Time We Stuck To Punctuality
The main pillars of Islam were built around precise timing
The five prayers a day, each must be conducted at a specific time. The consistent performance of prayer at stated times is training in punctuality and teaches the worshipper the appreciation of time.
The fasting in Ramadan is from sunrise to sunset and after a certain time eating/drinking is prohibited. And Haj duties are very much tied to timing – ‘Al Arafa’ parts must be conducted between specific timings.
Therefore, timing and punctuality are emphasised in Islam. Being on time for appointments or completing working hours is part of ‘Amannah’ or promise, also emphasised by Islam and ancient Arabs.
Some argue the Western world learnt punctuality from Islamic values. One example is Napoleon who lost the war of Waterloo as his most reliable and unique General Grouchy was late to reach there. Another example suggests the Chinese had neglected punctuality before their industrial revolution of 1935.
However, there is a great concern in the Arab world and Middle East that in the modern era we give less importance and priority to timing and punctuality, but on the other hand the West and other developing countries have integrated punctuality in their culture and daily life.
Why do we culturally believe on being late for an appointment or even never turn up? Why can’t we deliver on time as promised? Why is time not important in business and not considered a loss like money and reputation?
In business, the reason for importance of punctuality perhaps goes back to the familiar saying “time is money”. Business environments that rely on time-based principles use specified periods of time for appointments, meetings, conferences, etc. These are often not high in flexibility. As a result of this rigid perspective of time, punctuality is valued and noticed. This is because if promptness is not observed, other time-designated tasks and processes are thrown off kilter in cultures that use the clock as a basis for the workday. A lack of punctuality can be tied to developed perceptions of unprofessionalism, disrespect and incompetence:
l Unprofessionalism: In many workplaces, lateness is frowned upon and deemed as unprofessional. Individuals who tend to be late for work, appointments or other deadlines are bound to see negative perceptions derived about them. These are primary reasons to seriously consider timeliness at work.
l Disrespect: Individuals who are expected to be punctual and disregard it are often perceived by others as demonstrating a lack of respect. In societies that put a high value on time, those who do not pay much attention to the clock may even be looked down upon as demonstrating contempt for their colleagues and/or business partners.
l Incompetence: Lateness can also be perceived as being incompetent. Employees or colleagues who are consistently late for work or related events may be considered being incapable of handling the job. If a person cannot follow the clock, they may wonder whether or not he/she can follow other directives.
There are reasons why punctuality is important in the workplace. If time is not adequately observed, a person can potentially bring harm to his/her career and even get blacklisted. In many instances, a person’s ability to succeed in his/her career is directly linked to strong time management and punctuality.
Those who have an inclination to be late should think twice as they go about their daily schedule. Punctuality is, and should be, a primary consideration in the workplace. If not, there could be negative consequences.