Here’s an example of punctuality practised to the T. Every day in Tokyo, Japan, nearly 10 million people take the Tokyo metro for their work commute. Despite the intricate network of 195 kilometers of tracks linked with 13 lines over 300 stations, it is one of the most punctual transit systems in the world.
So much so, that when delays happen, even by less than a minute, commuters are regularly informed humbly about the delay over the PA. IF the train is late, the crew personally apologise to the passengers.
Another fascinating practice is giving away “Delay Certificates” given to the commuters, admitting that if they are tardy at work, it is due to the train’s delay, a practice that is only followed in Japan and Germany. It is incredible to see such dedication to timeliness and punctuality in the most populated city in the world. And if this discipline extends into their professionals habits, that makes for one highly productive workforce.
We keep talking about how fast paced and real time communications is getting. Ironically we are not picking up that speed. Speaking from the experience in the Indian work ecosystem, dedication to punctuality appears to be rather flexible. Whether it is abiding by your reporting time at work or by the deadlines around you. Several factors have lead us to be accommodating of tardiness, to the point of expecting it. This culture has given another (infamous) meaning to Indian Standard Time.
Effective time management is a skill is frequently cited as an underlying prerequisite to leadership, an essential for public relations and entrepreneurship, and for being effective in workplace in general. Then why are we lax when it comes to being punctual? Why do we see very few professionals in our space, especially knowing that the reporter’s deadline is more important than yours convenience?
Whatever the reasons may be, it is imperative to note that the solid public relations and communications professionals of tomorrow will be ruthlessly punctual, especially when this comes as a differentiating attribute. There is an endless list of reasons why it pays to be punctual in the workplace:
And one could go on. But most importantly, in a profession which billed on “man-hours”, it is non-negotiable for PR firms to make their workforce impeccably punctual. And it is up to us, the practising professionals to ensure it, in order to become more valuable to the profession.
There are hundreds of helpful tools, methods and books that can help you excel at time management. Here is best seller which makes for an interesting and valuable read for those who want to improve on this aspect – “Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged” by Diana DeLonzor. I have personally liked to keep it simple to these 3 steps – Organise, Prioritise and Schedule. It might be a good idea to have your clients adopt this model in the way they interact with you. But most importantly, you need to have resolve and ruthlessness to make punctuality happen.
What makes us such an authority on punctuality? Because we are publishing this blog two days later than we were supposed to. Moving right along.