes a thorough review by a dedicated team member to ensure quality and contextual accuracy.

Ismail Baumy

Ismail has been in love with watches ever since he was a teenager, amassing a small collection, including luxury and affordable watches. He started The Savvy Wrist in 2023 in hopes of sharing information and his love of watches to everyone, from watch aficionados to those just getting started.

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