my coworkers are annoyed when I’m 2-3 minutes late to meetings

A reader writes:

I am generally reliable and conscientious in my job, but sometimes I am slightly late to meetings. (Shock! Horror!) By slightly late, I mean two or three minutes. I work remotely, so these are all virtual calls, usually with video.

Frequently, at about two minutes after the start time, a coworker will ping me to ask, “Are you joining the call?”

This drives me bonkers. Is two minutes really such an inconvenience? Is it really enough time to suggest I won’t be joining? Couldn’t it be that I’m getting a glass of water or using the restroom?

Recently, I joined a meeting three minutes late, and there were several other people who also joined a few minutes after me. As I was logging in, I caught the meeting host making a snarky remark about why people were late. (“What the hell?” was thrown in there.)

I’ve been with this company for about eight months, and people are typically pretty prompt but can sometimes run late when jumping from meeting to meeting. So punctuality is part of the culture but not to an extreme degree.

Any suggestions on how to handle this or what to say when people make ungenerous comments?

So … I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ping you two minutes after the start time to find out if you’re joining the meeting or not. It’s a little on the fast end, but not to the point that you should take umbrage at it.

Because the thing is, you’ve got other people assembled and sitting there waiting, not knowing if they can start or not. In some cases it’s reasonable to just go ahead and start the meeting once they’ve got a critical mass of people there and others can catch up on their own once they join … but in other cases, if someone joins late, it means everyone else will have to backtrack and repeat what’s already been said.

There are workplaces where the culture is that meetings don’t start until five minutes (or even more) after the official start time, to give everyone time to trickle in. (But sometimes, although not always, that just means they’re waiting 10+ minutes before they start, because everyone mentally adjusts the time to X:05 in their head, and then gives themselves several minutes of grace after that.)

But more importantly, it seems like your workplace isn’t one of those offices. What your coworkers are telling you when they ping you is that you’re late and they’re waiting on you, and this isn’t an office that functions with that five-minute grace period — they want you there on time so they can start.

Obviously sometimes being a little late is unavoidable — you’re in a meeting that runs over and it takes a few minutes to extract yourself, or you have a bathroom emergency, or your meetings are packed back-to-back so tightly that being a little late is the only chance you’ll have to grab a coffee/use the bathroom/wolf down a sandwich. But if you’re able to join right after someone nudges you with a ping, I’m not sure that’s what’s happening here!

So the only real thing to say in response to annoyed comments is, “I’m sorry to be late” .. followed by a commitment to be on time if at all possible. And if you have the sort of schedule that makes that impossible, sometimes it’s useful to tell meeting organizers in advance that you’ll be a few minutes late because you have back-to-back meetings that day (or to tell the previous meeting that you have a hard stop so you can be on time for the next one).

{ 730 comments… read them below }

      1. Observer*

        Agreed. A sort of NAH situation.

        I think that this is not entirely true. It’s not that big of a deal that the LW is occasionally late. But their attitude *is* a problem. It sounds like they don’t apologize. And the indignation about being pinged is out of line.

        1. Hamster Manager*

          Yeah, the tude is the problem for me too with the sarcastic “shock, horror!” kind of comments. Like, it’s not hard to fire off a note like “just wrapped up my last meeting and gotta grab a quick snack, I’ll be there in 5 mins go ahead and start.”

          I find that as long as you tell people what’s happening, people mostly don’t care all that much if you’re late.

          1. sparkle emoji*

            Yeah, this sounds like a problem that could easily be solved with that type of proactive communication instead of assuming people will intuit that LW needed a snack.

            1. Em*

              yeah exactly… it’s super easy to write in the chat for the call “2 minutes sry” if you’re rushing to wrap up or need to pee or stretch or whatever.. Better yet, if you see you’re invited to back to back calls, you can reply to the invite “I’ll be joining this call x minutes late” to build yourself a buffer. Time management is a thing you’re allowed to do, even if you’re not tasked with scheduling the call.

          2. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

            Exactly. It reminds me of the idea of the two tokens in customer service (although I find this generalizable to all of life): the “it’s the end of the world” token and the “it’s not a big deal” token. Whichever token you take, the other person will take the opposite. So I find taking the “end of the world” one and apologizing profusely if I’m late or inconvenience someone always elicits the “no big deal” response, but here’s an example of what happens when you grab that “no big deal” token first.

          3. Common Taters on the Ax*

            Agree, the “shock, horror” comment really set me off; the OP is looking at this all wrong. Asking if you’re joining isn’t shock/horror and it’s not even particularly annoyed. Everyone got the same reminder pop up about the meeting and the other/most of the other folks joined on time, so the ping is to see if you’re really there and, if so, your ETA. If you were caught up unexpectedly on some other call or meeting, that’s your cue to let them know. If you aren’t even around, that’s good information for them to. And if you’re in the bathroom, apologizing when you join with something bland (or just sorry, running a bit late today) is the polite thing to do.

            But also…if you get your pop-up reminder and then wait until 2 minutes before to grab your water or run to the bathroom, you are probably being inconsiderate. Not that they’ll ever know or probably really care, because people are a few minutes late to meetings all the time, whether because of snacks, back-to-backs, or tech attacks. (Apologies for the compulsive rhyming.)

          4. Jess*

            This is exactly what I was thinking – that it’s not at all unusual in my office to get a chat from someone saying they’re just running late from another meeting, or are running to the bathroom or grabbing a glass of water. Sure, they might still be late, but it shows that the meeting is on their radar and they are being considerate.

        2. Jade*

          OP seems to feel entitled to be late. There is no reason to be late to a work from home meeting except rarely. It’s rude.

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            This was the vibe I was getting.

            I worked from home for a long time, and it was always annoying AF when people were late to meetings. The time was known to all of us. I got here on time, even though there were other things I wanted to do/could have been doing.

            When you’re late, you’re telling me you’re time is more valuable than mine. It’s rude.

            1. Worldwalker*

              You figure, if the OP is 3 minutes late, and there are 10 other people in the meeting, that’s half an hour of person-hours wasted waiting for the OP. One such meeting a day means two and a half hours wasted every week, just waiting around for OP to show up.

              When a meeting is scheduled, I take care of bio breaks in advance, and make sure my big Tervis cup is full of water. That way I’m not wasting other people’s time to take care of personal necessities.

              1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

                Yeah, in person when it’s understood you might be literally running from one end of the office to another for a meeting, it’s definitely understandable. I worked for a guy who was routinely 20 minutes late to in-person meetings, which drove me bonkers, but 5 or even 10 minutes would have been fine. When the pandemic started though, he and everyone else were precisely on time to virtual meetings, because you’re not moving anywhere. Unless you’re coming straight from another meeting, you plan your bio breaks in advance. Even then, it’s usually better to leave a meeting 5 minutes early for a bio break than arrive late. My new job is almost entirely telework and I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone be late to a meeting, and most of my meetings have 20-30 people.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            >There is no reason to be late to a WFH meeting
            Depends on how tightlys cheduled your company puts meetings and how bad the meeting organizers are about following agenda to end on time.

            I have too many days like today where I *must* sign off early or be late to the next call — days where meetings go straight straight from 8am straight through to 2pm with NO nature breaks scheduled between calls.

            (Today I’d scheduled myself 15 minutes after the call wtih the guy whose meetings always run late– and he took all of it and I hardstopped with him still asking questions.)

            If our OP is at a company like mine, it’ll require a sea change to fix the scheduling issues.

          3. Catherine*

            I’m more consistently late to WFH meetings because if my coworkers know I’m WFH they will stuff my calendar with back to back meetings, no bathroom breaks, and run overtime because they know I don’t need to move rooms. I’ve had to hang up on people mid-sentence to join my next meeting when they won’t respect my hard stop times!

          4. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

            Yeah, I am not a prompt person (or at least, I am not the sort who gets going quickly in the mornings), but I am always on time to hearings or scheduled calls or work meetings. If something is delaying me, I make sure the people who need to know are informed asap. So the attitude about the lateness being no big deal rubs me the wrong way.

            I would have liked a bit more information from OP as to why she is consistently 2 to 3 minutes late. If it is a case of back to back meetings and no time to get to the bathroom, I am surprised she did not mention it (she only mentioned that she could be using the restroom or grabbing water). And honestly, she makes it sound like she late every time, not just on occasion. I would like to know why this is a regular occurrence. Either way, I think she needs to realize that this is hurting her standing among her colleagues.

        3. Lady CFO*

          The poster’s attitude would be a real problem for me. It sounds like they are very often late to meetings and has no regard nor respect for the fact that others are waiting.
          Go to the bathroom and get a drink earlier.
          If unavoidable, send a note in the meeting chat that you’ll be on shortly.
          Just … be respectful of others.

        4. WarFace*

          Yes, this exactly! Additionally, LW KNOWS what time the meeting starts, so barring any extenuating circumstances, why are they waiting so close to the meeting start time for a water/bathroom break?

        5. Meghan*

          Yes exactly this. One of the other things is, while yes it’s remote so things can feel relaxed about trickling on, but also… it’s a remote meeting so some folks feel it’s insulting to be a couple minutes late to a meeting that’s “just a button click away”. Yes, we get wrapped up, have back to back meetings, need bio breaks etc. But that is something folks consider and if it’s habitual I could see OP being the AH for wasting “just two minutes” of people’s time regularly and then getting an attitude about being called on it.

          Our office regularly starts meetings on time and just says “when so and so joins” we will discuss other things, but I wouldn’t expect every office to operate like that…

        6. sweet christmas!*

          I don’t apologize for being 2 min late to a meeting either. If I have a meeting that ends at 10 am and a meeting that begins at 10 am there is no way I am going to be on time to the next meeting, and it’s kind of unreasonable to expect me to not be ~2 min late. That said, I work in a culture where being several minutes late to meetings is pretty common and very much accepted. We just assume that you were using the bathroom or your other meeting ran over or one of the other millions of reasons business people are late, and not because there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.)

      2. AnonInCanada*

        More like ESH. I get annoyed with people being late. You can, and should, excuse it once in awhile, but it seems this OP is making being late a “NBD” type of thing, and it’s annoying her coworkers. She should find the source of her being late, and make a concerted effort to nip that in the bud and be punctual, so her coworkers won’t be pinging her when she’s not there at precisely x:00 for the meeting.

        1. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

          100% agreed that ESH. Also Canadian, I wonder if that has something to do with our agreement?

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          I can’t agree, in particular because every time my boss has pinged me “are you joining the meeting” a couple minutes into a meeting I genuinely was not aware I was supposed to be in a meeting. Sometimes they are set without the notification or I guess sometimes if I have multiple meetings in a short time I dismiss one by accident or something.

          It’s a very reasonable question. And if you find people are having to ask it of you this regularly, then you need to be changing some behavior on your end–whether that is making more of an effort to not be late, or proactively notifying people if you will be late because you have back to back meetings and need to grab some water or something.

    1. Beth*

      I do think that video meetings tend to have more of an “on time” culture than in-person meetings. When I worked in office, there was an assumption that meetings would start a few minutes late–people need time to get to this conference room from their last meeting, whoever is leading needs a moment to pull up their powerpoint, someone might have been walking over on time and then ran into someone in the hallway who had a very quick question for them, etc.

      Now, working remotely, none of those are relevant. People do need bio breaks, of course. But there’s much more of an assumption that meetings will start on time–and if you’re not there and haven’t told anyone you won’t be there, then yeah, everyone is waiting on you. Just tell people you’ll be there in 2 minutes, so they know they can also take a sec to refill their water or use the bathroom.

      1. Wendy*

        I agree, remote work has really exacerbated this. I try to not ping anyone at 1-2 minutes but those are some long minutes while you are staring at the other people on your zoom screen. BUT they are super short minutes when I’m just trying to finish one more thing. I find that I’m pretty early when I’m organizing the meeting. And when I’m not, I will see my clock at 9:58 and think, OK, I’ll join after I finish this and then it’s 10:02 and I’m late!

        1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

          I do the same! So now I just join the meeting early and then work on the other thing, and then I’m always surprised when I hear voices going ‘ok welcome let’s get started’

          1. MigraineMonth*

            When I’m not coming from something else, I often join a meeting 5-10 minutes early, just to make sure I don’t miss the start time (and there are no connection problems).

            I had one regular meeting host who, when I joined 5 minutes early muted/video off, was certain that I was having technical difficulties. (Actually, I was eating and didn’t want to show the group my chewing.) She’d start saying my name and asking if I could hear her, she couldn’t hear me, etc. Every single week.

            1. Beth*

              I’m thrown when someone joins my meetings that early! I get the concept–in theory, it eliminates the chance of losing track of time for you, and has no impact on anyone else. But zoom at least will tell me when someone has entered my meeting, and once I’ve been alerted, leaving them sitting there alone feels rude.

              I wonder if your coworker is doing that because she’s feeling a similar awkwardness.

              1. Rainy*

                I see appointments, and the requirement is that we use the same zoom room for all our virtual appointments (there are very good reasons for this and they are not going to change, so “just make more meetings” is not going to happen, and wouldn’t be a good solution even if it was possible), and someone joining 15 minutes early runs a decent chance of busting into another person’s appointment. I have a line in my confirmation now that says “Please don’t test your connection or join meetings more than 2-3 minutes ahead of your scheduled start time.”

                1. Rainy*

                  Annnnnd…someone just joined the room for their appointment 7 minutes early. Luckily I’m coming from a different meeting, and have also started leaving more buffer time between appointments in general, but I get a notification when people join early.

                  My favourite is when they join early and then when I join on time, demand to know where I was and tell me that they’ve been “waiting ages for me”. That sounds like a you problem, buster.

              2. I Have RBF*

                I always join 5 minutes before the start, muted, because otherwise I’ll get sucked into something else and be really late or miss the meeting entirely.

                I always assume that the other people that join early are doing the same. and do not expect them to make chit-chat. So leaving them in silence is not rude. They are attempting to be polite by not risking delaying your meeting.

                I don’t join 15 minutes early, because that’s too much. But trying to get reminders at 2 minutes versus 5 minutes is a PITA, and trying to wait to join for a closer time is… virtually impossible. Also, if I have a problem, 5 minutes is usually enough to solve it, but 2 minutes isn’t.

              3. Nina*

                In a previous company, with people all over the place and in multiple time zones, the culture was to get your bathroom and water breaks done, join the meeting early (often way early, a senior coworker’s record was 2 hours), mute yourself, and leave it in the background while you finished your ‘one more thing’. The host got a notification when someone joined, and when everyone was there or it was the published start time, they’d say ‘okay let’s get started’.

            2. Anim*

              I also get a “the meeting has started” message when someone joins early, so I understand your colleague’s concern that joining early means something is off. it’s not a big deal, but for other folks scheduled wall to wall, seeing someone join several minutes early can be confusing and distracting.

              1. Spencer Hastings*

                Yeah. We use Teams, and I pretty much always wait for the “Person X has started the meeting” pop-up before I join — unless I’m the one leading the meeting, I don’t want to be the one sending that pop-up to everyone.

            3. Siege*

              Yeah, I have one meeting with external partners (retirees) who start the meeting 15 minutes early to chat, and one of them will text me exactly at 4:00 to find out if I’m joining. Which is like, if you want to start the meeting at 3:45, change the start time, don’t penalize me for the fact you join early. In fact, don’t join regular meetings early. I understand the motivation when it’s a conference session and you can chat with the other participants, but for regular meetings? Five minutes early is too early unless you’re actually finding that you have connection problems often enough to justify it. I can’t think of the last time I had one.

              For anyone getting the notifications, you can shut that off in Zoom. It was bugging me in the pandemic when we had an account on my email for the whole staff and I was getting notifications that someone joined 15 minutes early so our operations manager went in and turned off notifications.

            4. Kim*

              I think we’re showing our age, but I’m always early too. When “webinars” first started to come up, it was the common etiquette to log in 5 minutes early so you’re ready to start on time even if you have connection issues.

              One thing that does drive me crazy is the early people who have to greet everybody as they join. I’m on mute; leave me be. :)

              1. Wendy Darling*

                Oh my gosh, right? I didn’t join early because I wanted to chat, I joined early because now that the “meeting has started” notification has fired I can either join now or get distracted and join late! Please pretend I don’t exist!

        2. anne of mean gables*

          Yes I think you’re spot on – as a frequent organizer/hoster of meetings – 9:59 (when I join) to 10:03 (when the last person joins) is the longest four minutes of my life. I have no problem running a meeting but the forced small-talk/banter about the weather/whether Scott will join us/the relative merits of Zoom vs. Teams is excruciating.

          1. Kelly With A Why*

            Exactly this! I am not a very punctual person in general but I always join virtual meetings 5-10 meetings early for this very reason. If you have a reason to be late (previous meeting ran over, tech issues, whatever) that’s one thing, but if you’re late just because you’re not on time, that’s very annoying. If 2-3 minutes is NBD then why not take your bio break earlier rather than making everyone else wait?

            1. Worldwalker*

              Exactly. 2-3 minutes should be a lot less of a big deal for one person (the OP) than 10 people, or however many people are in that meeting. It’s not the lateness that bothers me so much as the entitlement: “Everyone should wait for me!”

            2. sweet christmas!*

              I just check my email or do some light tasks until the other person(s) get there. And the reason I didn’t take my bio break earlier is I was in another meeting.

              The real solution to this is not to schedule back to back meetings. Start them 5-10 min late. I schedule all my meetings to start at :05 and I rarely have this issue.

            3. MCMonkeyBean*

              Joining 5-10 minutes early is also weird imo. Everyone gets a notification that you’ve started the meeting and then they maybe feel like they are late even though they are not.

          2. daffodil*

            video conferencing makes small talk SO HARD. I think it’s that it doesn’t handle cross-talk so if two people speak at once or overlapping you just don’t hear anything. Fine for a meeting when you do want everyone to be heard and one contribution at a time, really ruins the tempo of joking around before a meeting starts.

            1. lazuli*

              Yes, exactly. Small talk with just one or two people is impossible, and it’s also weird to work on other things by yourself the way you could if you were in the room together, because you likely need to start at your screen to do the work and it looks like you’re staring at the other participants. It’s completely awkward to wait for meetings to start.

          3. The Rules are Made Up*

            I have a confession. I usually join meetings 2ish minutes late on purpose for that reason. I hate being the first or second one in a meeting, and our meetings aallwwaayyyss start with at least 5 minutes of chatter/small talk. Small talk with a few coworkers prior to a meeting is doable but one on one small talk with a coworker I hardly ever talk to but now we’re the only 2 in the Teams so far waiting on everyone else so now we have to say something to each other… gives me anxiety. But our office isn’t one where a few minutes late is a big deal and even with being purposefully 2-3 minutes late I’m never the last one to join. I’m also always a few minutes late to parties/social gatherings for this same reason lol.

            1. sparkle emoji*

              I think your second to last sentence is key. If the culture is ~5 minutes late, NBD, you’re fine. That’s not the case in LW’s new office and they need to adjust to that.

            2. Greta*

              My org mainly uses Google Meets. One thing I love about it is that it will tell you who has joined the meeting before you enter. I confess that I often see who’s there and decide not to join yet based on whether I wanted to make small talk with that person, or wait until there are small talk reinforcements.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                Hooboy I wish we had this at a previous job. Legitimately one of the top 3 things I hated at that job was joining a meeting and getting stuck making smalltalk with this one specific guy with a penchant for asking not-QUITE-inappropriate-but-real-close questions.

                Although I feel like it would have meant all his meetings started 5+ minutes late because no one wanted to be alone in the meeting with him.

            3. AnonORama*

              I join 2-3 minutes early if I can (I’m fairly tightly scheduled, but not usually in the “no bathroom breaks” league) and turn my incoming volume way down to avoid the weather talk, bad jokes, etc. I keep it low so it’s almost a hum, but I can still pick up my name if anyone says it, and I can hear the change in tone that means the meeting is starting. Sounds silly, but it’s definitely has reduced my irritation levels with the chitchat, and with the 5-minutes-late folks who increase the amount of time we have to spend doing it.

              (I’m actually fine with chitchat before or after in-person meetings if I don’t have to run. It bugs me to death in virtual meetings, though. Not sure why!)

        3. Zelda*

          “those are some long minutes while you are staring at the other people on your zoom screen.”

          I think this is a key insight!

          Everything else folks have said, about a late person delaying the start of the meeting for everyone, folks not knowing how long that wait might be, etc., is true, but also the *perception* of the length of the wait is exacerbated by the social awkwardness of being in the meeting without having the meeting agenda going on. Even without being on camera, it still feels like being in a really small space with each other– like boarding an elevator and standing in a circle facing in. When the meeting starts we can all turn to face the doors and quit focusing on each other, but until then, yup, those are some long minutes.

          1. CLG*

            Definitely. I think a big difference in the awkwardness level is that with in-person meetings, everyone who’s waiting can have individual side conversations with someone who’s next to them, etc. You can’t do that on video calls – it’s either one group conversation or sitting in silence. That makes the crowded elevator comparison particularly apt.

        4. Falling Diphthong*

          I think the Zoom screen is part of why this doesn’t default into “Meg and Harry chat about something, Ellen makes notes for her next project”: You don’t have the “Ah there’s Chris coming, we’re about to start” cue.

          So yeah, remote meetings I really notice each ticking minute after the start time during which nothing productive is actually happening.

        5. Totally Minnie*

          This is why I always set an alarm for 10 minutes before a virtual meeting. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to get to a stopping place on what I’m doing and go to the bathroom so I’m not late to the meeting.

        6. MassMatt*

          I think the message is the company has a culture that really prioritizes punctuality, or at least, has lots of people in it that do.

          There may also be an attitude that someone working from home can’t possibly have anything going on that would delay their availability for this meeting. It’s kind of a ridiculous attitude, but it’s sometimes the case.

          I wonder whether meeting likewise stop on time, and how many meetings LW has back to back? Three hour-long meetings between 9 and 12 leaves little room for error.

          I would try to build in any buffer time before meetings. Set your calendar for 5-10 minutes before to do whatever you need to do, and tell your 9am meeting you need to hard stop at 9:50 (or whenever) due to another obligation.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            My company does not particularly prioritize punctuality, largely I think because we are spread across multiple floors and have chaotic elevators. In general no one fusses unless it’s been five minutes.

            Except my one teammate. I have one teammate who pings me if I’m more than 90 seconds late to a meeting and it makes me crazy. Like, sometimes if I’m WFH it takes 90 seconds for Zoom to figure out how to connect to a meeting and that I do indeed have a microphone.

      2. chocolate lover*

        My experience has been the complete opposite! I don’t know if it’s because it’s easier to lose track in a virtual meeting or because of technical difficulties or any combination of things. I advise college students so there are a lot of student and other meetings and someone is always late.

        1. Greta*

          When I work with students I remind myself that they aren’t sitting in front of their computer for 8hrs straight, so they might not see emails or calendar reminders in a “normal” timeframe that I would expect my coworkers to. I had to remind HR of that when they kept sending emails to an undergrad student intern and then getting upset when he didn’t answer within the hour.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            I have one colleague who turns off the default 15-minutes-before reminder when she sends meeting invites, and there is no better way to ensure I am late to a meeting. I am fully dependent on that reminder to make sure I end up where I need to be.

      3. Smithy*

        In addition to everything mentioned – online meetings also have so many built in functions to let someone know you’re running late. For in-person meetings, someone might or might not have their phone or laptop available to receive a text/chat saying they’re running a little late. So even folks who would send the message that they were coming but running late, it might not be received or checked until that 5 min mark.

        I will also add that an eternal struggle on setting meetings and lateness is around how long the meeting should be, if that lateness is making it feel like as a struggle to adequately cover the agenda. If you know that people will inevitably run between 2-5 min late, then people are more likely to pad the time of the meeting. Which leads to pushback from others because why has the meeting stretched from 30 to 45 minutes. Because it’s hard to schedule a 35 minute meeting. You can try to split the difference and go from 1:05-1:45 – but it can go back to why you get people who do chase those who are 2-3 minutes late.

        1. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

          Agree, if you’re running 4 minutes late for an in-person meeting, texting someone would usually feel a little “much”. But if you’re two mins late for a virtual meeting (and are by the computer), you can IM them and it’s much less intrusive/dramatic.

          1. Working*

            also, someone arriving late at an in-person meeting is often visibly in the building. Threading their way through the open plan area to the merting room; their laptop is on the table; whatever.

            Whereas someone late for a virtual meeting could be anywhere.

      4. bripops*

        My workplace is 95% WFH and we’re very “three minutes late makes us wonder if a person is able to make it,” though it sounds like we’re a little more sympathetic than OP’s job. The thing is that people tend to have more meetings when working remotely, in my experience it’s because you can’t just stick your head in someone’s office a few times a day to ask questions, so it makes more sense to consolidate everything into a scheduled call. As a result starting 2-3 minutes late can make someone late for their next meeting, which then goes over, and there’s a domino effect for others to take into consideration.

        Like you said, for remote meetings people aren’t generally spending those first 2-3 minutes setting up/opening laptops/etc, so the optics of regularly showing up to meetings late, leaving people wondering if it’s worth starting without you or not, aren’t great. I think a little leeway should for sure be given for the occasional late arrival, but if I had one specific coworker who did this in a workplace culture where prompt start times were the norm, I would definitely feel like they didn’t respect my time.

      5. Frustrated Fundraiser*

        Yes, because nothing is more awkward than the first few minutes on Zoom before a meeting starts, with people either staring at each other or trying to make small talk.

      6. Turquoisecow*

        Agreed. When I was in the office, I’d be five minutes late and the first one there. And that was first thing in the morning, before any other meetings had backed up. If it was an afternoon meeting, it wasn’t uncommon for it to be delayed 30 minutes because my boss was in a meeting that ran late because it started late because the previous meeting ran late.

        Now, when we do virtual meetings, they usually start on time, maybe 2 minutes late if we have to wait for someone.

      7. Pet Jack*

        Right, its easier in online meetings when you are still in one, to message people in the other that you are running late or on your way.

    2. Antilles*

      I disagree. It IS a huge deal to be that late when it’s happening “frequently” and irritating co-workers enough to make snarky remarks behind your back.

      In a vacuum, two minutes late to meeting isn’t a deal. But if it’s happening regularly and clearly annoying your co-workers? You don’t want to get the reputation of ugh, waiting on Justin yet again, that guy is always late.

      1. Mztery1*

        I work remotely and have since the pandemic started and the culture where I work, is that meeting start on time. One new meeting I have to attend Started five minutes late last week and it really was a big deal.
        However, if you’re late because you’re going for meeting to meeting, I would explain that in advance and let people know what’s going on. If there’s any possibility meetings, don’t have to be back to back let people know that too.

        1. Anonym*

          Yeah, just let people know you’re running a few minutes late and to start without you. This is polite, probably in sync with this organization, and means they can’tv reasonably get annoyed with you since you’re not delaying anything.

          Be sure to tell them at least a few minutes before the meeting starts, too, for maximum effectiveness.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            Yes, if you know you have a meeting with That Person before this meeting, you can ping the organizer and say “my previous meeting could run a little long, please start without me and I will catch up”. Our department head does this all the time with meetings that he knows may run over.
            And I do agree that 2-3′ late, constantly, in virtual settings, is a lot. There is no “oh we’ll give 2′ because I know X is coming over from L location and it can take a few minutes” that you get with an in-person meeting. If you’re going to be late, you can ping someone! Even if you’re still in a previous meeting! Or even if you just want to grab a sandwich, you can say “I’ll be a bit late, please begin on time, but I have to grab lunch quickly before the meeting starts”. I felt guilty enough last week when I missed a meeting and got pinged about it, but didn’t respond because I had a migraine, so I didn’t see the message. I just apologized when I was back to work, but I felt really bad not being able to say “sorry I can’t join” or telling them beforehand.

          2. Kevin Sours*

            The problem is, in my experience, a lot of people will say “start without me” but then once they join insist on going over ground that’s already covered. Effectively starting the meeting late anyway but with an extra helping of people having wasted time they could have spent on other things while they were waiting.

        2. M2*

          This. If you have back to back meetings or are on a call explain in advance you might be a few minutes late and they can start without you.

          That being said I dont like when people are late to meetings and when meetings run late, it is a peeve of mine. Some people drone on and on even when you say thanks for that point we need to keep moving along. A couple minutes late infrequently isn’t a big deal but it sounds like OP may be late more than occasionally. To me that isn’t respecting other peoples time.

          I am the person running meetings who ends 5-10 minutes early almost every time because time is valuable. I have run meetings that ended 15-20 minutes early. People are really appreciative if you respect their time. Short and sweet people!

          Also, if you don’t have back to back meetings and WFH there really shouldn’t be a reason you’re late. You gotta use the bathroom? Schedule it before your meeting time. Need some water? Same thing. Stuff happens and I get it, but doing it frequently isn’t going to look good.

          1. I Have RBF*

            You gotta use the bathroom? Schedule it before your meeting time.

            Schedule using the bathroom? LOL!

            No, seriously, I try this, but with IBS it can go from zero to butt-clench urgent in under a minute. I actually have to be careful what I eat or drink for the entire day before a meeting just so I won’t have to make an urgent dash to the bathroom.

            It must be nice to have a body that lets you schedule your bathroom breaks.

        3. Nina*

          A way a previous workplace got around this – when there was that one person who always had back to back to back meetings – was that Sasha joined when he could, and left when he had to, and whoever was taking notes for the meeting would take them in the chat for the meeting so Sasha could see them when he got there. Anything in the agenda that he had to be there for would be slotted into the very middle.

      2. umami*

        Yes, it’s more of setting a trend of being the one who is always joining late. Just because other people might be a little later doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least attempt to be on time more often than not. OP’s framing is that it’s ‘no big deal’, but it’s just no big deal to them, not to the others on the call. Like you said, you shouldn’t want to be ‘that’ person. It doesn’t matter what is OK at different places; there are indications that it’s not OK at this workplace.

      3. ClaireW*

        Yeah exactly this – I’m occasionally a few minutes late to a meeting because I’ve been trying to wrap up a higher priority conversation that I couldn’t just interrupt, or had another meeting overrun, or yeah it was my first chance for a bathroom break all afternoon.

        But the important aspect (in my opinion) is that it isn’t happening for every single meeting. If I’m running a few minutes late and that’s rare, people generally give me some grace and in return if I can, I’ll message the team or the meeting owner to say I’m running late.

        If I or someone on my team was consistently late, and *especially* if it was pretty clear that they could have been on time and just didn’t consider it super important to bother, then yeah I’d be annoyed and be pinging them because I don’t have the amount of emoty time in my day to waste waiting around for others.

        1. Tio*

          Yeah one thing that I noticed is that it seems fairly consistent if they’re getting this annoyed by it, but also OP has only been there 8 months? That’s a pretty short time to be getting a reputation for being late. And if they’re not fairly high up (they may be, idk) then it’s not a great look.

          1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

            I actually don’t see any sign that people are annoyed AT the LW. They’re pinging to ask if she’s joining, which is normal, and the one comment she mentioned was on a day when multiple people were late for the meeting, so it wasn’t a comment about her, specifically. I think she’s being a bit prickly thinking that pinging her is some sort of passive aggressive commentary rather than people wanting to get their meeting started.

            1. biobotb*

              Yeah, I think the LW is the one getting annoyed — but if her coworkers have pinged her about her lateness often enough that she’s already annoyed about the pings… it kinda seems like she’s late pretty often.

              1. Anna*

                Agree. They’re just asking if you are joining– trying to be helpful in case you forgot about the meeting. If you take it personally, that may be an indicator that you are the one with the problem.

                1. Indigo a la mode*

                  Yeah, I have absolutely been in the situation where I’m just working in the zone and a coworker’s helpful “hey, you coming?” ping at 10:03 (or whatever) has saved me from totally missing a meeting. This is especially the case if it’s a meeting that’s outside Teams for some reason so I don’t get the “meeting has started” toast on my screen.

      4. Betty*

        Yeah, I work remotely and this would be really annoying to me if a colleagues was almost always 2-3 minute late (for context, I’m in a small org, so our calls are generally 2-6 people). Everyone is late occasionally– Zoom always seems to force an update when I’m joining just at the start time of a meeting– but totally agree that this is what the real-time “hey, wrapping up another call and it’s going long/I’ll need a minute before I join this one” message is born for.

        One thing to consider is that a lot of people object to lateness because it suggests that you think your time is more important than the person you keep waiting for you. If you give people a heads up that you’ll be there in 3 minutes, they can go grab a cup of coffee/send a quick email/take a stretch break. If you’re late and don’t give people a heads up, literally all they can do is stare at the screen and wonder if they should start because you’re not joining, or make small talk to kill time until you join, etc.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          I do think people should be on time, but I can send an email and take a stretch break (camera off) while I’m waiting for a Zoom meeting to begin.

      5. Kaboom*

        I agree. What are you doing that you can’t be on time? Unless your previous meeting always runs over, you don’t have an excuse. Everyone else shouldn’t be sitting there for 5 minutes waiting for you all the time. It’s rude and inconsiderate. And the way the letter is written comes off like someone who doesn’t care about others time.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Even if your previous meeting always runs over that’s a problem you should be solving. Setting up your schedule so it’s impossible to be on time for things is bad practice, not an excuse.

      6. Tegan Keenan*

        On a previous team, we had a morning check-in meeting that was only supposed to last 10-15 minutes; mostly virtual, but sometimes in person. The manager thought the meeting was great, but everyone else was annoyed by it. One team member showed up 1-2 minutes late almost daily. If I was running the meeting, I just began at the start time. But the manager would wait for him. The coworker’s lateness incensed everyone and set the stage early on for his reputation as self-centered and unreliable.

      7. KTC*

        Agreed. I also look at coworkers who are habitually late as bad time managers. Schedule meetings for 25 minutes, 50 minutes, whatever makes sense. Block your calendar for a 15 minute break in the middle of the morning or afternoon so people don’t schedule you when you know you’re going to need lunch/bathroom break, etc… When back to back meetings are unavoidable and people are still talking at the end of the meeting, watch the time and at 10:58 say in the chat “Thanks for the time, have to join another call” and drop/join the next call. If you’re still actively in the meat and potatoes of a conversation at 10:55, suggest you stop to be respectful of everyone’s time and schedule a follow up call. Active calendar management can fix this!

      8. Mr. Shark*

        I agree. The issue is that if everyone is 2-3 minutes late, you don’t know if they are going to show up. Now it seems like a lot of people just don’t show up to the meeting, and that interrupts everyone’s day for no reason if you schedule time for a meeting and people don’t show up.
        I know it’s only a few minutes, but it does get tiring that people are showing up late.

    3. TheSockMonkey*

      No, you need to be on time. On time means you’ve signed on and allowed time for technical difficulties. Unless it’s a webinar or something where everyone will be muted anyways, coworkers are telling her to be on time

      1. Lydia*

        “Allowed time for technical difficulties” is one of those “leave early enough in case there are issues” suggestions. What time is appropriate? Do I give it half an hour early just in case? What if I sign in early, but I have technical difficulties until after the meeting starts? Should I have signed in an hour early?

        It’s not useful to suggest someone log in early in case there are technical difficulties. If someone is consistently late, they need to address that. If someone is late on occasion because of things they couldn’t predict, everyone can deal with it.

        1. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

          I think it is useful though, and analogous to allowing time for traffic. 3-5 mins allowing for the kind of technical difficulties that might occur frequently (weak wifi or slow connection) is reasonable. If tech problems delay you by 30 minutes then obviously that’s an unpredictable and singular circumstance that you don’t have to build in to your cushion.

          Same with allowing for rush hour traffic vs. allowing for a massive collision that stymies traffic for hours. Just because you can’t and shouldn’t allow for the latter doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for predicting and allowing for the former.

        2. goducks*

          This is one of those things that there’s no right amount of time, it varies by how critical the meeting is. Your analogy to traffic is correct, but just like traffic you need to consider all the factors. If you’re headed to a job interview, you give yourself enough time that no matter what happens, you’ll get there on time, even if that means you sit in your car for 15 minutes before heading into the interview. If it’s just a random Tuesday in the office, you leave yourself enough time to get to work on time considering for typical traffic on a Tuesday morning.
          Same with virtual meetings. If this is a critical meeting where you need to be on time and showing your maximum professionalism, you log on with enough time to reboot your application or laptop if something’s not working. If it’s just the weekly team check in where chit-chat happens for the first 5 minutes, maybe you don’t need to log on prior to the start time, it will be ok if you have techincal difficulties.

        3. Gemstones*

          We’re talking about a Zoom call. Just log in one or two minutes early. If something goes wrong despite that, it’s not the end of the world, but making it a habit of logging in one to two minutes early doesn’t seem like it’s all that hard.

        4. Allonge*

          But if you regularly have technical difficulties joining, as a lot of people seem to, you plan for THAT.

          This is the usual excuse of ‘there is no way to guarantee that I will be on time 100%, therefore I am allowed to be late all the time’. Do your best, which includes taking note that Teams takes 5 minutes to launch as opposed to the 1 minute of Zoom.

    4. Jenna Webster*

      I actually don’t think they need to ping you, nor do they need to back up and reiterate what you missed. That way, no one has to be irritated – you can show up when you want and their time is not wasted waiting.

      1. Twix*

        But this often isn’t an option when you need everybody who’s supposed to be at the meeting to know the information you’re sharing. At least not without causing different problems later. At my job, at best this would mean somebody wasting their time later going back over the information with whoever wasn’t there at the beginning of the meeting. At worst it would mean somebody making a major technical mistake in our product because they weren’t aware of some important detail that the rest of us had discussed. Sometimes that kind of thing is unavoidable (e.g. when someone is out sick), but it’s not a realistic way to operate in general.

      2. Zelda*

        “nor do they need to back up and reiterate what you missed.”

        Depends very much on the size & purpose of the meeting. If it’s a big departmental/all-hands meeting and one of the rank & file misses the introduction of new hires, they can get the notes from a friend and no one cares. If it’s four people and the purpose is to report to each other on information that you all specifically need, then that purpose cannot be accomplished until everyone is there. LW refers to “several” coworkers, so this is sounds like more than four people, but if it’s small enough for anyone to even notice one person missing, then it’s small enough for it to matter that LW isn’t on time.

      3. Worldwalker*

        If they don’t need to reiterate what you missed, then there doesn’t need to be a meeting in the first place.

        The fact that there is a meeting, and you’re part of it, indicates that there is information you need to know, or input you need to give.

    5. Lea*

      Exactly. I ping my boss occasionally if they aren’t on a meeting when someone has asked for them just in case they have forgotten

      There are different kinds of meetings too and sometimes a key person has to be there.

      You can also send a chat with a ‘running late due to x be there in five’ so no one worries

    6. sparkle emoji*

      And if LW’s office has a culture where pinging to check if someone’s coming is the norm, I also think it would be fine to proactively ping someone in the meeting to let them know you’re on your way and they can start without you.

    7. linger*

      A simple calculation for OP: “3 minutes late” may not sound much for one individual, but needs to be multiplied by the number of people waiting to obtain the person-hours lost. More than 20 people waiting on OP = more than 1 hour wasted.

    8. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      This. Yeah, two/three minutes is NBD, but a quick “hey are you coming” is also NBD. I know I have a pattern of snoozing the five-minute calendar reminder and then getting caught up in what I’m doing so that I miss the actual notification. If I am running late in another meeting, or know I’ll need a quick break between, I’ll post to the Slack channel if it’s a team meeting where we have one or otherwise to the organizer saying something like “running a few minutes late, go ahead and start without me”. Not hard.

    9. Also-ADHD*

      It’s a big-ish deal to be late sometimes, depending on if the meeting can start without you or you’ve communicated. (And if it’sa habit like it sounds like it is here, where you’re often keeping people waiting.) I find it really disrespectful if someone is usually late to meetings where we can’t really start without them. I don’t care if it’s not one where that’s the case, but that’s 3 minutes longer I’m in the meeting in some cases because I was on time and could get out earlier if we finish.

    10. Happily Retired*

      For the discussion about logging in early -> leading to small talk (I lost the original post on this thread):

      For a Zoom or whatever mtg, I log on 7-8 minutes early and post a message in the chat box: “Hey all, I’m here; muted, no vid; see you when the mtg starts.”

      I’m logged in (avoiding tech problems), they know I’m there (no “Where are you?”), and with my announcement of no vid/ no sound, no one expects me to make chit-chat.

      This seems really uncomplicated to me. Am I missing something?

  1. Sam Brown*

    Like Allison says, some offices a 9:00 meeting means it starts at 9:05, and at some offices it means that everyone is trickling into the waiting room at 8:55 so the meeting can start at 9:00 on the dot. It sounds like your office is the latter.

    1. Kyrielle*

      We get 15-minute reminders, and most of us snooze them and show up at 5 minutes to, but some of my coworkers just pop into the meeting at 15 minutes before. Whereupon Teams notifies all of us that it has started. But this is for a weekly informational meeting for a group of something like 80 people. The presenter is going to start right on the dot, assuming approximately the right number of people are in. Every minute delay is wasting a *lot* of people’s time.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        This reminds me of an in-person meeting we used to have in the before times where there was one guy who fancied himself smarter, more reasonable and more appropriately skeptical than other people, but really just seemed to want to make other people his dancing monkeys. He’d ask ridiculous questions about have we disproved an unrealistic negative, and I used to sometimes look around the room and try to calculate the price of the question because it was filled with middle managers and high-level staff.

        1. Babanon5*

          In one of my first jobs there was a higher up who would literally say “This [topic] just cost us $200 to discuss” – it was kinda rude and I don’t recommend it. But ALSO it made everyone much better at having tight agendas.

          1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            Haha I’ve seen people write add-ons using estimated salaries for the meeting attendees (usually the midpoint of the range at the company for their title) to calculate the cost of holding a meeting. Makes people think twice about whether they really need to invite all those people, even if they do decide their precious meeting can’t possibly be an email. Not a good look in your case where it’s coming after the fact from a higher-up, but in the planning stages it can be a good reminder that meetings have a real cost.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              I once worked on a big data collection project where I helped one of the managers do the math for how much it cost us, per minute, to run the project. Including *everything* — staff salaries, hourly employee pay, equipment, facilities, everything. It came out to double digits per minute.

              I had previously had a tough time getting my colleagues to treat our data drives with the reverence they deserved, but they turned it around after someone took a drive out of the cradle without ejecting it and I went, “THE DATA ON THAT DRIVE COST US TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!”

              Fortunately the drive was not corrupted. No one ever did that again.

    2. Lorac*

      Yes, it’s very dependent on office culture. I worked at both those types of offices and you just have to adjust to it.

      I went from a “show up at 8:55 to start at exactly 9” office to a “show up at 9, but the meeting starts at 9:05” office and my boss criticized me for wasting 5 minutes standing around doing nothing.

    3. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I agree. My office is the kind that joins virtual meetings at 2 minute before the official start time; and in-person, we are there 10 minutes early because we’re big on snacks at meetings. If someone key to the agenda knows they will be running late, they send a chat/slack/email to give their estimated TOA, that way we can proceed without them. If the OP is getting up for coffee or toilet, knowing that she has a meeting in 2ish minutes, just send a ping to them first “need to step away for two minutes, start without me” or “caught in another meeting, can we push this 15 minutes?”

    4. TG*

      I get it but I also had to realize if people are waiting and I was always 2-3 minutes late it could become a thing. So I try and be on calls on time to be consistent.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      My current company calls it [Company Name] Time. No one’s trying to be late, but meetings run over or clients call or you desperately need to wrap up a project that was due an hour ago before your computer rebooted in the middle of your save.

      If you’re not there by 5-10 after, someone might send an “is this still a good time?” ping if they haven’t heard from you, but if I started pinging people right at the bell, it’s going to be very out of touch with organizational culture.

      And, especially with virtual meetings, I will often take that late time to work on something else that’s on fire. I don’t do a lot of staring at other participants and awkwardly talking about the weather, and neither do they (or, even better, I get five minutes with the person I need to run something by and it saves me a call/email).

  2. SoloKid*

    1) Send a message to the organizer before hand that you will be 5 minutes late.
    2) Change culture at your company to end 5 minutes early. (Or in the first meeting, 5 minutes before it ends say “I need to get some things ready before my next meeting so I am hopping off a bit early.”)

    1. SoloKid*

      For whatever reason, Alison’s last paragraph didn’t show up for me. Maybe I scrolled too quickly and thought the answer ended a paragraph early – sorry for the echo.

      But yes, it does feel annoying to have to start 2-3 minutes late!

    2. Tio*

      Yeah, if you’re running behind or the meeting is running over, it’s not terribly hard to send a quick ping to the meeting runner letting them know you’re going to be a couple minutes late. It’s not that weird for them to wonder where you are if you’re late

      1. ThatGirl*

        This is my suggestion.

        For smaller meetings especially we try to start on time, it’s not a big deal if your last meeting is running over or you need to run to the bathroom, but it IS good practice to let someone know if possible.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          And you can let the earlier meeting organizer know that you need to leave X minutes early to get ready for your next meeting.

          Also, my experience is that signing into an online meeting can take longer than expected. I try to start that process a couple minutes ahead of time.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        This is what we all do at work. It feels rude to leave someone waiting to start a meeting, so we’ll generally send a Teams message to the effect of “Sorry, previous meeting is running late”. Especially if it’s with a client, it can be hard to force an end in the middle of a conversation. But then, I’m of the mindset that early is on time, and on time is late.

      3. Storm in a teacup*

        This is the culture at our company too and it’s incredibly rude to show up late and especially without pinging to let them know.
        I say this very guiltily as I’ve been 5-10 mins late to 3/4 of my zoom meetings today as I’ve got workmen in and it’s thrown off my schedule.
        I’m so mortified by it!
        Also if I know I have a back to back meeting I always leave the first one 5 mins early and let the host know from the beginning I have a hard stop. Additionally when I schedule meetings they’re for 25/55 mins not 30/60.

      4. Hills to Die on*

        I love my coworkers who end the meeting at 950 / 955 or whatever. We all need those extra couple of minutes to run to the restroom or refill water. I am going to try to start doing this more actually.

    3. Littorally*

      Changing culture is probably a bit much, but otherwise cosigning your suggestions. Ping the organizer if you know you’ll be late, and if you’ve got back-to-back meetings hop off a little early.

      My office’s environment is we start on time — it’s usually a big deal if we have to wait a whole minute after the official start time, because the expectation is that people log in before the meeting starts. But the flip side of that is that it’s extremely normalized to say “Hey, I’ve got a 12 o’clock, I’ve got to dip” at 11:50 or 55, and no one thinks anything of it because we know you’re expected to be on and ready to roll at 12 for your 12, and our meeting organizers work very hard to make sure that meetings end on time; it’s rare for a meeting to run over, and if it does there’s an understood carte blanche for anyone who isn’t the presenter or organizer to leave when they need to.

      1. Spearmint*

        I find this interesting, because I don’t see why, in a vacuum, being 2 minutes late to a meeting is more rude than dropping out 5 minutes early, and yet most people seem to consider the latter to be way more acceptable than the former, even though dropping off 5 minutes early means you’re missing more time than joining 2 minutes late!

        1. Colette*

          Because if you’re 2 minutes late, you have a room full of people waiting for you. If you leave 5 minutes early, they aren’t waiting.

          1. Lydia*

            Unless you’re the presenter, if a room full of people are waiting to start a meeting until absolutely everyone is there, that’s not really a good way to run things, either.

            1. Colette*

              Sometimes it’s not about everyone being there, it’s that there is no point in having the meeting if key people are not there.

              And sometimes it’s about making sure everyone has the same information as a base (so that you don’t have someone miss the intro and take up a ton of time with suggestions that have already been rejected, for example.)

            2. Trippedamean*

              It depends on the type of meeting you’re having. I’ve frequently been in collaborative meetings where having even one person show up late means their particular expertise will not be represented if the conversation starts without them. Or introductory meetings where it’s important that everyone get to say who they are and hear who other people are. Presentation meetings are not the only meetings.

          2. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

            And because the last few minutes of almost any meeting is way more skippable than the beginning. Wrapping up vs introducing the important info.

            1. fueled by coffee*

              And because if they know you’re leaving early, they can prioritize the information you need to have for the time you’ll be there. If you’re arriving late for an unknown reason, it’s hard to shift content in the same way.

            2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              That really depends. A lot of meetings start with intros or small talk and end with action items, in which case the end is more important. Know your culture and your meetings!

        2. Mostly Managing*

          I think it’s because when you bow out early people know why – you can communicate “it’s been a blast but I have to go”.
          If you are late, with no communication, people have no idea if you are late, sick, forgot…

          Generally, people consider communication to be more polite than non-communication.

          1. Allonge*

            This. Also, if a meeting is supposed to be ending in five minutes, it’s likely to be in a phase where not everyone is needed – it’s just Q&A, it’s one last clarification, saying good-bye, oh, are you on holidays next week etc.

        3. Charlotte Lucas*

          The meeting should be wrapping up at that point, so it’s not as likely that the attendees will miss anything important or that information will need to be repeated. (If they were on site using a conference room, they would probably be packing up for the next meeting that will be held there or to physically get to their next meeting space.)

        4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

          I think it’s the uncertainty. If someone tells you they’re dropping five minutes early, you know exactly what’s going on. At minute one of the two-minute-late person you’re wondering if they’re going to be two minutes late or five minutes late or forgot the meeting ever existed.

          1. KateM*

            I was as a very junior person in a daily occurring call, and my direct supervisor was late at least 95% of cases, and I was pinging him all the time like this… because as I was the one who worked closest with him, *I* was the one whom the Boss asked if I knew where he was! And he was a nice guy, just overwhelmed with private life, but I got very, very tired of apologizing for him not being there *again*.

        5. Dust Bunny*

          Because if a meeting runs over, it’s the fault/problem of whoever is running it, and the person running the next meeting shouldn’t be punished for it.

        6. Jaydee*

          I think because whatever is happening in the last few minutes of a meeting is often less important than what happens in the first few minutes. Usually the main things are first on the agenda (whether there’s a formal agenda or not) and the end of the meeting is Fergus droning on about why he disagrees with using teal cover sheets for the TPS reports and then the meeting organizer saying “welp, we’ve only got a couple minutes left…” and summarizing everyone’s “homework” and then everyone looking at their calendars to schedule the next meeting.

        7. Bagpuss*

          I think it’s more disruptive to be late – partly as others are awiting for you, partly as there’s often more that needs everyone to be there . In a meeting where you don’t already know each other, the start is when introductions etc. are done, if it’s an internal meeting it’s often at the start when you are either jumping right in or determining what the main issues are that need to be discussed.
          Often the last 5 minutes may be wrapping up, just confirming what’s already been discussed, or addressing any queries or clarifications, so unless you are the person running the meeting , leaving is much less likely to be an issue or to affect others

        8. Antilles*

          When you’re 2 minutes late, your absence has a clear and visible impact on others: The meeting doesn’t start and everybody is sitting there just waiting and knowing that it’s because Andy is late.

          When you leave 5 minutes early, your absence has no impact on others, because the meeting just rolls on.

        9. atalanta0jess*

          Because you can say at the beginning – “just a heads up, I have a hard stop at 1:55” and then everyone knows that you-specific items need to be addressed before then.

        10. Peppermint*

          Right? I’ve always had back-to-back meetings during the pandemic and besides bio breaks, sometimes I need a stretch break, or a brief minute to clear my head, or a few minutes to hop from Teams to Zoom or whatever. I’m shorting someone on time either way.

        11. Littorally*

          Basically, because no one is leaving the most important information until the last 5 minutes in the meeting, but if there’s something urgent, it’s going to be the first thing addressed.

          Dropping out 5 minutes early can mean missing the last question in a Q&A, or it can mean missing the “hey everyone, remember next Monday is a holiday and don’t schedule things” reminder, or it can miss the meeting entirely breaking up. It won’t mean missing “Okay guys WE ARE RESCINDING POLICY X EFFECTIVE TODAY.”

    4. Greymalkin*

      If your organization uses MS Outlook, I believe there is a setting you can toggle, so when you create meetings, they end a few minutes early by default (so a 1hr meeting will go from 10am to 1o:55am, instead of 10am to 11am). If there is one person, or a small group of people who are frequent meeting organizers, you may want to ask them to start using this feature so people who have back-to-back meetings have a few minutes of reprieve.

      1. Silence Will Fall*

        We defaulted to 25 and 50 minute meetings as a team and it’s been a game changer. We rarely start a meeting late and we end early more often than not. Something about the shorter time makes people much more efficient in delivering their info.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, my organization does this now, too. It’s great. Sometimes we have brainstorming meetings that are scheduled for 2 hours, and those have a 5-minute break in the middle.

          Granted, I don’t have a lot of meetings in my position, if I have more than 5 meetings in one week I think it’s a lot, but some of my teammates can have more than that per day. I get anxious just looking at my manager’s calendar because her schedule would drive me crazy in a few weeks.

          We have a number of recurring meetings, and with those you can send a message into the meeting’s chatroom on Teams if you’re running late.

          This hasn’t been a problem in my organization, because people who are running late tend to be very proactive about telling the rest of us. Our meetings tend to start with a few minutes of small talk anyway, and that eliminates a lot of the frustration when other meetings run long and people are a bit late.

      2. yet another celiac*

        I hear this, but I was previously part of an org where “ends at 10:50” was “tacit permission to run until 11.” It’s complicated.

        1. mlem*

          Yeah, literally no one in my organization pays attention to the putative end time set by Google (which is the scheduling suite we use). It’s not as if Meet pops up an alert that you should be done now.

    5. umami*

      Yes, if I know I have a meeting following the one I’m joining, I automatically type that into the chat. Just a quick, ‘I have a meeting at X time, so I’ll be signing off a few minutes early’ always works.

    6. Ally McBeal*

      This. I frequently act as a project manager at my client services company and I am grateful every single time someone says “hey I’m running late, be there in 5” or “I know I’m a couple minutes late to this meeting, would it be rude if I joined now/should I get a recap from you afterward?” It’s not hard – if you’re the one that’s late, you should be the one to bear the extremely minor inconvenience of messaging that and apologizing for it.

    7. DrSalty*

      Option #1 will solve this problem. Just ping someone on IM and proactively tell them you are coming from another meeting and will be a few minutes late. You can even add they should start without you (if that’s true).

    8. Pizza Rat*

      Change culture at your company to end 5 minutes early.

      One of my previous jobs did that and that’s how I run my meetings at my new position. Zoom fatigue is real and people should have a minute to use the restroom or get a beverage between them. Or, if in person, time to get to another conference room on another floor.

      That job also tried to implement No Meeting Fridays, which didn’t work completely, but did cut Friday meetings by about 75%. It cut a lot of people’s stress because they felt they had time to get some work done.

    9. ExpatReader*

      This is what we recently did in our team – all meetings end at X:55 so people can actually use the loo/get a tea/move from room to room (if in the office)/have 5 mins to stare at the wall/etc. It’s helped a lot.

    10. ariel*

      I agree with both of these suggestions. OP, I’d be very annoyed with other people’s annoyance, but I’m often the last person to a meeting, whether it’s virtual or in-person. I rarely get pinged (people can tell from the meeting planner that I’ve accepted so I think that halts most questions) but if I were, it would probably be a wake-up call to figure out how to be on time in order to avoid their pings!

  3. Justme, The OG*

    As someone who is chronically on time, yes it is an inconvenience. As Alison said, unless it’s unavoidable like another meeting runs over, be on time. Get your glass of water 5 minutes before meting time. Someone griping publicly in the meeting about people being late is uncalled for, though.

    1. Llama Lover*

      As someone who is sitting in a call on time hungry or needing to take meds/use the restroom, it drives me crazy to have meetings start late. It’s just really disrespectful. Also it seems like OP might be a regular offender if they’re pinging them so quickly. Like, maybe take a look at that before anything else?

      1. Liz*

        Agree, I thought it was telling that in the first sentence, OP said “sometimes” they are slightly late for meetings, yet by the third sentence, it was “frequently … a coworker will ping me.” Assuming “frequently” means more than a handful of times, OP may be minimizing their lateness.

    2. Budgie Buddy*

      “Chronically on time” – very apt to describe the feeling of “wait so the time we said is NOT the time everyone actually shows up??? Arghhhh”

    3. Kathleen*

      I work in a team where the meeting starts on the dot, within an org where meetings start at :05.

      Recently we had an external trainer giving a course and in one of the sessions he started complaining at :59 that people hadn’t joined. his training was in part about how to work with different types of customers and their various company norms!! He also suggested that we replace email with video clips, so it was all quite strange.

      1. Lock*

        “He also suggested that we replace email with video clips, so it was all quite strange.”

        …what? What does that mean?

    4. Coyote River*

      The army taught me that early is on time, and on time is late. OP is demonstrating a lack of respect for her co-workers and their own commitments, as her tardiness may potentially create delays for them down the track. It’s just rude, IMO.

  4. Leah K.*

    This usually happens to me when people schedule meetings back to back with absolutely no break in between them. It was mildly annoying when we were working remotely, and it took me 30 seconds to run to the bathroom between meetings. It is even more annoying when we are in person, and I actually have to walk from one meeting room to another with a full 5 minute detour to get to the closest bathroom. I really appreciate people who schedule a meeting to end 10 minutes before the top or the bottom of the hour. It gives me a much needed break to do normal human things.

    1. But Not the Hippopotamus*

      I had the opposite experience. When in person, people would naturally take a couple minutes to walk into the room, etc. and it was expected that you were coming from someplace else (often another meeting)… so punctuality was sort of within 2-3 minutes. Now with zoom-style meetings, sometimes I see people going “are you coming?” when my computer hasn’t even clocked that it’s meeting time (I’ll be in the meeting and THEN the notification happens)! The error for being considered punctual got really small since “you’re already there.”

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        One thing I like about Teams vs Zoom (unless Zoom has this feature and I haven’t noticed) is the pop up notification when someone starts a meeting. That usually helps me gauge if I have a little grace to finish the email I’m writing or grab some water.

        I am extremely prompt and get frustrated when people are 3+ minutes late because it usually pushed the pre-meeting chatter back another 2+ minutes and now we’ve lost a big chunk of our 30 minute meeting, but I am less frustrated if I can have a way to manage those expectations like a notification.

        1. SarahKay*

          We moved to Teams from Skype and for me one of the few (very few!) redeeming features of that change is the little pop-up that Teams does saying “X has started the meeting” and the option to simply click that notification to join.
          When I was hosting Teams meetings I’d start the call two minutes early because that pop-up often worked as a trigger for the habitually late to join the call and would get them there on time.
          And yes, for my workplace two minutes late on a Teams meeting is definitely late and holding everyone up.

      2. nona*

        AND! Sometimes people’s computer clocks are off by a minute or two. (I mean, it doesn’t seem like they should be, but it happens). So my 10:00 is someone else’s 10:01 or 10:02 so, I’m joining on time for me, but “late” for them.

      3. Coverage Associate*

        Same re even computer clocks being maybe 30 seconds off. (I know my phone is 15 seconds fast compared to my work computer.) I had a video conference with a client where my laptop was on the slow end, and then it took several seconds to connect, and in that time the client sent an annoyed email to me and my boss. I joined the meeting at a minute past per my computer.

        And to those who say I should have tried to log in sooner, well, read everything here about back to back meetings and important calls that come 3 minutes before and connection hiccups. Also, our system won’t let you join more than one video conference at a time, so you have to log out sufficiently in advance to account for all the above.

        And in law, the client can compare how much time I bill for the meeting with their records and other people’s in the meeting. If I spend 5 minutes conscientiously logging in early and not taking calls or dealing with email (basically, the waiting around others are so annoyed with, but planned), I don’t get paid for that time. Those 0.1s add up.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      This! My desk is one of the furthest ones from the bank of restrooms in my office. Even if someone ends a meeting 10 minutes before the top of the hour, I may still be strapped for time to be punctual for the next one. If being 2 minutes late means that I’m not sitting in pain because I need to relieve myself, then I’m going to take the chance to go to the restroom!

    3. Lucia Pacciola*

      “This usually happens to me when people schedule meetings back to back with absolutely no break in between them.”

      In that case, probably all LW needs to do is send the meeting organizer a quick “I’m going to be a few minutes late to this meeting; please start without me” message.

      1. Emily*

        Or to the other meeting organizer, “I’m going to need to pop out a few minutes early to run to another meeting.”

  5. Talk is cheap... please have exact change*

    Sorry, OP… but as someone who is usually sitting in conference rooms (virtual or otherwise) waiting on the person who is often 2-3 minutes late, it’s pretty annoying and disrespectful. I would like to think the time/schedules of the others in the meeting are worth more than that.

    1. Youngin*

      I agree. And it sounds like they are late often enough that this would be annoying to me. I agree that sometimes being late is unavoidable but that should be like once a quarter not every single meeting.

      1. Anonymous 75*

        Yeah I’m curious as to how often this happens. I know they say “sometimes” but that can be a pretty wide window. Are they doing this every other meeting or like once every couple of months? The latter is going to get a lot more leeway than the former.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          As is relative position. I know my boss is usually going to be five minutes late. I don’t LIKE it, but I’m not going to make a federal case over it. A peer, I might say something casually if it becomes a habit. Someone who reports to me I’d probably want to address it.

          1. Waiting on the bus*

            Ha, yes. If I’m lucky my boss is just 5mins late. Usually it’s closer to 10-15mins. He also tends to get caught up in tangents so meetings usually run over.

            When someone schedules a meeting right after I have a meeting with my boss I’ll let them know I’ll probably be late so they’re not left wondering (and can decide to reschedule if they want. My boss is notorious for overrunning meetings).

        2. Blue*

          Yeah, the fact that they’re 8 months in and already seemingly getting this a lot points to it being fairly frequent. But I guess I also don’t know what OP’s schedule is like and if they have a lot of back-to-back meetings without sufficient break time, I’m which case this is more excusable, but they still should be letting people know that they’ll be a couple minutes late.

          1. Kiki Is The Most*

            I agree, and if LW’s colleagues are already a bit annoyed, then I was wondering if LW might need to organize their time differently to make sure they have breaks, communicate appropriately to mtg lead/colleagues so that they are not waiting, etc. However, I wonder if LW could ALSO approach the late arrival with a “just start without me and I will catch up when I join” approach (even though we do not know if that is even a feasible option if their input or attention is required at the start of the mtg.)

        3. ursula*

          I thought about this too. I wonder if the LW is doing it more frequently than they realize…. I’ve found it’s easy to underestimate how often you are doing something like this. I had a job earlier in my career where I often showed up a few minutes after the official start time, if I was delayed in transit or getting a coffee or whatever. I genuinely thought I was only doing it “now and then,” ie a normal amount, until a manager called me on it and demonstrated that I was doing it 2-3 times per week. I’ve seen other people fall into this pattern, too, so I think it’s a thing!

          Also: the asymmetry of information is a factor here. You (late person) may know you will only be 45 more seconds, wrapping up the thing you’re finishing, no big deal, but the people waiting for you have no idea whether you’re just logging on, running 10 minutes late, or not coming at all. That’s part of the communication issue, I think.

      2. umami*

        It seems that it is happening enough that the meeting organizers’ solution is annoying to the OP. The easiest fix is … don’t log in late. Maybe log in and then go to the restroom or whatever, but at least everyone knows you are on the call.

        1. amoeba*

          Hmm, that would be even more annoying to me? If/when I see the person in the meeting, I’ll assume they’re actually there and try to, you know, talk to them, either smalltalk or actually start. If they’re unresponsive, I’d normally assume they’re having technical problems or something.

          I’d just write in the chat “sorry, will join in 2”, “need 5 minutes, sorry” or “meeting ran over” or “need a short bio break” or even “do you mind if I quickly get a coffee?”, depending on the type of meeting and people I’m meeting with. This way, everybody knows when to expect me and at least in company, people seem to be fine with this approach (or rather, everybody handles it that way).

          For me it also depends a lot on the meeting – I have very relaxed and informal weekly one on one with my colleague which we often move around or are late to (with message if it’s more than 2-3 mins, of course), and nobody minds. Other meetings I’d definitely feel bad about more than 2 minutes delay.

    2. lilsheba*

      Yup I agree. Especially with virtual meetings, you should be spending the 10 minutes before start to take care of getting coffee/restroom/whatever. That’s what I do and I am not late to any of these meetings. It’s possible to just not be late.

      1. Grey*

        Right. Sometimes you can even join the meeting then get your glass of water. Stepping away from your screen for a minute is less offensive than being late as it’s assumed you’re nearby and can still hear the discussion.

        1. Dona Florinda*

          This is what I do. If I’m not presenting, I’ll quietly step away and do my thing whilst still listening to the meeting.

        2. So Tired*

          The whole time I was reading this letter, I couldn’t figure out why OP didn’t just…join the meeting and then step away to get a glass of water? Or join, mute, and set their headset aside to run to the restroom.

          Honestly if you know you have a meeting in a few minutes and you really need a bio break or to grab a snack or a drink, it can mitigate a lot of annoyance to join first, say “Hello, I’m just going to step away for a quick drink/snack/bio break, but I’m here and ready to go for the meeting!” and then mute yourself and do what you need to do. That way people know you’re attending but that you just need a moment. It’s such a simple solution to this problem. Obviously it won’t work if you’re truly held up in a previous meeting, but if that’s the case then either 1) excuse yourself from that meeting by saying you have another meeting you need to join now, or 2) send a ping to the host of the second meeting and let them know you’re going to be late because a meeting ran late and you can’t leave early. And then immediately join the second meeting before going to get a drink/snack/whatever you need. Rather than keep them waiting further.

          1. amoeba*

            Hm, that probably depends on the org, but it would be very unusual here. If you don’t say anything, then people would be very confused why you’re there but unresponsive – and if you do explain yourself, I’d be like, why did you not do that before the start? Or, sure, go ahead, but why join first?

            In our org, you just write a quick message in the chat if you need more than 1-2 min, problem solved.

            1. So Tired*

              To me, hearing that in 8 months the LW has developed a reputation as the employee that’s always late means they need to do *something* to show people that they can be on time. If that means joining and then stepping away, then so be it. Not every solution would work for every office/team/etc. But any of these options would be vastly better than their current thing of just not showing up and not saying anything, since that’s very clearly a problem for their coworkers.

              And quite frankly, I wouldn’t question someone who came in said “I am here, I just need to grab a drink/snack/etc.,” because it really doesn’t matter why they didn’t do that ahead of time. Maybe they were on a call with their boss and had to hurry off. Maybe they got caught up working on a project for a client and wanted to make sure they were in the meeting when it started. There are many reasons someone might join a meeting and then step away to take care of something small before it actually starts, and really it’s none of my or anyone else’s business, as long as they’re on time to the meeting.

      2. Nugget*

        I think the op said they have back to back meetings sometimes. They don’t have a free 10 minutes before their next meeting to prep.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Yeah unless they really are booking all these meetings back-to-back, I feel like if OP is late most of the time, that’s an OP problem and not a company culture problem.

      If it is a scheduling issue, maybe OP and colleagues could make a suggestion to build in a hard stop a few minutes early to give people time to change over, pee, etc.

      1. sparkle emoji*

        Yeah, if the culture really is one where back to back meetings are constant I’d think there would be more people logging on late. Maybe there are– it sounds like LW was one of many late arrivals at the snarky comment meeting– but if not, LW should see how others are handling this.

    4. giraffecat*

      Also, it’s very common to sign in to virtual meetings a few minutes early in case of technical issues, etc. So, that 2-3 minutes late may feel more like 5-8 minutes if people have been logged in a few minutes before the start date.

      1. ElizabethJane*

        Is it very common though? I work at a fully remote company and have between 2 and 5 meetings a day. I sign in to those either 30 seconds early or right on time because at this point I’m not expecting technical issues.

        For a unique webinar or something like a job interview I’d absolutely check ahead of time but I don’t think people are really worried about tech issues if they are at a fully remote company.

        All that being said – I don’t think pinging someone who is 2 minutes late is that outrageous. OP probably needs to recalibrate their expectations.

        1. giraffecat*

          I suppose this could also be differences in workplace culture. In my workplace, it is absolutely common for almost everyone to log in to virtual meetings a couple of minutes before the start time.

          1. ElizabethJane*

            I could definitely see the expectations/workplace norms thing.My current company actually is a late company (norm is show up 2-4 minutes late). I’m almost always the first to sign in to a meeting.

            I find the “sign in early for tech issues” specifically interesting. Am I weird that at this point I just take it for granted that Google will behave as expected?

            1. Lydia*

              I think it can go both ways, but I don’t think punishing someone (even by commenting on it critically) is fair if there are technical issues. Those are things beyond a person’s control.

            2. mlem*

              I assume Google will work and Zoom won’t. (We sometimes have to use the latter for outside parties, and we always try to remind each other to start Zoom early because it’ll probably need to take an update.)

              1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

                Teams has been a nightmare for me all week. We screen share on Teams and do the call on Zoom (I don’t know why!) and I’ve had technical issues every day. I’m the host. Signing in early doesn’t always help; Trams just gives up midway through presentations at the moment!

                I start on time whether you’re there or not (I run training events) and I don’t tell you what you missed and let you disrupt the meeting further by apologising! Message me if you’re running late, I’ll catch you up later, but I hate it when a delayed meeting is further delayed whilst someone catches up the late people on what they missed – why did I go to the effort of being on time?!

            3. Yorick*

              I use Zoom infrequently and it often needs to update and reinstall itself, so I need to sign on about 5 minutes early so I won’t be late to the actual meeting. People absolutely still need to adjust for those sorts of technical issues. I agree with you that otherwise I don’t feel the need to sign in 15 minutes early or anything like some instructions say.

          2. amoeba*

            It’s definitely an org culture thing! I generally join as soon as the Teams notification tells me the meeting starts (so, right on time) or, if it’s a larger meeting which I’m not leading, I might wait until the little “XY has started the meeting” window pops up.

            It’s very unusual for that to happen more than, say, two minutes before the official start time, and then you often see it happen multiple times in a row (because somebody joined, saw nobody was there yet, and left again). I actually feel quite pressured if I’m still finishing something else/enjoying my coffee and somebody starts the meeting early, so I try to avoid that and not join before the actual time!

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I used to do that when video meetings were newer, but today I intentionally do not because too many times I’ve entered a meeting that wasn’t wrapped up yet. It’s awkward and potentially inappropriate, and since my colleagues are often in meetings literally all day this isn’t a rare issue. And if they are using a waiting room, I don’t want them getting pinged that I’m waiting until it’s time. My being early shouldn’t create a problem for them. (I believe being early is as much of an imposition as being late, though, so this reflects my general POV.)

        There are ways to prevent this — unique meeting links, waiting rooms — but I don’t control their setup. So I just wait until meeting start and join then.

        1. amoeba*

          Huh, interesting! Didn’t even know there were setups that don’t use individual meeting links. Yeah, in that case, joining early could actually be really annoying, you’re doing the considerate thing.

          1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

            Yeah, in my org most of use our personal link. We can set it up differently but many of us don’t. And it played out today — I was in a meeting that was running over, and the next group arrived before we wrapped up. They weren’t even early, we were just running long and it was the same host & link for both meetings. It’s not ideal.

    5. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I’ve always assumed that if a meeting starts at X:00, that means I’m expected to be in the room/logged in, with whatever supplies I need, ready to go by X:00, not just starting to gather my stuff and head to the conference room/find the link. Sometimes I get held up, but not that often.

    6. Clara*

      Yeah, the fact that they wouldn’t see people flagging this and think “oh I should let them know if I’m going to be a few minutes late and they should start without me” was a little eyebrow raising.

    7. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      This. Many of us make it a point to get their early and be ready to go when the meeting starts. While it’s okay to be late every once in a while if it’s truly unavoidable, to be chronically late is to be discourteous of other people’s time.

    8. RWM*

      Also if some of these meetings are only 20 or 30 minutes, it’s even more irritating, because you really don’t have that much time.

    9. short'n'stout*

      And the people already there might not even know that they will “only” be waiting for two minutes until OP actually arrives. For all the other attendees know, the OP might not be joining the meeting for ten minutes, or not coming at all. That’s a decent chunk of time wasted that they could have used for any parts of the agenda that might not need the OP’s presence.

    10. Manglement Survivor*

      I feel it is very disrespectful to be chronically late for meetings. And I feel it is even more disrespectful when the meeting leader says something like “well let’s give it a few more minutes before we start so that everyone who’s not here has time to arrive.“
      Why should those of us who are on time have to sit around and wait for people who are late? It’s really irritating, and I feel like those of us who are on time are being disrespected.

    11. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and one fell out*

      If every meeting can start five minutes late, then every meeting can end 5 minutes early. The same amount of meeting time is held without disrespecting the time of those who didn’t just come from another meeting.

  6. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

    It’s not a big deal to be a min or two late sometimes, but just give a heads up.

    I work remotely and every

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Oops glitch…anyway:

      Working remote does give some flexibility but also if meetings start late because I’m waiting for people to join, then there is a chance the meeting will run long, which causes a snowball effect. Do your best to be on time, let people know if you need a few minutes, but don’t get offended if people ask where you are either. All of it is totally normal.

    2. RIP Pillowfort*

      I think what’s missing is “hey I’m going to join in 5 minutes” heads up.

      We often have meetings going back to back and it’s understood that someone might need 5-10 minutes. So just say you need it and that they can start without you.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yup, the simple solution is to just ping the organizer that you need a couple of min before the meeting starts. Then they know you haven’t forgotten that the meeting is happening, which is why they’re pinging you in the first place. (Now, if they were pinging you exactly 20 seconds after mtg time AS YOU’RE SIGNING INTO THE MEETING, like my grandboss likes to do to me, sure, that would be worth being annoyed about.)

        If the problem really is that you have a lot of back-to-back meetings, then definitely let those involved know ahead of time that you might be late or that you have to stop early to get to another meeting. But if you are only late because you think it’s okay to be a couple of min late, you might need to reset your thinking. Seems like your colleagues really want to start on time and given that the mtgs are always on Zoom or Teams and you don’t have any travel time between physical locations, I think that’s a valid feeling for them to have.

        If you lose track of time while working and that’s why you have to be late to these mtgs (because you need a quick break before the mtg starts), can you set your calendar to remind you 15 min before the mtg starts? That way you can take your break and also be on time to the mtg.

      2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        This really does matter. OP knows they are going to join but no one else does. People do forget or get caught up in something, so pinging them within a few minutes of the meeting start is normal. I can’t wait forever to guess what’s going on.

        I also think OP is taking the ping as if they are upset, and likely they aren’t. Most people who work remotely understand sometimes you’re running behind. They just want to know. If it is most meetings you’re late without a heads up, I can understand coworkers getting frustrated to always have to ask OP.

        1. umami*

          Yes to OP thinking someone is upset. It’s completely normal to double-check that people are still planning to attend. I can see how the organizer of the OP’s latest example might have been a bit exasperated by several people logging in late, but also, some of them may have already mentioned they would be late. IOW, don’t worry about what others are doing – if the issue is either signing in on time or letting someone know you are running late, then do one of those things and let that exasperation be directed at someone else.

    3. Dys*

      If your company uses Outlook, you can also set your calendar to automatically prune a small amount of time off the end or start of meetings you book. I give myself 5 mins so that there’s enough time to wrap up, quickly grab a drink, or just get organised for the next meeting.
      It helps a lot and I’ve started to see lots of others using this functionality as well. Could be worth a try?

  7. starsaphire*

    Definitely learn to be proactive with “Need to Drop” one or two minutes before the hour in previous meetings, just to give yourself the time to refill your water glass and be on time for the next one. Learned that the hard way.

    If that’s not the issue, can you try getting your Outlook reminders to be more persistent? I have mine set for fifteen minutes (which gives me enough time to run to the loo, get some water, and get my notes together) and at 5 minutes and again at start time.

    In some companies, of course, timely starting is no big deal; in other companies, it’s a huge deal, so the culture of your workplace may be different than what you’re used to. Something to think about, for sure!

    1. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I agree. I, and other’s I work with, will sometimes give a head’s up at a start of a meeting if they have another meeting that immediately follows. Usually will mention they will need to drop out a few minutes early. Most people seem okay with something leaving a meeting early over someone showing up late.

    2. Aitch Arr*

      “Can you try getting your Outlook reminders to be more persistent? I have mine set for fifteen minutes (which gives me enough time to run to the loo, get some water, and get my notes together) and at 5 minutes and again at start time.”

      Came here to suggest the same.

      I really need those reminders or I will keep working into the meeting time.

      1. Bear Expert*

        I’ve changed mine to ten minutes and two minutes, because I firmly believe in my heart that emails take 5 minutes, when they really take 7.

        At 2 minutes though, if I’m not in another meeting, its time to open up the reference material and shift into meeting gear and join the meeting. Being 90 seconds early and in the correct headspace is better than 2 minutes late and still thinking about the email I may or may not have just hit send on.

        Meetings I run are all the “fast” setting – 25 or 50 minute defaults, and I stick to it. I can’t do much for other people’s meetings other than leave when I have to though.

  8. Melissa*

    You ask whether 3 minutes is a big deal and the answer is, Yes, as your coworkers are clearly communicating to you. They’re waiting on you, and they’re annoyed by it, so they ping you.

    1. Teach*

      100%. Also, while they’re waiting, they don’t know that it’s going to be 3 minutes, because you haven’t told them. It could be 15 minutes, or never. That’s why they’re asking.

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        This. For me (both giving and receiving) the ping is more “making sure you didn’t forget about this meeting because we’re not in the office and can’t see that you’re just grabbing a drink/walked into the restroom/wrapping up a convo with June Who Talks Alot and are on your way” and less “you’re late”

    2. SarahKay*

      And if OP responds to their co-workers with any of the irritation and scorn shown in the letter to us, that’s probably not helping their case either.

      1. umami*

        True, a cavalier attitude about this is not going to help the OP. It’s clearly an issue. OP doesn’t have to agree that it should be an issue, but the only person being harmed by acting like it’s no big deal or like it’s an irritation to be pinged when only a few minutes late (which …. is late) is OP.

      2. Storm in a teacup*

        Agree especially as OP says they’ve been there 8 months meaning they may well be quite new to the team.
        Sounds like in this particular office, it’s important to be on time and OP is out of step. Her colleagues are feeding this back to her and she needs to see it in that light.

        1. Samwise*

          Especially when I have been new to a job (a year or less), I am very diligent about crossing t’s and dotting i’s: on time to meetings, ready with all materials, reviewed reports ahead of time, finish assignments early if at all possible, etc.

          Right now OP is building a reputation as “That new person in Llama Security who is *always* late” (even if it’s not always — irritation at the inconvenience means people will remember it as worse than it is)

      3. Jennifer Strange*

        This. It would be one thing if the OP seemed like they recognized their own part in this and was trying to communicate when they’d be late, but it’s pretty rich of them to call out someone else’s snark when their letter is dripping with it.

    3. OrdinaryJoe*

      Yes, that’s really what it boils down to. Different groups, different companies, different managers … all different expectations. Clearly with this group it is a big deal and they are telling you. The fact that you join just after the ping I think also gives the message that maybe you’ve just forgotten (even if that’s not the case) and their ‘reminder’ spurred you into action.

      My group and company’s culture is very much … If you’re not early (2-3 minutes), you’re late.

    4. sparkle emoji*

      And maybe they aren’t even always annoyed(the person who made the snarky comment clearly is but who knows about the other instances). What for sure is happening is that they’re communicating that expectations are to be on time or let them know you’re coming late. LW won’t get pings if the meeting organizer already knows what’s going on.

    5. Raida*

      Yes, hah.

      I like that LW is asking if it’s important – mate, you’ve already been shown it’s important by the people impacted, do you really need to dig your heels in here and ask an external entity if those other people are wrong?

    6. N C Kiddle*

      We don’t even know that they’re annoyed, except in one example. They could just be asking, “Hey, should we wait for you or just go ahead without you?” and LW is assuming annoyance where none exists. But either way, it seems like a very simple fix to say, “Be with you in a couple of minutes,” ideally before they get to the point of pinging.

  9. MsSolo (UK)*

    Our culture is very “start time is start time”, and also “people may get pulled into more important meetings without notice” so if you know you’re not going to be there within a couple of minutes of the start time you ping someone in the meeting to let them know. And 90% of the time it’s because you’ve got back to back meetings and need a break, but it respectfully signals that you are in and you are planning to come (or that you’re trapped in a meeting with a more senior person and everyone else might as well log out for another 20 minutes, minimum). When people don’t reach out in advance it’s usually because they’re off sick and their manager hasn’t clocked the meeting in their calendar.

  10. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    As someone who runs meetings for my philanthropic organization, 2-3 minutes late means the meeting starts late. Which means it goes later than planned.

    2-3 minutes ocassionally, not a big deal. 2-3 minutes all the time, a big deal. It’s inconsiderate to everyone who managed to be there on time.

    1. Colette*

      What tends to happen is someone is 2 minutes late, so you wait for them … and then the rest of the people think “Oh, this meeting always starts late” and start coming 3 minutes late” and it snowballs.

      1. goducks*

        And then that lateness snowballs when the meeting host allows a few minutes for everyone to trickle in, and then about 5 min past the start realizes that someone still isn’t there and needs to ping them to join because they actually did forget the meeting, and eventually it’s nearly 10 past by the time all the stragglers and forgetters are rounded up and present. That’s a significant chunk of an hour long meeting!

      2. Momma Bear*

        This is kinda what happened at my company until it was made very clear to be on time, at least to those meetings.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Also let me add, you’ve been at this company 8 months. You don’t have the capital built up to be consistently late to meetings unless you are an absolute rockstar that everyone in the industry is trying to hire. As others have noted, your coworkers — who do not know you that well yet — dont know if you are about to log on or just forgot the meeting the entirely.

      You are still fairly new, OP. You want to be known for the quality of your work. You do not want to be known as the person who is late to meetings.

    3. atalanta0jess*

      I don’t really understand this one. There’s nothing magic about the intervals we typically schedule meetings for. It doesn’t make sense to me that you’d have exactly the amount of business needed for a 1 hour meeting such that 2 minutes off the beginning means 2 minutes must be added to the end.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        It’s the same amount of business. So yes, if it is going to take an hour, then if you start late, you end late. I actually schedule these meetings for 45 minutes, in the evening after everyone has been working all day. We just want to be done. So if you are late, you are keeping everyone else from ending their day and being able to relax.

      2. Oryx*

        I have one meeting on my calendar that consistently fills the entire 60 minute timeslot. If people are late, we can’t start on time and we still have to get through the same amount of information. So either the meeting runs over or speakers have to truncate what they talk about so the meeting ends at the designated time.

  11. Richard Hershberger*

    These being virtual meetings might actually exacerbate the impatience. In person, you are sitting around the table shooting the breeze while people come in. In a virtual meeting, you are sitting awkwardly, staring at the faces of you and those already in, with idle chitchat not really facilitated by the format. It is a bit like sitting at a red light. It seems interminable even if it really is quite brief, because you can’t really do anything else with the time but sit and watch the light waiting for it to change.

    1. kiki*

      Yeah, as a host 3 minutes can feel suuuuuuper long and a bit awkward when you’re just staring down the void of a Zoom screen.

    2. Daniel*

      Came in to the comments to say just this!

      Three minutes never felt like that big of a deal for a face-to-face meeting since the folks who got there on time can at least make small talk, but virtually, you get nothing. Especially after people gradually got more conscientious about using mute when they weren’t talking.

    3. Phony Genius*

      Yes, it’s different with virtual meetings. The problem I have with that is that I am often required to attend back-to-back meetings. My virtual setup for remote days takes longer to connect to a meeting than my in-office setup, due to extra steps. So if the first meeting finishes less than 2-3 minutes before the next one starts, I will likely be a couple of minutes late for the second, and they’ve already started.

    4. Pottery Yarn*

      Agreed. In-person time discrepancies can be chalked up to an inaccurate wall clock, but your laptop and phone should all be synced up to the right time. I have a lot more grace for in-personal lateness than I do virtual lateness as a result.

    5. ecnaseener*

      Yep. And then of course there’s the fact that in person, people understand that you have to actually walk to the meeting room and you might be stuck waiting for the elevator or whatever. For a virtual meeting, the expectation is that it takes 10 seconds to join once your calendar pings you (and 10 seconds to message someone to let them know if you’re running late) so there’s less of an excuse.

    6. Fushi*

      Yeah, my company shifted from a “start at least 5 mins late as people trickle in” culture to a “start exactly on time” culture when we all started working from home. In addition to not really needing the buffer for physical movement like we did before, it just feels weird to start chatting into the void not knowing whether the other attendees are going to manifest mid-sentence lol.

      I haven’t seen anyone annoyed that a participant is late – we’re all juggling a lot and stuff happens – but we do tend to start pinging them about 2 minutes in because if they actually did forget and are absorbed in something else, it will probably take til the 5 minute mark for them to hop on anyway.

    7. Allonge*

      Definitely! Not to mention everyone has a clock right in front of them in a lot of computer setups, so the ‘two minutes late’ is less of a feeling and more of an objective fact.

      1. Ranon*

        My company tries to keep the idle chit chat going even virtual but it does mean someone has to start it! But I do think it’s good to maintain that interaction even virtually, helps to humanize folks, build relationships, etc.

      2. mlem*

        Same with mine. We don’t lose the ability or instinct to chat just because we’re doing it into a camera. (But we made deliberate choices to foster chit-chat early in the pan, to encourage team cohesion.)

        1. Malarkey01*

          What’s different is that everyone has to participate in only 1 conversation. When we’re in a conference room 2 people at one end might be talking about the last meeting, 2 other people might be talking about where to go for lunch, and 2 others might be having a side conversation about an upcoming project. On zoom we’re all listening to Bob and Harry hold forth on last night’s game or their weekend plans or what they need on a project.

          I’m fine with a little chit chat it just feels much less productive online.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            This. Also, the frequent phenomenon of two people starting to talk at the same time, then stopping, and finally sorting out who will speak next. This is what, to me at least, makes the format so ill-adapted to casual conversation.

    8. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I have the opposite situation, if a virtual meeting starts late I can ALWAYS be doing other work, but if an in person meeting starts late all I can do is chit chat (or talk about other work) but I’m usually left feeling a bit more annoyed at the in person lateness because I had to disconnect from whatever I was working on and move physically to a conference room where now I’m a captive and unwilling audience.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        True, but the calculus is different when you’re a meeting attendee rather than the person who is running the meeting. You can do other work, but the facilitator is there to run the meeting, so they’re not getting anything done as they wait for you.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yup. The person running the meeting being five minute late means I can knock a couple of quick things off my to-do list. No one cares if you mute/turn your camera off until the show starts.

    9. Lola*

      That’s a good point.

      Of course the other side of it is that I can continue to work on what i’m doing on my computer, catch up on emails, etc., until the meeting starts.

      If I’m in person I’m might just be sitting around.

  12. Vaca*

    Yeah, if you’re not senior enough that the meeting will wait for you then you’re not senior enough to be late. Join on time. If you’re going to be late shoot a note to the organizer. But don’t be late in general. Senior people shouldn’t have to wait on you because you want a snack.

    1. I AM a Lawyer*

      This is a good point. Our very senior folks show up late to virtual meetings regularly. It’s pretty accepted with the assumption that they’re all busy or coming straight from another meeting.

  13. Llama Llama*

    I want to prerequisite this by saying I am late to meetings sometimes (back to back to back to back meetings suck):

    It’s rude to be late to a meeting and you are making other people wait for you and wasting their time (even if it is just 3 minutes). Sometimes you can’t control it but it’s still rude.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      I agree. I had a supervisor who was late to every meeting, even the ones she set herself, and then would aggressively stop the conversation and make someone catch her up to speed. So so rude and the power dynamics made it much worse.

      1. Pizza Rat*

        We might have had the same boss once. Did they also push in and ask what the purpose of the meeting was even though it was in the agenda?

        1. Unkempt Flatware*

          Nailed it. She also set meetings with no agenda and a vague title and then would turn to me at the start and say, “okay take it away UF!” and I’d stare at her awkwardly until she got the hint and conducted the rest of HER meeting.

  14. sam_i_am*

    I hate when people are late and don’t message to say they’re running behind. It makes me feel like they don’t respect my time. Meetings already cut into working time enough without dead time at the beginning.

    1. HappilyJV*

      This absolutely. By being 3 minutes late, you’ve declared that it’s okay for my time to be wasted (especially if I have made it a point to leave my prior meeting on time as not to cause issue for the next one) and that clearly whatever you’re doing is more important.

      If you’re a Google-using company, there’s actually a setting under “Event Settings” for “Speedy Meetings,” that books 30 minute meetings as 25 minute meetings and longer meetings by 10 minutes less. If you want to get in the habit of having time to get up between meetings, it’s a nice setting to have that forces you into small breaks.

      1. Ailurophile*

        Microsoft has something like this, too! You can choose “end early” or “start late” to give breaks in between meetings. It’s helpful when your entire team uses it, but if you’re the only one (unless you control most of the meetings), it’s not that useful.

  15. kiki*

    2-3 minutes late is pretty normal and not a huge deal (especially because meetings run over, sometimes you have to run to the bathroom between meetings, etc.). But it’s also polite, if you know you’ll be running late, to ping the meeting organizer.

    On meeting lateness, I’ve found that now that I have many meetings per day, I’m more lenient and understanding when other folks are late. I assume that they’re also running between 10 different meetings per day and barely carving out time for a bathroom break. But I work with some folks who only have one meeting per day and they’re always confused how somebody can be late for a virtual meeting.

    So I think different experiences can inform how you react to lateness!

    1. tiny*

      I’m amazed this isn’t a more common opinion in the comments! Although I guess the people who have lots of back-to-backs are not browsing blogs.

    2. blu*

      I think the weird part here, and probably what is coming across to her colleagues, is she seems annoyed and baffled that someone would ping her. I have back-to-back meetings most days and if I don’t proactively tell someone I’m running behind then I don’t get annoyed if they ping me to ask if I’m still coming. I’m guessing her attitude of “what’s the big deal/get over it” is coming through loud and clear to her peers. I also have a VP who is always late to meetings because he is back to back (I proactively block off the timeslot after him because I know we will usually run long), but he still acknowledges his lateness when he joins, he doesn’t behave like he isn’t joining late.

      1. biobotb*

        Yeah, I think the problem is less that LW is late, and more that she’s inconsiderate and can’t be bothered to give her coworkers a heads-up.

    3. PurplePeopleEater*

      I also find that clocks tend to vary by 1-2 minutes even on a computer. It can totally be awkward to wait, but I haven’t found that everybody’s watch is synchronized in a day full of virtual meetings.

    4. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      How many meetings definitely factors in, as well as who those meetings are with. I was two minutes late to a meeting this morning, because the prior one was with a prospective client and no matter how much you try to manage that, if they’re still talking cutting them off is not a great idea. Luckily I was the least important person on that call and could drop at that point — others could stay and continue the conversation without being rude

      I am nearly always the first one on, and my bosses are nearly always a few minutes late. They are a lot more important than me! They are in meetings literally back to back all day, and generally with the highest level execs and clients. They only have so much control plus they are human beings, so i don’t love it but it’s totally understandable.

    5. sparkle emoji*

      I agree that 2-3 minutes occasionally isn’t a big deal but can see how it would be frustrating if it was an all-the-time thing. I’m curious if LW might coincidentally be running late to meetings with one group which could exacerbate things, or if it’s random.

    6. Critical Rolls*

      I think a big missing part to the picture is what OP’s schedule looks like generally, and what’s causing the lateness. If her schedule is very meeting-heavy, she may have less control over her timeliness. But I would kind of expect that to be mentioned in the letter. Instead, OP just seems entirely dismissive of the idea that it matters whether she’s on time. And she’s baffled that anyone would ping her after two minutes, despite it happening multiple times. It seems like it isn’t typical of her work culture to be late to virtual meetings, and she is resistant to adjusting to the culture even to the extent of a courtesy notification if she’ll be late. We all have our pet peeves, but the attitude in the letter is going to hurt her in ways she doesn’t seem to recognize.

  16. Lucia Pacciola*

    Alison’s advice is spot on. The only thing I would add is that if you’re dealing with back to back meetings and need to carve out a couple minutes in between, it’s probably enough to just ping the meeting organizer at the end of the preceding meeting: “Hey, I’m going to be be a couple minutes late, sorry!”

    Also, I’m a little curious about what your manager had to say, when you raised this concern with them. Whenever I’m feeling out of sync with the norms of my team or org, I find my supervisor is usually the source of truth for what’s expected, and has good advice for how to adjust my approach.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Lucia’s second paragraph is a really good point. I wonder what OP’s manager has to say about OP’s lateness, but also I wouldn’t bring it up with your manager, OP, because I think you can tell from Alison’s response and all the comments here what the correct actions are. Asking your manager would be a little odd (“Hey Manager, is it okay that I’m 2-3 min late for all my meetings?”) and I don’t think you need to do that.

  17. Sara*

    I’ll be honest, it drives me crazy when people are late. I’ve been told I’m annoyingly on time to things, so it might be a me problem in general but two to three minutes when you’re just sitting and waiting feels a lot longer. It doesn’t feel long when you’re running around getting your water or using the rest room but its enough time for the people waiting to think you’re not going to make it.

    Two to three minutes is enough time to have the conversation “Hey everyone, we’ll just wait for OP to get started….I’m sure she’s just wrapping up another call…… maybe I’ll ping her and see if she’s going to make it”

  18. BellyButton*

    If I am late because I am in a meeting that is running over, I ping whoever I am meeting with and let them know I am running late because of another meeting. 8 out of 10 times if a meeting is running over it is because people showed up late.

    I also often set meetings for 45 min instead of an hour to allow people to have a bathroom break or refresh the coffee before they have to get on to the next one. If I notice my calendar is filling up, I will block some time so that another meeting can’t sneak in which would cause me to have 6 hours of back to back.

    My best advice is to be proactive and tell someone- “I am going to be 3 min late, go ahead and start” that is, unless it is your meeting. If it is my meeting, and the previous meeting is running over I tell people I have to leave to jump on another call. Communicating usually solves any issues like this.

  19. KHB*

    Two minutes might or might not be a significant inconvenience, but if all I know is that it’s two minutes past the scheduled start time and you’re not there, I have no idea whether you’ll be joining in ten seconds or ten minutes or whether you’ve forgotten entirely. So I don’t blame your colleagues in the slightest for pinging you right away to see what’s up.

    If this “drives you bonkers,” why not be proactive and message someone in the meeting to say you’re on your way and give an ETA?

  20. WorkerDrone*

    The funny thing is, I think this is happening BECAUSE these are virtual meetings. In my organization, we have a five minute grace period for in-person meetings, because there are a lot of things that can interrupt you on the way to the conference room.

    But I would also be pinging someone in around that same time frame to ask if they were joining for a virtual meeting, because the general assumption is that virtual meetings eliminate almost all of the things that would make you a few minutes late to an in-person meeting – no co-worker grabbing you for a quick question, no crowded elevator so you’re waiting for the next one, no line for the restroom or coffee machine that might delay you, no construction traffic on the way in.

    And, yes, there are a lot of surprise things at home that can delay you – thanks, Fido, for desperately needing to go outside thirty seconds before my meeting – but there is grace given for work-related delays (coworker) that is not given for personal delays (Fido).

    If there is a work-related reason, like a meeting that ends at 10:00am and another that begins at 10:00am, and you need a quick bio break, then presumably you’d have at least some advance notice to send a quick message saying you’ll be a bit late.

    1. Seashell*

      Also, in person, someone could say, “Jane told me she is coming, but I think she ran to the restroom” or the like.

    2. But Not the Hippopotamus*

      This is all well and good until the internet hiccups or your computer decides it’s going to install updates Right Now. Those aren’t often, but they sure do mess with getting into meetings.

  21. AMB*

    It’s definitely my company’s culture that if you’re not on and ready 1 minute beforehand, then you’re late. If a meeting starts at 1pm, the meeting starts at 1:00 on the dot. It’s super normal to ping someone at 1:02 – to confirm, I’d say less because I’m annoyed/frustrated but more to see if you either accidentally double booked or if you’re running late so I can stall or reschedule. It’s also super common to start a meeting with “I have another meeting at 1, so I’m going to need to hop a few minutes early.” It’s just a fast paced job.

  22. Corrigan*

    I’d be annoyed if someone was consistently late like that. (A once in a while “Sorry, I was coming from another meeting” would be fine.) Unless you’re in back to back meetings the time to go to the bathroom or grab water isn’t the meeting start time. It’s a few minutes before. I have a 3 minute reminder for meetings to remember to do things like this before my meetings start so I can be on time.

    1. A person*

      I agree and this letter has sort of a I’m always late and don’t care if it affects others vibe which I’m guessing comes out at work too.

      People where I work are routinely late to meetings, however, everyone sorta knows who is late because they can’t manage their time and think their time is more important that other people’s time and who just always has back to back meetings or who doesn’t work at a desk all the time and so sometimes physical work got away from them. The first one people get annoyed about because of the frequency and attitude. The other two people generally give a lot of grace for. If you are late to a meeting for your own fault try apologizing occasionally. Otherwise for things you can’t control try to communicate to the organizers if you’re going to be late so they know or can decide if they should wait or not.

      I’m the third in in that list… always out in the lab or plant where there are no clocks, no meeting reminders, and i have no sense of time. If I know it’s an away from my desk day but I have a few meetings I’ll set phone alarms in the morning for 5 min before I need to be at a meeting so I remember to stop what I’m doing and try to be on time so I’m not wasting other peoples time.

  23. English Rose*

    The thing is that 2 minutes is a lot longer on an online meeting when people are just sitting looking at each other on the screen. It’s really noticeable, much more so than an in-person meeting. I’d be one of those annoying folk pinging you to ask if you were joining.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It’s funny to me, but I do think zoom meetings are more likely to start on time or be a complete whiff and we have to reschedule (because someone isn’t coming at all). And the sooner I can figure out if we’re in the latter situation, the better I can salvage my plan for the day. If they’re having a technical problem I typically expect them to reach out ASAP; I typically try to log in 3-5 minutes before so it will be obvious if my computer is loading an update or I’m accidentally on the google meet or whatever.

    2. allathian*

      I guess it depends on organizational culture, because we just default to small talk if someone’s running late, and people tend to be proactive about telling others that they are going to be a few minutes late.

  24. Big DA*

    I feel you OP, I do. My old job let people trickle in (it had a lot of client calls you might get sick on), but my new place is very time and meeting conscientious; that’s just the culture here. Thankfully it also means that they’re pretty on top of agendas and ending on time, as a part of respecting everyone’s time. Hopefully that’s the case for your workplace too.

    It’s just a part of adjusting to a new workplace culture. I figured out pretty quick that it was not the norm here to be late, and I didn’t want to stand out for being that way. We had a new manager start about a month after me who was chronically late and never had the meeting materials on hand and it was A Big Deal to her direct reports. Between that and a couple other issues, she only lasted 4 months.

    Being able to be 2-3 minutes late isn’t a hill to die on. Find the positives of a workplace that makes respecting time a priority and adjust your habits to accommodate the meeting start times, and you won’t notice it after awhile.

  25. Kim*

    When I’m running a meeting, I usually stick to the norm of pinging people 5 minutes after the start of a meeting to ask if they are joining if they are crucial to the topic at hand and if not I’ll start in with the expectation they can get caught up.

    When I’m attending and can see the possibility of running late (or already am), I try to send a “sorry I may be a few minutes late to joining” message in advance. It can help to have these queued up to send as well even if you don’t end up needing them.

  26. HannahS*

    Oooh…I don’t want to be hard on you, OP, but you need to pick up on the cultural norms of this specific workplace, which apparently include strict punctuality. I don’t think there’s an objective truth on whether or not two minutes is a big deal; people feel differently about it, and I think a lot of conflict arises because people feel strongly one way or the other.

    I’ve worked in settings where meetings have a five-minute trickle-in time, but in my current workplace, meetings start on the dot. The underlying cultural belief is that the work we do is both urgent and important; we work hard, long hours; and that being punctual is a way of respecting your colleagues’ time. My work’s culture is also inflexible and unaccommodating. Obviously, there are strengths and weaknesses to that approach, and there are also strengths and weaknesses in workplace cultures that are more lax.

    1. ABC*

      It’s a little concerning that the OP wants to push back and address “ungenerous” comments after being on the job for only eight months.

      1. Mensa CW*

        I agree. I don’t think they want to adjust their behavior; they want to know how to shut down the people commenting on their lack of promptness and professionalism.

      2. sam_i_am*

        I find it confusing that LW seems to think their coworkers are being weird/being late is a non-issue to the point they’re pretty snarky in the letter. “Is two minutes really such an inconvenience?” It is to me when I’m waiting for you and not sure whether to get the meeting started! I don’t mind people being late when they let me know, but being late with no message feels rude to me.

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      “…you need to pick up on the cultural norms of this specific workplace…”


      As the comments illustrate, there are a range of opinions on punctuality versus grace, when to check if someone is joining, etc. But what each of us, as third-party commenters, think about the issue isn’t terribly relevant: What matters is that OP’s current company culture values promptness and preemptive communication about tardiness. So OP should adapt to the culture.

      1. ABC*

        This is a good point. Even if the advice and all of the comments had agreed with the OP that what they’re doing is fine, what is the OP going to do? Go back to their coworkers and boss and say, “Actually, Ask a Manager and the commenters say that you’re wrong?” When it comes to a culture-based thing like punctuality, what other people think and do is basically irrelevant.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      Yep, it’s definitely a read-the-room situation. I work somewhere that pinging people after 2-3 minutes would be side-eyed, but I’ve also worked places that not being early was side-eyed. When you’re new, you go by the clock until you get a feel for the culture.

  27. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    We have a brief 10-person standup every morning (Agile software development). It’s usually only 10-15 minutes long, so if 1 person is late by 3 minutes, that’s 20% of the meeting.

    We have one repeat offender, and to me it feels like disrespect to the rest of the team. There’s one time each day when we all have to pay attention to what other people are doing, and joining late means that (a) you don’t care what your colleagues are involved in, and/or (b) your stuff is so esoteric that the rest of the team doesn’t need to worry their little heads about it.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      This is also first thing in the morning, so there’s even less of an excuse for being late.

      1. Spicy Tuna*

        That depends on their individual situation though. This doesn’t affect me personally but I have coworkers whose mornings are a little unpredictable because of their kids’ morning routines or if they have to do school drop-off (most alternate days with their partners). It’s a +5/-5 minute variation from day to day.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Having a first-thing meeting at my office would be a recipe for never having your whole team there. If the metro’s not on fire, there’s a protest, a motorcade, or an overturned mango truck on the beltway. Best not to tempt the fates and stick with 30 minutes in.

    2. EasternPhoebe*

      Yeah, I had a boss who was super late 90% of the time to a first-thing, twice weekly meeting that should have been only 10 or so minutes long. But because she showed up 10-15 minutes late, the meeting ended up being 30 minutes for the rest of the team. What a waste of time!! She always said she was sorry and just doing [insert random morning task]. Sigh.

    3. Butterfly Counter*

      Oh gosh. The repeat offender. We have one of those who might be 20 minutes late or who might not show up at all.

      Trust, if there were cut-backs and we had a vote on who to fire, Mr. Can’t-Be-Arsed-To-Be-On-Time would be gone in a heartbeat.

      If the company’s culture is to be on time and you aren’t, it will catch up with you.

  28. goducks*

    In my experience, it’s worse to be a bit late to virtual meetings than in person meetings. If you’re running a couple of minutes late to an in person meeting because you grabbed a glass of water or ducked into the restroom, some of the other meeting attendees might have seen you do that and know your entrance is imminent. When you’re virtual you’re just missing, they don’t know what you’re up to or whether you’ve just blown them off or are just about to log on.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I agree. Why not log in early and drop a note in the chat if you need to refill coffee or run to the loo? Then no one’s wondering if you’re going to miss the whole thing.

    2. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

      It’s also differently inconvenient if you have cameras on vs off. With camera off, you can spend those two minutes checking email or staring off into space, looking at phone, etc. If it’s a cameras on type org though, it’s arguably more annoying than waiting two minutes in person, since you might be sitting there making a polite attentive face with nothing happening.

  29. Enn Pee*

    I switched my Outlook settings to start every meeting at 5 past [the hour or half-hour]. This is a simple courtesy I can provide to attendees: to go to the bathroom, to wrap up notes or thoughts from a previous meeting (or to move from one room to another), to catch up on emails/voicemails, or just to breathe.

    (I started doing this after a coworker did this for a regular meeting.)

    You may not be able to change others’ expectations, but you can at least do a soft culture change (if it’s permitted).

    I’d also say that if you aren’t the only one who is 2-3 minutes late, that it may be indicative of a large culture of having back-to-back meetings without building in any rest.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It’s funny, there’s lots of times I think a 3:15 meeting ending at 3:45 would be far more convenient for everyone based on the rest of their calendar, but I hesitate to schedule it that way as I fear it would just cause confusion.

      1. ElizabethJane*

        for some reason I don’t like starting on the quarter but I do appreciate a 5 minute buffer. I think 15 minutes is just too long for me?

        if I have one meeting end at 10 and the next starts at 10:15 those 15 minutes are tricky for me to fill. If I have one end at 9:55 and the next starts at 10 I prefer it.

        Obviously every once in a while is fine but if my norm was to have 15 minute gaps several times a day I think I’d struggle to use the time efficiently. But I also work at a meeting heavy organization (which is a whole different problem) so if I had 5 gaps of 15 minutes each that’s a lot of weirdly used time.

      2. BellyButton*

        I do this a lot. Not only for other people, but for myself. It allows me to get the things I need for the meeting open. Make sure my AI notetaker is up and ready. Go to the restroom, grab a fresh water. Most people tell me they are grateful for it.

        1. Enn Pee*

          I get thanks a lot for my delayed meetings as well.

          (I’d also note that it seems LW was not the only one late for at least one meeting, which tells me this could be a back-to-back-meeting type of workplace.)

  30. Sloanicota*

    If it’s my boss or someone senior, I give her 5 minutes before gently nudging. If we’re wasting the time of someone more important on the call, I’ll give someone my level or below 3 minutes. You can also drop in the chat “back to back meetings today – need to run to the bathroom!” and I’m happy to cover for you. It somehow seems like there’s less excuse for all-online meetings; it’s not like you had to find the place. Also, sometimes people are on the wrong zoom link or whatever, so the sooner we sort that out the better.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      Agree. I run comp exams with faculty and sometimes they’re late. Usually they’ll let me know if they have something else beforehand, so I talk with the student and committee to make that time less awkward. But I definitely email at 5 minutes late (usually it’s the tech being uncooperative).

  31. I should really pick a name*

    Why does it drive you bonkers? It’s a fact that you’re a few minutes late. How is that an ungenerous comment?

    Some companies are more relaxed, this one clearly isn’t. Why should they change the way they operate to accommodate your preference?

    I’ve found that since going remote, people at my office have gotten a lot more punctual, probably because they’re already in the meeting location (their desk) so they just need to join the meeting.

    1. Youngin*

      Yeah im sensing a bit of entitlement from her letter. It comes off as “can you believe these people wont put up with my perpetual lateness?”. You maybe joining “only 3 minutes late” but you’ve essentially waste 10 minutes of time regardless because now we are doing the awkward first few minutes twice (doing it with everyone already one the call and again whenever you join)

  32. Person from the Resume*

    I do not agree with you LW. Not being apologetic about making others wait for you is rude. AND you seem out of step with your company’s culture.

    (1) if you want to head this off and are running late, tell them in the chat before the meeting starts

    (2) how are they to know you are coming, if you don’t give them a heads up and are late? Maybe they wait for 6 minutes, ping you, and you say “I didn’t realize it was already X” and while you kept doing whatever work you were doing, their time was wasted waiting for you.

    (3) leave your back-to-back meeting early enough to be on time for the next one. At 10 minutes left say/write, “I need to go in 5 minutes.” At 5 minutes before your next meeting say “I’m dropping for my next call.” This way the people who you are leaving know what’s going on and aren’t left in limbo.

  33. DMLOKC*

    I agree with everyone who says the meeting start time is the start time and being late is being disrespectful and holding everyone else up. Regardless of the reason, if you’re going to be late – even 2-3 minutes – call ahead and let them know to start without you. It’s the professional, courteous thing to do.

  34. Spearmint*

    I don’t think I’ve ever worked somewhere where meetings actually started on time. The culture in my workplaces has always been “wait to give people time to trickle in”. Being 2 minutes late might as well have been being on time, and being occasionally even five minutes late was not even a big deal as long as it was only occasional.

    LW, your work culture is different and so you should adjust based, but you’re not weird for having the attitude you do. It’s very common and the norm on many workplaces.

    1. ThatGirl*

      It depends a lot on company culture and also how many meetings you have in general. If you have several back to back, it can feel even more important to get things started and finished on time.

      1. Spearmint*

        That’s funny you say that because the workplace I was in with the most meetings was actually the most flax about start times, because er knew everyone had packed and unpredictable schedules we gave each other some grace on punctuality.

        Which just goes to show how it really varies based on company and team culture.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I mean, there is an element of understanding if someone is a few minutes late because their last meeting ran long, or they needed a restroom break. But there’s also a general sense of “let’s respect everyone’s time and get going”.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Weirdly I felt like this was supper common when meetings were in-person; folks were almost always significantly late (I’m in a big city so there’s every kind of transit issue plus unpredictable parking plus time wandering around trying to find the right room, then they needed the bathroom/coffee whatever). But it’s very weird to me to deliberately go get a drink of water or go to the bathroom when you know a zoom meeting is starting, without dropping something into the chat or logging in first so people don’t wonder where you are.

    3. Fourth and Inches*

      I came to the comments to say something similar. The culture at my company allows for 2-4 minutes of grace period. And if someone hasn’t called in who is absolutely needed, we just start without them.

    4. connie*

      The cost of my time ranges from expensive per hour to really expensive per hour, and I am not about to have a client spending money on nothing while they wait for me. Two to three minutes over the course of a project becomes a lot of money and might even push us into meetings we hadn’t planned to have. I think there’s a distinction to be made between internal meetings v. client meetings, and even WRT to internal meetings, I know which ones I can or can’t be even a minute late.

    5. EngineeringFun*

      I am chronically 5-10 min late to in person meetings. Virtual is easier. I literally go from meeting to meeting all day. I stopped apologizing. My company culture is to have large meetings where I barely participate. I am the technical lead of a project with a tight timeline. I can’t not go to these meetings. Sorry not sorry.

  35. Magpie*

    I work at a place where being 2 or 3 minutes late to a meeting would be noticed and potentially hold up the meeting. Some of the people included on the meetings are in a lot of meetings throughout the day and we typically need every minute of each meeting in order to cover everything on the agenda. There’s no opportunity to go over a few minutes if we start late because most people have another meeting right after. The way we generally handle this is to put a message in the meeting chat saying we’ll be a couple minutes late. That way everyone knows not to wait to start the meeting.

  36. Today's Comments*

    I am a notoriously late person in-person – I always schedule my own meetings back to back because I hate downtime and would rather get out early if I can, forgetting that even *I* sometimes need to use the restroom – but online is a different beast. As others commented, I think there’s more grace in person because people know you have to get up, walk down the hall, pass that one guy that always makes small talk, etc. Remotely, two clicks for Leave and Join and you’re into the next meeting, so being late, especially being late without any notice or apology comes across as purposefully dismissive of others’ time rather than overbooked.

    If you truly can’t be on time to these meetings, get in the habit of sending a quick chat/email/ping, “Running to the restroom. Be there in 2.” “Sorry, previous ran long. Start without me.” or whatever. Better to apologize on time or in advance and then show up properly than just leaving everyone hanging and resenting you.

    1. all my what*

      so you…purposefully design your day to disrespect your colleagues because YOU don’t like downtime and YOU want to leave early?

      1. umami*

        They said they schedule their own meetings back to back – I’m not sure how that is being disrespectful of their colleagues? It’ not likely the meetings are with the same group of people.

      2. ClaireW*

        Whoa what is this comment? Where did the commenter say they “disrespect their colleagues” never mind saying they do it purposefully? Making an effort to have the meetings you’re in be back-to-back (say all between 3-5) isn’t disrespectful, it’s the reality for those of us who only have a few hours overlap with other timezones we work with. And nothing even says that person’s other meetings are all with the same people.

  37. Varthema*

    Superpowered!! Or any other equivalent app. The default 10-minute alert is useless to me; but now I have a thing in my toolbar that starts shouting at me the minute it’s time to join. Super effective.

      1. ClaireW*

        Yes! I have outlook set up to give me a slack message 1 minute before every call, because that’s close enough to actualyl immediately join the call – for me, the 5 or 10 minut reminders are too far out that I get stuck into another piece of work, I basically need a “Join NOW” which the slack outlook reminder does for me.

  38. rayray*

    I understand that 2-3 minutes may not seem like a huge deal, but as someone who is more punctual, it drives me crazy that meetings get held up sometimes waiting for latecomers. I know sometimes people get caught up in things and might be a tad late, but if it’s a habitual thing, that drives me crazy. I know meetings aren’t generally straight to business on the dot of start time, but time spent waiting for others is time wasted for those who were there on time. It seems like timeliness is a big deal at your organization. It may be helpful to set reminders or timers (besides the outlook reminder that comes up). I would say that’s the biggest takeaway here, your company culture values that timeliness.

    1. MK*

      I realized recently that I’ve become this person because my outlook reminders were showing up on my second screen/not popping up because I’d already ignored 20 of them/popping up 15 min early and I’d start something else and loose track of time. I definitely have time blindness, so no concept of how quickly that 15 minutes was going. I tried to mess with the outlook reminders for a while to get them to show up better for me, but nothing seemed to help.

      My new strategy, which has been working brilliantly for for week or so I’ve been using it, is to look at the clock when I get out of a meeting and set a visual timer (a real physical little timer on my desk) for the number of minutes I have until my next meeting. The timer emits 3 little beeps when it goes off, which is just enough to get me to stop what I’m doing and log in. (My timer is from Secura, but there are tons of brands if you search “visual timer”). Just throwing that out there in case time blindness or distraction by other projects is the cause of the lateness.

  39. Youngin*

    Is there no way for you to sign into the meeting on time? You said you work from home and you are usually minutes late because you are using the restroom or getting water. While i don’t really understand why you couldnt just do that 5 min earlier (with the exception of another meeting or call making you late) couldnt you sign into the meeting so they see you are there and then run and grab water? Being on the call would signify that you are there and they could start but still allow you to get water/relieve yourself

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Maybe they are required to have their camera on so they wouldn’t be able to leave if they were on camera. However, if thats not the case and assuming they have a laptop I’m wondering if they could put themselves on mute and turnoff the camera and take the laptop the the kitchen to grab water. (be careful about taking the laptop to the bathroom. Mayve have it outside the bathroom. Or use bluetooth ear buds so that you can still hear the meeting.

    2. Ominous Adversary*

      The LW doesn’t actually say that they are late because they are taking a bathroom break or getting a glass of water, they argue that they COULD have been doing those things, and therefore it’s not reasonable for anyone to be annoyed that they showed up 2-3 minutes late.

  40. Missy*

    2 to 3 minutes doesn’t seem like a big deal to you because you know you are going to be at the meeting 2 to 3 minutes late. The other people in the meeting don’t know that. For all they know they sent you the wrong invite, or you forgot about the meeting totally, or you somehow thought the start time was at 10 PM and not 10 AM. Or maybe you had a last minute emergency and took off for the day (and now they have to go to the shared calendar to see if you are out, or email HR to check). It’s like if you are driving somewhere you’ve been to before the drive seems shorter than if you are being driven the same distance for the first time. The unknown makes things seem longer.

    Meanwhile, if you ping them before the start time to say “I’m running about 5 minutes behind” they know that you know about the meeting, you will attend, and can make the decision to start or hold.

  41. Paris Geller*

    I start meetings on time. I understand that not everyone can make it to every meeting on time for sometimes very understandable reasons (another meeting ran over, boss called & has something urgent to talk with you about, etc.) but if I’m hosting a meeting, I think it’s impolite to keep the people who showed up on time waiting. If a meeting starts at 10 a.m., then it starts at 10, not 10:05. We’re all busy, we all have things we could be doing, so I plan on being punctual and I don’t think it’s unfair to expect others to be the same the majority of the time.

      1. Paris Geller*

        LOL! I think my take is a little more reasonable than actual Paris Geller-I’m a stickler for punctuality but I understand things happen (even though I love her character enough to make her my screen name). She would definitely go on a rant!

  42. Maxine*

    You don’t say what you are doing before these meetings start, just that you only start preparing for it at the meeting time?
    If you’re in another meeting before this one I can see why you’re annoyed at having no breaks but why not tell the meeting host beforehand next time you get the invite that you might be a few minutes late because of the earlier meeting?
    Or if you’re not in a meeting and instead just working alone why not set a reminder to have a break 5-10-15 minutes before you know you need to be ready?

  43. JMac*

    Yes it’s a big deal to constantly be late. Your time is not more valuable than anyone else’s, expecting everyone to wait patiently until you deign to show up for the meeting is incredibly rude. Once is an accident, when it’s all the time it demonstrates that you don’t respect your coworkers.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      This is very rude to the OP. Nowhere does it say they are constantly late or that they expect people to wait for them? And being that in the one meeting multiple people were late, it shows that this is not just the OP.

      Sometimes things happen that cause people to be late

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        I mean, if they’ve only been there eight months and they’ve been pinged enough to be annoyed by it, that’s a pretty clear indication that it’s happened quite often. Yes, sometimes things happen that cause people to be late, but that’s why it’s good to communicate with a quick “Hey, I’m going to be a couple of minutes late” ping.

      2. Tesuji*

        I think it’s exactly the right amount of being rude to someone who’s saying “sometimes I am slightly late to meetings. (Shock! Horror!)”

        The level of entitlement going on there implies that the kindest thing you could do is give her a wake-up call, because that kind of attitude could easily be a career-ender in some companies.

        Being a few minutes late is one thing. Trying to DARVO your way out of it a completely separate matter.

    2. Head sheep counter*

      Agreed. Only being at a company for 8 months but having been pinged and talked about regarding your lateness enough that you feel salty about said pings… says you think you are more important. And it disrespects your colleagues.

  44. I'm just here for the cats!!*

    I can see both sides of this. Yes, being a few minutes late shouldn’t be a problem. But if there is a reason why they need everyone present before starting it can be a problem. The meeting host should not have made those comments. Especially if multiple people were late, it shows that there was probably a reason such as: problems getting connected to the meeting, a prior meeting going over, back-to-back meetings, and people needing to use the bathroom, etc.

    I wonder, are the people who message you the hosts or someone in senior leadership/ your boss. Or is it just one person who might be knit picky and trying to micromanage people.

    Maybe you should talk to your boss and ask, a few times I’ve been late to a meeting because of X and Y and Jane has messaged me asking if I’m joining the meeting and theres been a time when the host has said crude things about folx being late. Is there something I need to be aware of with meetings or do you suggest I do something else, like message the host if I’m running late from another meeting.

    1. Ominous Adversary*

      One reason multiple people are late is that someone regularly shows up late with no apparent pushback, then somebody else decides ‘why should I bother to be on time when Fergus isn’t’, and it cascades from there.

    2. Office Lobster DJ*

      I did wonder about the snarky comments that OP mentioned hearing, as well as their claim that, all pings aside, it actually isn’t that uncommon for folks to be late. Is this justifiable checking in, or is there a vocal subset in the office that is into making a big deal out of things? Impossible to say.

      For what it’s worth, OP, I have certain meetings — large standing ones where I’m not an active participant — that a two minute ping would definitely lead to me internally rolling my eyes, although I wouldn’t show it outwardly. But even if your co-workers are overreacting, there’s still not much you can do except adjust to the culture.

  45. Lacey*

    For video meetings I find myself being more prompt and expecting more promptness from others. I think it’s bc in the office I could just pop my head in & say, “I’ll be a couple minutes” or tell my coworker who is heading over before me that I’ll be slightly late.

    And people didn’t mind sitting around chit chatting in the conference room as much either. There was kind of a feeling of, “This will be a waste of time anyway, so who cares if we’re late getting started” but with video it feels like, “Let’s get in and get out”

  46. There You Are*

    With remote meetings, it’s suuuuuper awkward to be sitting there, staring at a bunch of faces on a screen while we wait to see if all the attendees are going to join. It’s a lot weirder than milling around a conference room, adjusting your chair, saying something conversational to the person next to you, etc.

    OP, please save everyone from that awkwardness by joining on time or by pinging the meeting attendees to let them know you’ll be 2-3 minutes late.

    1. allathian*

      Eh, it’s a waste of time if it happens at every meeting, but I honestly don’t understand what’s so super awkward about it…

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, I agree.

      Generally I’m a “a few minutes early is on time and on time is late” person, although I’ve noticed that with video meetings I’ve skipped the “on time is late” part. On time is on time now.

      Sure, back to back meetings are a problem, but fortunately my org has been proactive in trying to ensure that people can switch from one meeting to the next and go to the bathroom, grab a beverage, etc. as well.

      Thankfully the people who’re strictest about sticking to the agenda and not running over time are our manager and team leads who have the largest number of meetings.

  47. Edward Williams*

    Ranting and raving I overheard in a German train station, at 10:30 by the big station clock (whose minute hand “clicks forward” in one-minute increments):
    Tourist, screaming: Why is the track empty? Where is the ten-thirty train to Frankfurt?
    Guard, in perfect English: Sir, that train left as scheduled at 10:28. The next train will leave at 11:28.

    1. londonedit*

      I mean, if the train’s scheduled for 10:28 then it’s not the 10:30, it’s the 10:28. Britain’s trains are not exactly renowned for their punctuality, but if you turn up at 10:05 for the 10:03 thinking it’s near enough then you’ll be disappointed. Unless there’s an actual delay, train doors are closed and locked 60 seconds before the scheduled departure time, so you’re going to need to be on the train by 10:02 at the latest.

      1. N C Kiddle*

        There are certain trains I catch often enough to know that 1517 will most likely get me onto the 1515, but I still try to be on time because Sod’s Law says the one time I try to rely on that lateness will be the time it manages to be right on time.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      Waiting to tour the BMW factory in Munich.

      Tour guide walks into the waiting area. Looks at the group. Looks at her clipboard. Looks at the clock.

      Says, “Yah, not everybody is here yet but is noon and the tour starts at noon so we go now.”

      She was my hero.

  48. Pat*

    It really does depend on office culture and the people involved.

    Generally, my colleagues will wait about 4 minutes before pinging someone to see if they’re coming. This is because we tend to have back to back meetings, and people need to get coffee, use the restroom, etc.

    If I’m meeting with my manager, I’ll wait on the Zoom while doing other work for at least 10 minutes because he is incredibly busy, and I know he’ll arrive as soon as he can.

    If I’m going to be more than 3 or 4 minutes late, I’ll send a message to let the host know. When I’ve gotten on a meeting 3 to 4 minutes late and apologized for being late, the other person is usually surprised and says they don’t consider me to be late. Maybe they’re being polite, but it seems sincere to me.

    I can see how this might not be OK somewhere else, so it really depends on what’s usual in one’s office.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yeah to be fair if it’s an internal meeting with just me and my boss I won’t ping her for a lot longer – I know she’s busy, and often if I check her calendar I see she’s coming from another zoom. She understandably doesn’t prioritize an internal meeting with a direct report the same way. It’s not as cute when my colleagues at my same level do it; they would ideally give me a heads-up, particularly if they’re going to request we reschedule, but I understand my time is sort of theirs to use. It’s when it happens with external people that even a few minutes becomes a problem.

      1. Alexander Graham Yell*

        Yep, exactly. Or if I’m running late for a meeting because I had a client meeting that ran over time, that’s one thing and nobody minds if I’m 10-15 mins late (even if the call is only scheduled for 30 minutes). If I’m back to back, people assume bio break and nobody pings me until 5 mins into the meeting.

        But my company has a very loose sense of timeliness outside of client meetings/monthly all-hands meetings. I went from an “I have to be 2 mins early or else everything will be terrible” person to saying, “Oh shoot, the team meeting starts now. I’m going to run to the bathroom and grab a glass of water, see you in the meeting room in a few mins.”

        The thing is, though – that’s my company’s norm. It’s clearly not OP’s company’s norm, and it sounds like they need to adjust what they’re doing/how they’re scheduling things because it’s causing friction. And for however annoyed OP is at the pings, their coworkers are equally or more annoyed. I think the best thing to do might be to ping the organizer when you see the meeting reminder pop up and say, “Hey, I’m back to back today so might run a few mins over. Sorry, I’ll join as soon as I can!” That way they know ahead of time and see that even if you can’t always be as prompt as they like, they know you haven’t forgotten them or don’t think they’re important.

  49. spcepickle*

    As someone who is on MANY Team meetings and often distracted. My approach is: I set my calendar to ping me at 2 min before the meeting starts, which is when I log in, say hey, mute myself and the go to bathroom or fill my water glass. Now I am in the meeting, I don’t run late, and as others do the premeeting chitchat I can take care of my needs.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      The BRB acronym – be right back – is great for that.

      Join the meeting, type “BRB” (they know you will be coming back soon and won’t ping you), and then return in a couple of minutes (not too long) and type “back”.

  50. Jello Stapler*

    If it is very occasionally, ok (but they can still ping you and it owudl be nice for you to let them know). I am concerned that due to your approach that no one should mind if you’re late, I wonder if this is a regular occurence and if they are picking up on any laissez-faire attitude about it.

  51. SS*

    In many situations in life, 2-3 minutes late isn’t a big deal. This isn’t one of them, especially when you’ve only been there 8 months!

    If I had a pretty new team member who was consistently late (even if only a couple of minutes) to meetings I would definitely have a chat with them about it. In my opinion it sends the message that your schedule/time is more important that everyone else’s in the meeting; and that is rarely actually true. If you’re going to be late for a reason (such as, you genuinely had no other time to pee/grab water because your schedule is so packed), then it’s polite and professional to send a quick note to the meeting organizer letting them know.

  52. Clymene*

    I think this is a real difference between in person meetings and virtual. If someone is two minutes late to an in person meeting people typically don’t notice. Online it’s different, and three minutes can feel a lot longer.

  53. Mensa CW*

    Most people I know log in a few minutes before a meeting starts, so in OP’s situation, people have been waiting for more than 2-3 minutes. Being consistently late (I think OP is minimizing how often it happens) is enormously rude, disrespectful and entitled.
    Be on time, OP. Problem solved.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      If people log in early and are mad that they have to wait until the time / a few minutes afterwards, thats on them. There are things outside of peoples control that cause them to be late.

      1. Ominous Adversary*

        The LW doesn’t mention that they are late for reasons outside of their control, or because their job has assigned back-to-back meetings such that they are rushing from one to the other. LW makes it absolutely clear that they are just late sometimes and that it’s ridiculous for anyone to have an opinion about that.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I think I agree with you. To OP it’s “only two minutes!!” but if there’s an expectation that most folks log on a few minutes early to make sure there’s not a technical problem – this can vary by office, but is definitely the case in my office – people may have been waiting five or more minutes with no info, which is when they start thinking maybe they need to ping OP. And in my case I’ve certainly been grateful to be pinged if I was mixed up on the schedule or I’m on the wrong link or whatever (this used to be endemic when google suite often added an unwanted google meet link to appointments that were actually on teams or zoom; most people have figured out how to turn that off by now but there are a few holdouts).

  54. edda ed*

    I would not say that 2-3 minutes is really such an inconvenience in general terms, but starting from that position, I’d also say that a ping to check up on you is even less of an inconvenience. If you have a prior commitment, even if you’re with someone else when the meeting starts, it’s entirely reasonable to cut things off there citing your prior commitment. Anyone should be completely understanding that you have priorities (and if they aren’t, well, they should be).

  55. Double A*

    I work remotely and we ping each other if we’re going to be more than 1 minute late, especially if the meeting is under 10 people or so. The idea is you’re sitting at your desk at home, there is no travel time to a meeting, so you need to manage yourself to be on time to, you know, click a link when you’re supposed to. It’s much more acceptable to drop off the back end of a meeting early because you need a bio break and have back to back meetings.

    I am not the most punctual person in meatspace, but at work I’m on the dot. And I don’t find it hard because I know that’s what people are expecting.

  56. Carcarjabar*

    Ahh the classic Early-Birds vs Strollers-In. One of the great office debates of all time. One that will never be laid to rest, just like the Thermostat and Potluck Moochers.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I see it a bit differently than potlucks or thermostats … It makes me think about the concept of informed consent. We made an agreement to meet at x:00. If you’re going to be late, I truly don’t care, but I want to be party to that agreement and have the flexibility to opt in or not.

      If you’re going to be late, let me know in advance! I’ll do other things! I truly don’t care – but if I’m jumping through hoops to get there at x:00 and yet you’re routinely strolling in, I feel like I didn’t have a chance to make decisions with the same information you did.

      A “hey sorry, previous meeting is running over and I need a minute to run to the bathroom, I’ll get there at x:10, start without me” is always appreciated, because I make actual decisions based on that info.

      1. goducks*

        This is where I land, too. If you tell me you’re running late, I’ll use that time for something. If I have to just sit there waiting and wondering when or if you’ll arrive, my time is wasted. It’s rude for you to waste my time.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        Yes, this. I get in very early. My boss usually does too. Thus we’ve scheduled our weekly check-in meeting at 8. If he’s running late (traffic, what have you), he pings me and says “running late, maybe X minutes, will text when I’m here”. Then I can make decisions! Okay, I’ll start my blot washing. Or I can read AAM for 10′. Or I can go sit in the cafeteria and tell him to meet me there! So many possibilities!

  57. Coffee Please*

    Personally I think it’s rude to join 2-3 minutes late, especially a virtual call of 3-4 people. Waiting for someone to join a Zoom is like waiting for microwave minutes to count down. To me, it makes it seem like your time is more valuable than the others on the call and we’re all super, crazy busy. Occasional accidental lateness is fine, but a consistent pattern would make me address it with my team individually, which I have done in the past.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It also doesn’t really sound accidental in this case! It sounds like OP is deliberately going to get water or whatever, figuring it’s fine to be late, which may also be the way it’s coming across once s/he joins.

  58. Elliot*

    When people are late to meetings (even a couple minutes) and don’t give SOMEONE a warning, it is literally one of my biggest work pet peeves. If you are walking to get a glass of water or your last meeting ran over, take a second to teams/slack the organizer “Two minutes late” or something!
    I also end my meetings 5 minutes before the hour/half hour or if someone else is organizing, I set that hard stop at the beginning and stick to it/drop. There are tons of ways to prevent being late to work meetings and I think it’s fair to expect professionals to be on time!

  59. NewJobNewGal*

    I came from a job where it took 5-10 minutes for everyone to arrive and start the meeting. Because of that, all meetings were at least an hour long.
    Now I work for a company that has 15 and 30 minute meetings and everyone is expected to be on time. We understand that people get stuck on previous meetings, but they apologize when they arrive and say that they were in the “Big Boss Decision Making Meeting.”
    The OP sounds like they work in an office with the same kind of culture as I am in now. We start on time and have short meetings.

    1. NewJobNewGal*

      And I’ll add that being on time is so expected that we do ping latecomers. If someone is late, we expect it’s because of a good reason and they will tell us to get started or to reschedule. It’s not a ping to nag, it’s a ping to ask what to do.

  60. Peridot*

    It’s definitely the culture at my current job and with our clients that we expect people to join right as the meeting starts or a little later. I had to train myself out of being 5 minutes early for remote meetings, because it meant I was either just sitting there by myself, or one other early bird would show up and I’d have to make conversation.

  61. tiny*

    It is absolutely wild to me how many people think back-to-back meetings are rare? I guess the actual answer to LW is that this is your life now, and to try and drop off previous meetings early, but to me, one person being 2 minutes late is a drop in the bucket of ways time gets wasted in meetings. Also I guess LW might consider whether their coworkers have real reason to believe they are not coming vs just late.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Who said back-to-back meetings are rare? And there’s nothing to indicate that that is why the OP is late.

    2. Jiminy Cricket*

      Oh, no, back-to-back meetings are not rare at all. But if OP has a lot of them, it’s very likely their coworkers do, too. And their coworkers have found a way to be on time most of the time.

      2-3 minutes may or may not mathematically be a big deal, but the culture clash here is.

    3. umami*

      It sounds more like they are pinging latecomers to confirm they are coming, not to chide them. OP might think they are being singled out, but I assume anyone who hasn’t logged in on time is also being pinged to ensure they are coming. Which can be a big deal if multiple people are running late and none of them are letting the organizer know. The best way to not be one of the people being pinged is to let someone know you are running late and will be logging in soon.

  62. MistOrMister*

    I’m with the majority here that, if you know you’re going to be late to your next meeting it is a courtesy to tell the organizer so they know what is going on.

    Generally for a lot of places it isn’t a big deal if you are late once in a while. But, this letter rubs me the wrong way a bit because it is presenting a flippant attitude towards the situation. I would think this attitude might be coming across to OP’s teammates and could have something to do with why they’re reaching out quickly when OP is not in a meeting on time. Also, having only been at this workplace for 8 month but already possibly having a reputation for being late to meetings is not great.

    Also, while we do need breaks, some reasons for tardiness can be worked around. Such as grabbing a glass of water or other beverage. If you know you have two meetings back to back, bring an extra glass/bottle of water or a thermos with extra coffee/tea to your desk at the start of the first meeting. Then you won’t have to be late to the second one to go grab a re-fill.

  63. Young Business*

    Solid advice from folks saying to be proactive and communicate if you’ll be late, or jumping off early from a previous call, if possible.

    Echoing the sentiment, you’ll probably draw less ire if you messaged the organizer of the meeting beforehand to say you needed to take a quick 2-minute break but you’ll be joining.

    Meeting culture can be weird, in the sense that people think they need to fill up the entire time allotted, or they don’t know how to be firm with boundaries. Saying, “I need to jump off, let me know if there are any action items for me” to give yourself 5 minutes to use the washroom/refresh beverage/collect yourself is okay.

  64. Queen Ruby*

    In my job, I am the host for almost every meeting I’m in. If it’s a small team where everyone is needed and we’re meeting with a client, if one person is late, it can get pretty awkward even though it’s only 2-3 minutes. It’s either “make small talk with client” or “leave client in the lobby”. And if your Teams is on yellow, I’m totally wondering where you are, if you’re joining, did you forget about the call? Did you miss the reminder since you’re probably not at your computer?
    So while there are times where it’s understandable, like if a previous meeting ran over, always do your best to be on time!

    1. allathian*

      Yes, this. And I’ll add that it’s one thing to be occasionally late for internal team meetings, quite another to be late for client meetings, especially if the meeting counts as billable hours, as client meetings pretty much always do.

      I may be mistaken, but I got the feeling that the LW’s meetings are internal. This doesn’t excuse their entitled attitude to tardiness, but it could be worse…

  65. fine tipped pen aficionado*

    Occasional tardiness is not that serious, though if the organizer has informed you in advance that a particular meeting has such a packed agenda or a guest with a hard out or something that makes it important to start on time that’s different.

    I think in general a lot of people (including me) getting more worked up about people being late than we really need to, plus there’s a lot of work out there about how the outsized weight we give to timeliness is part of the structure of white supremacy. (I am not an expert on this topic so if you have questions or outrage about it please direct that to Google rather than me; I don’t have answers but I think it’s a topic worth at least considering.)

    That said — it seems you’re being as ungenerous to your annoyed coworkers as you accuse them of being with you. It’s kind of hurtful to hear it, but sometimes we are annoying to others. It’s just a fact of life. You don’t seem interested in modifying your behavior and they aren’t bothered enough by it to ask you to, so whining seems like the appropriate response. I would maybe whine in a text to my friends rather than in the meeting itself, but honestly that’s no less inconsiderate than being late without communicating about it is.

    TL;DR Let it go.

  66. Ominous Adversary*

    If the attitude bleeding through your letter is in any way showing to your co-workers, I can understand why they are feeling “ungenerous”. You’re sarcastic and dismissive of co-workers who are…. messaging you to see if you’re going to attend since you’re not there when the meeting starts? Instead of taking this as ‘my co-workers want to make sure I didn’t forget about the meeting’ or even ‘my co-workers want to know that it’s OK to go ahead and start without me being there’, you treat their messaging you as some kind of underhanded insult. And your moseying in a little late happens enough that YOU are indignant about it being pointed out.

    I think Captain Awkward calls this the advice-letter genre of “who is right here, and why is it me?” which isn’t a good look when you’ve only been on the job eight months.

  67. Zing*

    My husband has back-to-back meetings all day every day. He’s sometimes late to a meeting because another runs a bit late, or he needs a bathroom break, or to grab diverging to eat. His colleagues understand.

    That said, just being late for the sake of not thinking it’s a big deal is disrespectful of people’s time. Sitting staring at the screen for 3 minutes waiting may seem like NOB unless you are the one constantly waiting.

  68. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    There’s a simple solution to the problem of you being annoyed by their prompts – sign in to the meeting on time. If 2 or 3 minutes is so trivial in your opinion, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to sign in on time. Kinda weird that you’re so flummoxed by this that you’re writing to an advice columnist about it, but there you go.

  69. idwtpaun*

    OP, do you see the meeting start time as the time you start getting ready for the meeting as opposed to the time the meeting actually starts? From your letter, it seems that if you have a 10 o’clock meeting, you’ll do something else until 10, then at 10 is when you go get a drink, turn off whatever you need to turn off, use the bathroom, etc., and only then join.

    I’ll be honest – I find that rude and inconsiderate of other people’s time. If I have a 10am meeting, I will do my preparations beforehand and be ready to join at 10. I have colleagues who are often in back to back meetings, if in every one of those meetings they had someone like you, it’d really throw they day out of whack.

    1. JustKnope*

      Serious question: if I have a meeting up until 10 – and three meetings in a row like that – what am I supposed to do?

      1. 15 Pieces of Flair*

        JustKnope: Leave the earlier call a few minutes early. Send something like: “I need to drop to prep for my next call. Ping me if I have additional action items”, in the meeting chat and then leave. I’ve never seen anyone take umbrage with someone dropping early (within reason given the total meeting length).

        1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

          This. It’s almost always better to drop off a meeting with a hard stop than it is to be late to the next one. If there’s some urgent reason why you can’t drop off, then message someone scheduled to be in the next meeting and let them know you will sign on as soon as you can.

      2. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

        Tell someone in the next meeting that you’re coming, just held up in a previous meeting, or, preferably, leave your previous meeting five minutes early citing that you have another you need to be in. Start the first meeting with the info that you have a hard stop at 5 minutes before the hour, and will be leaving at that point. Repeat for each meeting.

      3. Dust Bunny*

        Leave early. IF you’re going to penalize someone for running too long, penalize the meeting that actually ran long, not the next one that hasn’t even started yet.

      4. umami*

        Communicate! Only you know your schedule and how important everything on your calendar is. You can either let the prior meeting know you need to jump off early, or the next meeting know you will jump on late. Or both!

  70. JustKnope*

    I’m kind of floored by everyone who feels so vehement about 2-3 minutes being rude. If I’m in calls back to back, whether it’s in person or online, yeah it might take me 2 minutes to get situated for my next call! This is probably a function of my office having a lot of grace for those few minutes because we are SO meeting-heavy but a lot of the time I just can’t “trickle in” to a call 5 minutes early if I’m literally going up to the hour in my previous call.

    1. Trawna*

      … don’t go up to the hour on your previous call : )

      Set a phone alarm 5 minutes and 2 minutes before each meeting (ie, phone call). Leave previous meeting at the 5 minute alarm. Go pee/refill water or coffee. At the 2 minute alarm, open necessary files, then dial in on time. Repeat.

      I’ve been doing this since March 2020. It works really well.

    2. peanut butter pickle*

      You’re ignoring some important details here: communication and work culture. If you’re communicating that you’re going to be 2-3 minutes late, that’s fine. If your company culture is such that coming in 2-3 minutes late without communicating is normal then again, that’s fine. I think that people feel so vehemently about this letter because the LW so clearly seems to be ruse *within their particular work environment* which clearly seems to value punctuality and communication when one can’t be there on time.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      Yes, back to back meetings happen, but surely you would let the person waiting for you know that you’re running late? If you don’t, then I don’t think it’s rude for them to ping you to ask if you’re still able to meet.

    4. CTT*

      For me, knowing that a missing colleague could be in a back-to-back call going long is why I ping them – if they’re stuck in a meeting they can’t get out of, I’d like to know so I don’t have to hold the meeting or know to flag items for their review later.

    5. Antilles*

      It probably is a function of your office. Do people in your office ping you when you’re 2-3 minutes late? Snarky comments about people being tardy?
      If your answer is “no and no”, that’s a key difference. OP’s behavior is annoying the rest of the team since it’s out of sync with the culture and that’s why it’s so rude – while in a place that’s more casual about meeting start times, nobody’d care if you were a couple minutes late.

    6. Teagan*

      I’m also surprised how many people seem to think this is a terrible thing to do/get annoyed by it. Two minutes late is nothing. I would never ping someone after two minutes and unless they were actually critical to the meeting I’d start without them and probably not ping them at all. They’ll catch up when and if they join, and since they’re adults I’ll assume they had a good reason if they’re a no-show (as long as that’s not a pattern). That said, if you KNOW you’re going to be late the most polite thing to do is to send a note, even if it’s sent at meeting time – grabbing some water/taking a bio break and joint shortly, start without me.

      1. Gio*

        “Two minutes late is nothing.”

        It’s nothing if it happened once. If it’s happening frequently, it’s rude, inconsiderate and thoughtless at best. And if you’re my colleague who does this routinely, everyone dislikes you for it and it’s damaging your reputation here.

        1. Teagan*

          Happens all the time where I work, no one cares and everyone understands. As long as you join within the first 5 minutes or so one would bat an eye. Meetings just get underway when once there’s a quorum. I get that it’s a culture thing (if everyone does it, no one stands out), my surprise is more how lopsided this seems to be in the comments compared to my experience at several different workplaces and in different industries.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            I mean, you’ve hit it exactly here. The culture of your workspace is that “no one cares and everyone understands”. Great! That’s how your workplace functions! Mine is “higherup isn’t here, can someone ping him to see if he’s coming” and that’s the rare occasion when higherup hasn’t proactively pinged the meeting chat, otherwise we begin. And OPs work culture is “everyone is here on time and we should start on time but we have to wait if you’re not here”. And the problem we all have is that OP wants to be told they’re right for not adhering to their workplace culture because “isn’t this stupid, I shouldn’t have to do this”, when the answer is “no, you really need to respect how this pretty new-to-you workplace runs meetings, and get yourself there on time/notify them if you will be late”.

  71. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

    As a few people have noted, a couple of minutes late is a much bigger deal for online/virtual meetings than it is for in-person meetings. I wouldn’t blink at someone being a couple minutes late to an in-person meeting–maybe they got held up on their way over, forgot to grab a pen/notepad for notes, etc. There’s a lot of ways you can get delayed when you’re in a physical space shared with a bunch of people in an office that can make a couple of minutes not a big deal. But when it’s online, you assume the person is at their desk already with everything they need (unless they’re in another meeting, in which case, ping people to let them know). Also, it’s easier to use an in-person meeting to catch up with everyone in those couple of extra minutes, whereas virtually, it just isn’t as natural to do that.

    But in either case, you should be taking care of the getting a drink of water/bathroom/etc. at least five minutes beforehand (again, unless you’re in back to back meetings, in which case, just let people know you’re running late because of the previous meeting). If for some reason you can’t do that, it’s actually a lot better to go ahead and sign into the meeting early and put up a brb message, so people know you haven’t forgotten the meeting.

    If the issue is just that you don’t want to sign in to the meeting on time…then you’ve got a culture mismatch.

  72. 15 Pieces of Flair*

    Since your company culture values starting meetings on time, shift from joining late to dropping a few minutes early when you have back-to-back calls. Oddly I’ve never heard anyone become annoyed when someone left a call 2 or 3 minutes early.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      You don’t even have to say anything if you’re not an active participant in the previous call, or there’s a large # of people on it (nobody in the 200 person class is gonna notice when you have to bounce at 5 to, trust me).

  73. MuseumChick*

    I’m so someone is early 90% of the time, on time 9% of the time and every once in a while late. The reason is, well, respect of my coworkers time. They are waiting on you. And while 2 – 3 mins may not sound like a big deal, it really is. You don’t know how tight people’s schedule are or if someone needs to discuss something right at the start of the meeting and then leave because, for example, they just got a call that their kid needs to be picked up from school so they can’t stay for the whole meeting.

    As others have started the poliet thing to do is to ping the host and let them know you will be a few minuets late and to start without you.

  74. Pumpkin215*

    What drives ME bonkers is when people are late to meetings.

    Sometimes, we can’t start without you. Maybe I have another meeting after this. Maybe I have somewhere else to be. But you holding up the meeting is not ok.

    I would ping you as well.

  75. Mill Miker*

    I know at my company, you get about 30 seconds before the guy running the meeting starts pinging everyone who’s not there. I think he defaults to pinging everyone as early as possible because the “meeting started” notifications can be easy to miss and not because 30 seconds is egregious. We usually wait another minute or two after that to see who’s going to join.

    Although, I’ve also worked places with the “early is on time, on time is late” philosophy, where the meetings started on time always, and they wouldn’t even ping you. If you weren’t there when the meeting started, you missed (at least part of) the meeting.

    1. ConstantlyComic*

      “Early is on time, on time is late” is such a horrible philosophy, in my opinion. It feels more like an excuse to shame people for following instructions than anything actually useful. If you want to start your meeting at 7, just tell people to be there at 6:55 or whatever, don’t expect them to read your mind. It’s also how you get people intruding on set-up because they “didn’t want to be late.”

      1. Dust Bunny*

        No, if the meeting is at 7, they should be there and ready to hold a meeting at 7, even if they’re waiting by the door. How much earlier they need to be there will vary by person and is their responsibility to manage.

        1. ConstantlyComic*

          I mean, the people who believe it is their moral imperative to show up before you’re ready will be early whether you want them to or not. I meant “tell people to be there at 6:55” as an example of the general idea of telling people to arrive before the meeting time so everyone knows that the meeting will be starting promptly at the time listed.

      2. Mill Miker*

        I had a lot of problems with meetings at that place, but this wasn’t one of them. It’s not shaming people for not following instructions: it was a company-wide policy, which was clearly explained and introduced at an all-hands meeting, with a follow-up email, a grace period for everyone to adapt, and really, the only “punishment” was that no-one waited for you if you were late.

        1. ConstantlyComic*

          It makes sense as an explained, company-wide policy (kinda like what I was saying earlier), but unfortunately it also spawns mindsets that justify pinging people 30 seconds after a meeting starts or feeling entitled to enter a locked conference room 15 minutes before a meeting starts while a presenter is still getting ready because being inconveniently early is somehow seen as justified.

      3. Melody Powers*

        I don’t understand how it’s expecting people to read your mind to say that a meeting starts at 7 and then expect to actually be able to start the meeting at 7 as stated.

        1. ConstantlyComic*

          That’s fair. I took a moment to cool down from the initial comment, and my issue is less with people wanting people to be at a meeting at the start time so they can start on time and more with people (including people I’ve worked with) who show up unreasonably early (as I said, when people are still setting up or prepping, or in at least one case when another meeting was going on) and justifying it by saying “if you’re on time, you’re late.”

      4. Lychee tea*

        I would say that being explicitly told to be there at 7:00 is infinitely less mind reading than sitting there at 7:01 wondering if they are just going to be late or if they forgot the meeting entirely.

  76. Catsforbrains*

    Lot of punctual people in this thread! I am not one of them. I’m also often double booked or choose not to attend a meeting that isn’t related to the task at hand. (I’m a high level individual contributor in a culture with some freedom.)

    It took me a while to realize “Are you joining us?” wasn’t necessarily a passive aggressive question. It can also be genuinely mean they’re not sure if you’re attending and want to know if they can start. Those messages can be a place to communicate- offer an ETA, or to tell them to start without you.

    1. Ominous Adversary*

      Though it’s better to communicate ahead of time, rather than making everyone wait around to hear back from you once the meeting is underway. “I may not be able to make that meeting” or “If I’m not there at the start today, go on without me” alerts everyone that they can start without you.

      1. Catsforbrains*

        Or saying no on the calendar incite, or planning in the 5 minute breaks folks have mentioned! I’ve had plenty of people roll up late to back to back meetings I’ve run, and the stress of not knowing if a key stakeholder will be there is real.

        Speaking for myself and my company culture, hitting every meeting on the dot isn’t realistic – this is more about finding ways to be gracious and empathetic to the host when the pattern is hard to fix!

  77. Jay*

    Someone consistently being “a couple minutes” late would be incredibly aggravating…what is even more aggravating is OP thinking the people annoyed with them are the ones in the wrong

  78. Optimus*

    I hear a lot of, “I’ve got to hop off this call at X:55 a.m. so I can take a quick bio break before my next call” and no one gets bent out of shape. If meetings in your workplace tend to run the full time and are back-to-back, you won’t be the only one with a dry mouth and a full bladder, and it sounds like at your place it’s probably better to drop at the very very end of a call than to be late at the start of a call.

  79. Lost academic*

    It’s a problem. You need to do better arranging your schedule to be on time and you definitely need to tell people when you’re running a few minutes late, but that notification can’t happen all the time. I’ve worked with people who are literally scheduled in nonstop meetings with no breaks on many days and we know given their level that they’ll potentially run late and we consider that when scheduling. But they have the stature to have that be acceptable sometimes. But most importantly: meetings that start late usually run late and it makes it a problem for everyone’s day.

    You have to fix it on your end.

  80. umami*

    Being occasionally late to a meeting is not a problem, but if you are consistently late to meetings, it’s a problem. I would absolutely expect someone to want to make sure I am joining a meeting I need to be at, and there is no way for them to know if I am a) running late from another meeting, b) having issues joining if it’s online; c) not coming to the meeting after all; d) forgot about the meeting. Getting a ping about a meeting when you are already late should be understandable if you haven’t let the organizer know you might be a few minutes late.

  81. BlueStarGirl*

    If you’re on time to MOST meetings, but consistently late to the SAME meeting it’s possible that your colleagues are noticing their trend and assuming it’s true of your attendance across the board.

  82. Bookworm*

    I *personally* don’t think 2-3 minutes is that big of a deal, but I also think it really, REALLY depends on other factors.

    -How packed are the schedules of others? Do they need to run to a more important meeting or call after this one?
    -Even if no one has anything else after, do these meetings run over? Are they badly organized? Sometimes it’s torture to be in a meeting that starts late AND has no discernible purpose/is disorganized and your colleagues may think getting people there on time will help.
    -Are there too many meetings? Ties into the two above: maybe if there are too many meetings, there needs to be an organization-wide look at how meetings are scheduled, which ones are needed and which ones aren’t, etc.

    At one organization, one colleague of mine became increasingly late but that was because leadership was so poor at hiring that he was doing the jobs of 2-3 other people by the time this started happening. At another, we basically had wait around because the owner could be such a flighty person that meetings could be rescheduled *exactly* when they had to happen. So YMMV.

    None of these may apply to you, only you know your organization and colleagues, etc. Just that if you’ve only been there 8 months, there may be cultural aspects to the place that maybe haven’t been communicated or expressed, etc. and it can be hard to say without more info.

  83. Rosce da Cat*

    I find it depends on the meeting – some are fine with waiting 5 minutes for everyone and others are we need to go now!

    I personally think remote meetings with video are the worst. If I am not on video and I have bluetooth headsets, I can get that cup of coffee or whatever while still on (and muted). For in person, there should always be a bit of a grace period since physically getting somewhere takes time – unless you are meeting with POTUS, then you get there early and wait.

  84. Donkey Hotey*

    The joke at OldJob was that attending a meeting was like a traffic signal:

    There might be times when I would go through on an orange-ish light and feel guilty, but then look in my rear view and see three more people going through behind me.

    More to the point, OP: maybe don’t run every yellow light?

  85. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    I’m a project manager and all of my meetings with clients are remote. It drives me nuts when people are consistently 2-3 minutes late for reasons that are clearly something other than “I was held up in another meeting.” A lot of my status calls are under 10 minutes and when you’re 2 minutes late, you’re 20% late. You’re holding everyone else up on the call who could be off to other things as soon as this is over. There is a reason you’re in that meeting. Show up on time. It’s the casual disregard for other people’s time that just gets under my skin.

  86. admin Amber*

    If it is a meeting where there are action items to be voted on and a quorum is needed, I would recommend being there on time or appointing a proxy. Most hosts will wait a minute or two before starting but every company culture is different.

  87. Constant Meetings*

    I think another part of the equation is how many meetings are you in and are they all full time periods (30 min, 60 min, etc). It is very common for me to be in 4+ hours of virtual meetings a day and it’s also very common for several meetings to be continuous. In this case, I’m either watching the time and jumping off 1 meeting early to be on time for the next one. Or joining the next one late. And yes – I frequently get pinged “are you on your way” while I am mid-transition between calls. It’s now at the point that I have to plan which meeting I will join late / leave early so I have a break in a 4 hour run. I’ll either announce at the beginning “sorry – I have a conflict and will be leaving 10 minutes early” – or will tell an organizer I’ll be 10 minutes late. The most annoying is when I’ve told them I’ll be late and they still ping me at the 2 minute mark.

    I find virtual has made this worse. Because people would understand you need time to move between meeting rooms when you are in person and would take that into consideration if they looked at your schedule when booking your time.

    1. I AM a Lawyer*

      I agree that virtual has made this worse. I’m starting to feel like I’m late even if I join, ready to go, at the exact start of the meeting.

  88. learnedthehardway*

    Your employer culture seems to really focus on timeliness, so I would make more of an effort, if I were you. I would make a point of logging into your meetings a couple of minutes early. I do this with client calls all the time, so that if there is a technical issue, I can ping them to let them know. Also, I can work while being logged in, if other people are late. It makes a difference to how people perceive you.

    Believe me, I have been late to meetings and even missed meetings – people have mostly been gracious about this. But I do my very best to be a bit early whenever possible, and to let people know if I am running late. Hopefully doing this buys me some forgiveness when I do run late or can’t connect.

  89. GladImNotThereAnymore*

    As other commenters have said, I think the fact that it is a virtual meeting is part of the issue. I just had one myself where the meeting organizer wasn’t online at the time he had called the meeting. He’s chronically pulled into other things, so… is the meeting still on? Should I just sit here looking at a blank screen thinking “just one more minute and he’ll be online?” Frequently when there are other participants at their end, someone will say “I see him at Bob’s cube – he’s walking this way now” and such. With just a virtual window to nothing one can just sit there and hope. Irritatingly so. :)

  90. praetor*

    I work with many people who consider punctuality as a sign of respect for other people’s time.

    The right way to manage this when you have back to back meetings is to schedule the *prior* meeting for e.g. 25 – 28 minutes, and then manage that meeting effectively. Don’t be late to your meetings, end the prior ones early

    1. Donkey Hotey*

      I’ve seen people write about respect, but also power plays. The person showing up late can be saying “My time is more valuable than yours,” which doesn’t sit well.

      1. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

        Or that they think of their time management habits as some kind of passive fact about themselves, not something they could be adjusting so as to work better with others.

        If you’re consistently the same amount of minutes late, be it 2 or 15, you now have the data to change your preparing-for-meeting habits by that many minutes. Voila, you’re on time.

  91. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    I find that people like the LW are usually late for most things, and in their heads, it isn’t a big deal. It’s how they are wired. However, it does become a big deal when someone does it all the time, and gives the appearance the individual doesn’t care about the time and schedules of others. That isn’t a good look in the business world, especially when higher ups are involved in the meetings, as they are usually booked tighter than others in the company, so delays can immediately be problematic for them. I agree with Allison, this sounds like a company that likes to keep their meetings on schedule, and the LW appears to be out of step with that part of company culture.

  92. Heffalump*

    J. L. B. Smith, who was the first person to study the coelacanth, was a real stickler for punctuality. If someone was supposed to meet him at 3 o’clock and arrived at 3:03, he’d say, “If you were going to be here at 3:03, why didn’t you make the appointment for 3:03 in the first place?” Coming from him, it wasn’t sarcastic or rhetorical. He was an exacting employer in general.

    As to the OP’s situation, pinging her is OK, but snarky remarks, especially coming from a manger, aren’t.

    1. goducks*

      So if you know your laptop clock is off, why aren’t you just mentally adjusting for that, and showing up on time? If you were my coworker and told me that you can’t be on time because your laptop clock is consistently off my 3 minutes, I’d lose a ton of respect for you.

    2. Crikey*

      This is how I learned my laptop clock had started running slow: My coworkers in my extraordinarily punctual office started pinging me at exactly the meeting start time. So I fixed reset the clock on my laptop.

    3. SarahKay*

      If you *know* it’s three minutes slow then that feels like it’s at least partly a you issue. Is there no option to set reminders to go off a little earlier?

  93. Mystery Mongoose*

    I’m not entirely sure that the culture is as set in stone as everyone in the comments thinks it is. The ungenerous comment that OP is referring to was from a meeting where multiple people arrived *after* OP joined. It sounds more likely that there are two camps of people in the office and we don’t have enough information to know which one is the one OP needs to follow (it could be that OP and others are more senior and therefore have more meetings which creates the problem, or it could be that OP and a few other people are in a super small minority and are chronically “late” compared to everyone else).

    Further, a lot depends on what “sometimes” means. OP, if you typically arrive at the top of the hour for a meeting and you’re getting pinged when you’re two to three minutes late, it may be because the behavior is atypical and they’re checking to see if you got hung up on something because you usually are super punctual. If you’re *usually* two to three minutes late, and you’re getting pinged each time *then* it might be more along the lines of what most of the commenters are saying… that the people you’re typically meeting with are the “On time means actually means early” group and you either need to reset expectations (proactively letting organizer, etc know) or try to change your scheduling a bit.

    As for the “what the hell” comment it could be just a general venting/conversation filler from a pathologically early person, bonding with the other pathologically early people, or it could be a serious thing you could respond to in the moment just by being matter of fact. Either apologize for being late relative to everyone else to smooth over feelings, or give the needed context “Last meeting ran over and I really needed to use the restroom/grab water/whatever.” You’ll know a lot better than all of us what the general culture is, and hopefully Alison’s analysis will help you figure it out.

    1. Ominous Adversary*

      Just a note that if you’re trying to present things in a neutral fashion, it tips the hand a bit to describe people showing up on time as “pathologically early”.

      We do have enough information to know about the culture, because the LW told us what it is in their letter: “people are typically pretty prompt but can sometimes run late when jumping from meeting to meeting. So punctuality is part of the culture but not to an extreme degree.” So LW is expected to be there on time unless there is some reason, like a prior meeting, which is why the co-workers are pinging to ask if LW is going to be present.

      1. umami*

        Yes, it’s less about there being no tolerance for lateness and there being no tolerance for not letting someone know you are running late.

      2. Mystery Mongoose*

        I’m confused because you respond as if you’re disagreeing with me, but your quote does agree with me.

        OP’s read on the culture is that “punctuality is [part of it] but not to an extreme degree” and only wrote in when they heard a comment from someone saying “what the hell” with respect to people who were late.

        Also the reason I used “pathologically early” is because I need two ends of a spectrum. Either the comment is something that OP needs to respond to because it’s coming from a place of “I’m following the culture and you’re not” or she *doesn’t* need to respond because it’s coming from someone who is out of sync with the culture somewhere between “there is no grace period even if you are dealing with back to back meetings” and, well, pathologically early.

        And for the record, I’m on the pathologically early side. My husband and I will make a dinner reservation for 5 PM because we know we like to eat early and then get back home with the dogs, and we’ll still show up at 4:30 because, well, our perspective of time is out of sync with most other humans.

        1. Ominous Adversary*

          The OP says that people being in back to back meetings is an exception to the punctuality. There’s nothing here suggesting that there are “camps” and OP has angered the wrong one – OP certainly doesn’t mention any such “camps”. What we know is that OP is slightly late repeatedly, takes it personally when co-workers ask if OP will be joining, and is sarcastic and belittling of the very notion that OP should show up when the meeting starts on a regular basis.

          I don’t think that the issue here is whether OP needs to respond to the meeting organizer’s snarky comments. What OP needs to do is accept that the culture of punctuality in fact applies to the OP.

    2. umami*

      One thing I learned early in my career is that someone else doing something wrong isn’t license to do it wrong yourself. So just because other people are joining late doesn’t make it OK. Focus on what ‘you’ need to do to be viewed as a dependable colleague who communicates well, because that is what will serve you best.

      1. Buzzybeeworld*

        Very much this. Jim does it too so it’s not a big deal is a bad way to think. For all you know Jim is about to be fired for this, is that what you want for yourself, too?

      2. Mystery Mongoose*

        Again: OP’s understanding of the culture is that *sometimes people run late because they have back to back meetings and everyone understands this*.

        OP came late to a meeting, as did other people either because they had back to back meetings, because they’re latey late people who like to late, or something else entirely.

        Most of the comments I read before mine were acting as if OP is most definitely in the wrong and out of sync with the culture even though no one here is at this company observing this culture. Either OP’s read on the culture is correct, or it isn’t, but we don’t know which therefore while responses that come at it from the perspective that she *is* wrong may be useful (if she is in fact wrong) they also may not be because *she may not be in the wrong*.

        1. umami*

          I am suggesting OP’s understanding might be faulty. OP knows they run late and then get a ping with a question about whether they are attending the meeting. Instead of seeing it in the spirit of communication, OP feels the pinging is annoying and that they are being singled out, and anyway, what’s a few minutes if other people also are late? But the other latecomers were probably also pinged, or might have told the organizer they were going to be late, or they are higher-ups who have more standing to be late without offering a reason than a new employee. It serves OP well to focus on what will stop the pings and build some capital with the new colleagues, whether she is ‘in the wrong’ or not. I often tell my staff to focus on the desired outcome, because being ‘right’ often isn’t how to get what you want in the long run.

  94. 2 Cents*

    My company’s culture is for meetings to start on time, but also for meetings to stop on time (no 5-10 minutes over). So yeah, it wouldn’t be unusual for me to be pinged if I’m 2-3 minutes late.

    Since I’m 80% remote, and time works differently when not in an office (lol), I’ve taken to setting timers on my phone for my meetings to remind me 3-5 minutes ahead of time — enough to turn on Teams and be on time.

  95. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Our grandboss sees lateness as punishing the punctual and rewarding the late-comers. We host events and the start time is precisely the start time with no leeway because the Big Boss is hosting and they don’t wait for anyone. People who trickle in late get death stares and don’t get a re-cap of what they missed until the meeting is finished.

  96. PacketLoss*

    Alison makes a good point that this is all dependent on the culture of your workplace and it sounds like the culture of your workplace is one that is fairly on time.

    That said, the chat function in a virtual meeting is incredibly helpful here. I work for an org that uses Teams, which allows you to send chat messages to your fellow meeting attendees before you even join the meeting. When I know I’m going to be a few minutes late, I send a preemptive chat saying “stuck on a call, please start without me” or “will be joining a few minutes late but will be there ASAP”. I feel like it’s the courteous thing to do to let my colleagues know where I’m at and it saves them from having to reach out to me (and me from feeling like I’m being hounded).

  97. ConstantlyComic*

    I do agree that pinging isn’t a huge deal, but I feel like making snarky comments about someone being 3 minutes late is definitely too much.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      but I feel like making snarky comments about someone being 3 minutes late is definitely too much.

      While I don’t disagree, it’s kind of hard to sympathize with the OP when their letter is dripping with snark.

      1. MissElizaTudor*

        I don’t see anything snarky except the “(Shock! Horror!)” at the beginning. I’ve seen a couple comments referencing the tone and I can’t see it, which could be a failure of tone comprehension on my part, but I’d like to understand.

        Can you explain what about the writing leads you to read it as full of snark?

        1. Gerry Keay*

          “(Shock! Horror!)” is incredibly snarky! This is a classic advice column letter of, “Who is more right and why is it me?”

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          I mean, I think the “(Shock! Horror!)” is snarky enough on it’s own (far snarkier than “What the hell?”), but then there’s “Is two minutes really such an inconvenience?”, saying it drives them “bonkers” that someone wants to know after 2-3 minutes if they plan to attend the meeting, and referring to those check-ins as “ungenerous”.

    2. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      Targeting one person specifically who isn’t usually late would be bizarre. I read it as them complaining about the whole group of people who were late which just seems like normal bonding over workplace annoyances to me. Of course we need more context than we have to really determine the appropriateness, ie was it an important or unique meeting where attendees were warned in advance that timeliness matters, are the same people always late, etc

      I don’t think I would have made my complaints on air, personally, but it seems to me the LW is in a glass house and should think carefully about throwing stones.

    3. Head sheep counter*

      I mean… if you’ve worked somewhere for eight months… and have a chronic lateness problem that is so severe that folks talk about it… I don’t know that the snarky comment is the problem. Especially if folks have been coaching you with pings all along and you still think your time is more important than your colleagues.

  98. Anne Shirley*

    If the meeting attendees generally aren’t ones to chit-chat or banter, two minutes is an eternity, unfortunately.

    1. Gerry Keay*

      Yeah, I work on a very relationships-first team and most meetings with fewer than 8ish people have at least a couple minutes of chit chat before we dive in. This also serves as buffer time for folks who are a couple minutes late, and we don’t see it as lost time. We all work remotely, so it’s our opportunity to be humans around each other before jumping into work. If you’re late, you miss the opportunity to hear what folks are doing over the weekend, and sometimes you end up logging on to see a bunch of people laughing at a joke you didn’t hear — some light fomo can be a good motivator for showing up on time :)

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. I’m hybrid now, although some weeks I don’t go in at all. But we’ve maintained the light banter at the start of meetings as a holdover from when we were fully remote. My job involves a lot of writing on my own, very little collaboration and most of that is asynchronous, so I appreciate the chitchat simply as a way to build relationships with my coworkers.

  99. Queue*

    Quick note: if coworkers are consistently pinging you at 2 minutes after the meeting starts, they’re not going to be able to tell that you were going to show up in a minute regardless. I’d be careful that what you see as “I run a few minutes late to meetings” isn’t being interpreted elsewhere as “needs excessive oversight to remember to show up to meetings”

  100. PayRaven*

    If your coworkers are reliably communicating to you that it’s an inconvenience to them, then yep, it’s that big a deal! As others have mentioned, the fact that this happens frequently is also playing a role. Inadvertently, you’ve trained your coworkers to think “oh, LW won’t show up on time, I have to ping them”, so they’re doing that faster because they’re assuming they’re going to have to do it anyway.

    I will say that the meeting organizer who was “What the hell”ing at people being a few minutes late was probably out of line, but as the person who has had to ping serially late teammates and then try to undo the reputational damage that this did to them in my mind: yep, it’s worth being more conscientious about, for the sake of your relationships if nothing else.

  101. iglwif*

    I would not be annoyed by someone being 2-3 minutes late once in a while, especially if they were apologetic about it, but if you are consistently late for meetings, OP, those 2-3 minutes are adding up. If your meetings are 25 or 30 minutes, then 3 minutes is 10% or more of the meeting time! Also, 3 minutes of waiting for you to arrive feels a lot longer to everyone else than 3 minutes of finishing that last thing / grabbing a coffee / using the washroom / etc. feels to you.

    The culture at your workplace clearly is “meetings start on time.” So what you need are strategies to be more on time more often.

  102. cindylouwho*

    Wow. You all in the comments would not make it in my work environment. My boss is regularly 20+ minutes late to meetings. 2 is nothing lol

    1. PayRaven*

      You are correct, I wouldn’t make it. Sitting there tapping my heels for 20 minutes would be INSANE to me. Don’t you want me to be more efficient with my time???

    2. Jiminy Cricket*

      Hah. This would literally kill me dead. But, once you know the reality, you figure out a way to work around it.

    3. Lorac*

      On the flip side, your boss would not make it in some of my old companies. I worked at a Japanese company where showing up a minute late meant your manager would be notified and you’d get a stern talking to.

    4. Head sheep counter*

      I wouldn’t thrive in your environment and I would be surprised that anyone does… because… the boss clearly does not respect their colleagues time. What else do they not respect? I’m guessing… its a lot.

      1. cindylouwho*

        I wouldn’t say I was bragging about it; I hate it. But I think it’s important to remembers that norms are different in different environments.

    5. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, but it is vastly different when it is the boss as opposed to random new coworker. The boss sets the rules and tone; coworkers do not.

      1. allathian*

        Agreed, although to be fair I wouldn’t thrive in that environment either. I’d deal with it by continuing to do whatever work I could with a lower focus, but it would annoy me and I wouldn’t think very highly of that boss at all, no matter how good a manager he was otherwise. That sort of chronic lateness is a symptom of a profound disrespect of employees’ time, and while a manager’s time is more expensive than an employee’s, it’s not free.

        I’ve eliminated all the chronic time optimists from my personal life as far as possible, so I see no reason to put up with that sort of behavior at work.

  103. Jenna Webster*

    I’m annoyed when people are surprised that others are annoyed that we had to wait for them to get there, especially when it’s clear that they didn’t have a good reason to be late, and just for some reason didn’t want to watch the clock and join on time. I’m not sure why our time is less valuable than yours, and to me, it feels like your coworkers are the ones who should be annoyed. If they ping you and you join, you obviously were there to do so.

  104. Jiminy Cricket*

    This is my company. (Or, it could be.) On time means on the dot. It just does. You’ve learned the reality, so adapt to it. Sure, it may seem like pinging you is over the top, but so is pushing so hard against the culture eight months in.

    Yes, back-to-back meetings sometimes run over. Two things that help me: If I’m in control of the meeting, I schedule it for 25 or 50 minutes instead of 30 or 60 (and stick to it). And if I’m in a meeting that looks like it will run over into the next (yes, even by a minute), I send my coworkers a quick note.

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      What was really annoying (to me) was my last workplace, where every single meeting started five to ten minutes late. Hated that. So I adapted by always bringing my laptop into the meeting room (that job was in person) so I didn’t feel like I was wasting time.

  105. Nothing Happening Here*

    I have a monthly team meeting on Zoom and one of the members is always late. Sometimes 1/2 hour late, for an hour meeting. We start without them and do not backtrack.

  106. Oryx*

    Here’s the thing: you’ve been there 8 months and are already building a reputation as someone who is habitually late to meetings. Them remarking on that is not “ungenerous”

    You know punctuality is the norm and yet are taking the attitude your coworkers are the problem rather than you — the new person. You know you are still planning on attending the meeting; the meeting host does not, which is why they are pinging you. You asked if it’s really that big of an inconvenience. The fact that your coworkers are pinging you is telling you that it is. You are free to disagree, but again you are coming into this work culture and have to adapt.

    Some suggestions:
    If you are going to be late, just ping them in advance
    If you are in a meeting beforehand, let that meeting host know you have a hard stop at X time
    Set alarms. I find 2 minutes to be good because it’s close enough that I won’t forget to log in but gives me just enough time to grab a water, refill coffee, use the restroom, etc.

    1. PayRaven*

      This is a great writeup. Basically, LW: you have all the information you need to answer your question! It’s just not the answer you were hoping for. It happens.

  107. Disco Janet*

    I run tons of virtual meetings and I tend to be good about giving everyone 2-3 minutes of grace time but that’s it. I have tons of back to back meetings. If I am getting out of one late and need to run to do a thing (bathroom, water, dogs out, etc), I just message the next meeting before it starts and tell them I am running a few minutes late. Then everyone knows and its no big deal.

    That being said one time got a “are you coming to this meeting” ping five minutes before the meeting even officially started (i.e. the meeting officially started at 2pm and I got pinged at 1:55pm). In that case it was kind of annoying.

  108. somehow*

    I don’t understand constant lateness. Why not either let it be known you’re most always going to be late, or get started earlier.

    Because no one is a mind-reader. How would anyone know they’ll have to wait “only” two minutes unless they’re informed ahead of time?

    Also, I hope no one is teaching you it’s okay to be late constantly by always waiting to begin the meeting until you get there. It’s not okay, especially since other people are making it on time. Why should have to, if you don’t?

  109. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    A good rule of thumb is that if you are chronically annoying your workmates, it’s time to change your behavior.

  110. J*

    I have a problem where everyone not only joins late but they want to do the small talk still like they arrived before everyone else. But especially when we’re meeting with outside vendors, who often charge hourly, 2-3 minutes late plus chatting means we’ve already spent $350 before we’ve even started discussing the issue at hand. One perpetually late person cost us $1300 last month because if we start without her, she makes us repeat things when she joins and so we pay up front while we wait and on the back end when we go over. And that’s not counting the internal cost, because I am billing to her department too for my time. Beyond just matching to the culture and not wasting others’ time, if you start looking at how much money you’re wasting to make everyone wait, you might start communicating “start without me” or joining on time much more frequently.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      YES TO ALL OF THIS. I don’t necessarily want to be the person keeping a running tab of how much this kind of thing costs, I know that’s annoying, but when it’s my job and the people who get mad about waste are the habitual time wasters it does irk the soul.

  111. BL*

    I mean, you admit it has happened more than once. What’s so hard about just pinging the meeting organizer to let them know you’ll be 2-3 minutes late? At my company, you’d get a pass for that, but not for being late without letting us know.

  112. Peanut Hamper*

    Unless you just got notice of this meeting this morning, be on time. 9:00 means 9:00.

    If I schedule a meeting, I respect all the people who showed up on time or ahead of time and I start the meeting on time. If you’re late, you’re late. I don’t hold up meetings for stragglers, whether chronic or not. Other people managed to show up on time, and I’m not going to waste their time doing a Brady Bunch style look around.

    People will not mind the occasional bit of tardiness. But if you do this enough that it becomes noticeable, it will cost you both in terms of reputation and capital.

    Be on time.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      THIS. Set the rules of the road that “the meeting starts at the starting time, and we don’t recap for latecomers”.

  113. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    Always send a quick message to the organizer and someone else in the meeting who you know reads quick messages if you are going to be late for a meeting.

  114. hereforthecomments*

    I run on the “early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable” system. The thing is, yes maybe you are in the bathroom or getting a drink, but everyone else did those same things and allowed enough time to be on the call on time. You are treating other people’s time as less important than your own. If you have back to back meetings, either bow out of the first one early or let the next one know that you will be joining late. I guess you’ve never been in one where everyone keeps joining late and then everything that was said has to be repeated, wasting a lot of time.

    1. Beatrice*

      I completely agree. Even 3 minutes late means other people are sitting there waiting for you when they likely have other things they need to do. It’s incredibly rude and entitled, as if your time is more important than everyone else’s. LW doesn’t seem to indicate that the reason they are late is because they are over scheduled and can’t make it on time but if that is the case, all it takes is a quick “I’ll be a few minutes late; go ahead and start without me”.

  115. Ladybugger*

    As someone who comes from a culture where 3 minutes would be fine (although personally annoying to me, the person often running the meetings), I still drop my coworkers a heads up if I’ll be late. I think that’s just polite and it takes no time to drop “hey, my 3pm client meeting is running over – I’ll be X minutes late so please start without me” or “back to back today – just grabbing a glass of water and I’ll join right away” into the meeting chat. Honestly that would probably solve most of your problem.

    But also, you shouldn’t be running late to every single meeting – if that’s happening then it WILL build bitterness over time with your colleagues. If you’re constantly 3 minutes late you’re holding people up. Lots of others have given you good strategies for this so I won’t add to that, the heads up in the meeting chat will earn you some grace in moments where it can’t be helped.

  116. Beautiful, Talented, Brilliant, Powerful Musk-Ox*

    So, I am so not a stickler for a lot of things. Like, I do not care when my coworkers come into the office because none of us have jobs that demand a specific start time, and if I was a supervisor, I’d feel the same way. I fully understand that other meetings run over or people get doublebooked or whatever. But, if I am running a 30-minute meeting and someone I expect to be there (meaning they aren’t optional attendees) is 3 minutes late, I will absolutely ping them to see if they’re coming. It’s not me being judgmental or annoyed; it’s literally just me going, “Hey, should we wait for you or can we start with the knowledge that you likely will not be here?” Our building is large, so for in-person meetings where I can see the person has gone idle (and I can therefore surmise that they’re walking from one meeting to another), I might wait 5 minutes. But for online meetings? With multiple people? When we only have half an hour to talk most of the time? Yeah, I need to know if I should be waiting on you.

    I don’t know what your office culture is like, but in mine it isn’t uncommon if someone knows they’ll be a few minutes late for them to drop a note in the chat and just let everyone know they will be there but are delayed. People don’t do this for things like giant departmental meetings, but a smaller meeting where they’re expected to contribute or at least attend, it’s super common to do that.

  117. Thatoneoverthere*

    This is incredibly workplace dependent. I have worked places were its not a big deal to sign on or stroll in 5 even 10 min late sometimes. My current company starts at the meeting start time no matter what. If you are late… too bad. It would be really hard to change this culture and often its just better to adapt.

  118. Pretty as a Princess*

    Even the idea that the LW could have back to back meetings is really a read herring. I’m pretty senior and have lots of days with back to backs. And I am proactive about messaging organizers and saying things like:

    “Hey, I just had a critical pop up with the CTO. Please start without me. I’ll be there in 10.”
    “Hey, I’m back to back today, I need to just grab a glass of water in between and might be a minute late.”
    “I have a meeting with the boss that is supposed to end then and I will join your meeting immediately.”
    “I have a client meeting right after this so I need to punt 5 min early.”

    LW appears by their own description to have developed a reputation for being inconsistent, at best. (Or constantly late, at worst.) But the good news is LW is fully remote which means LW has collaboration tools at their disposal to enable them, when they really need it, to proactively shoot a message that says “I apologize but I’m in back to back meetings and just need to grab a glass of water.”

    I would also flip the “is two minutes really such an inconvenience” question back on the LW. If two minutes isn’t really such an inconvenience, surely their coworkers are asking that. “Is it so hard to be on time, if they need two minutes why aren’t they doing their stuff before meetings?”

    This is recoverable as long as OP pays attention to the culture, prioritizes promptness unless it’s impossible, and then prioritizes communication when it’s not.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      All of this. I work in fundraising and it’s common for my boss or grandboss to get caught on a phone call with one of our more spirited donors/board members right before a meeting. But they also text to let me/us know so that we’re not just sitting there wondering if something happened. Yes, lateness happens, but it’s on you to communicate!

  119. La Triviata*

    My office mostly uses Zoom and I try to join five minutes or so early; my boss, who runs the meetings, lets anyone else in ahead of me, so when I do get to see/hear the others, it’s already in progress. They usually do the chit-chat at the beginning, my boss saying who can’t make it, waiting for late entries, etc., but we usually run the full hour or a little over. Some people will use the chat feature to say that they have to leave a little early for something, but the meeting rolls on.

    Before the pandemic, we’d have regular in-person meetings and people would come in late, there were ALWAYS technical issues to make it start late until our big boss, who ran them, announced that he would no longer take the constant technical problems, that people needed to come on time and so on. We did start beginning on time after that, which was kind of a relief for those of us who got there early, even if it was only to get a good seat.

  120. AlphabetSoupCity*

    If I’m going to be a few minutes late, I give someone a heads up – hey, I’m running late. That’s it, common courtesy.

  121. ticktick*

    I’m a little surprised that everyone’s technology seems to work so smoothly that they can always be on time to the minute on remote calls. There have been numerous times where I have allotted the normal time to login and join, only to find that there’s been some sort of update, or that the program is running slow for some reason, or that the video or audio isn’t connecting properly, and that adds additional unanticipated minutes to my ability to join. Most meetings I’m in are not so efficient that the lack of 2 or 3 minutes can’t be made up by quicker discussion – 5 or 10 minutes late pushes the boundaries, though, and often leads to rescheduling.

    1. PayRaven*

      This gets a total pass if you tell someone that’s what’s going on. But if you don’t say anything, no one knows.

      1. Pretty as a Princess*

        Yes. And noticeably, the LW did not cite this as one of the reasons they are running late so often.

      2. ticktick*

        Oh, absolutely, and I always profusely apologize and explain upon joining. Sometimes I’ll have sent the explanatory email and it will also be delayed, though, so it doesn’t help the people waiting in real time. I think it also makes a difference that I’m always using the preferred remote meeting program of my clients, so there could be some issues with being external to their IT infrastructure. This isn’t to excuse the LW, since as Pretty as a Princess noted they didn’t cite these reasons, just that I was surprised at some of the hard lines taken in other comments.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      This has happened to me on rare occasions, but not chronically. If it’s happening to you with any degree of frequency, it’s time to call IT. That’s their job.

  122. Fabulous*

    In a physical conference room, sure, 2-3 minutes late isn’t a big deal. But virtually? I’d argue it’s a bit more of an inconvenience for all the reasons mentioned above.

    Personally, I will ping someone around the 4 minute mark, especially if it’s just us in the meeting, or if they’re a key person in the meeting. Usually there’s a built-in 2-3 minute grace period regardless, though.

    It’s also common courtesy to give a heads up if you know you’ll be running a few minutes behind, especially if another meeting is running late.

  123. K*

    OP is being inconsiderate. Either show up on time or suggest a different time that actually works for you. Don’t keep people waiting.

  124. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot*

    I worked somewhere in the Before Times with an EVP who notoriously started meetings “early”; meaning at X:59. If you showed up on time, you were late. And he’d lock the door so you had to shamefully knock to be let in. (He’d only do this to repeat offenders. And it usually only took once for people to get the message.)

    We had a three building campus and everyone prioritised his meetings. So it wouldn’t be unusual for someone to exit at X:53 if they had a Percival meeting next. (This included our SVPs…)

    Because of that, starting on time for other meetings was critical. If you were three minutes late, it meant the rest of the team would lose a precious three minutes on a 23 minute meeting. So on time meant you were ready to go at X:00. Two or three minutes was very problematic.

    Because this was early in my career, I am compulsively punctual. When I’m running late, I always let someone know. But many of my meetings are global in nature, so I enforce on time with my team since we need to be respectful of people’s timezones. If someone gets up early or stays up late for a meeting, the least the rest of us can do is show up timely.

  125. Mmm.*

    Now that that’s covered, can we talk about the people who start meetings a few minutes early and then you get pinged right when the meeting was SUPPOSED to start?? Or meeting guests who start meetings instead of the host?

    1. I AM a Lawyer*

      These both happen to me regularly, and it drives me up the wall. I’m working on something, really focused, I know I have seven minutes before my meeting, and the Teams notification pops up that a meeting guest has started the meeting. Ugh.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I recommend turning notifications off during your focus time. If you’re hosting then you can set up the meeting to not allow guests to start the meeting; barring that you can add a notice to the invite that you won’t be able to join until the specific start time so they know they’ll be waiting alone if that’s what they choose to do. If you aren’t hosting then it’s unreasonable to expect you to be there before the meeting starts.

        We are all responsible for managing our own notifications.

        1. Mmm.*

          That’s not an option. I’m on a very small team with a longstanding norm of hopping on when the meeting is opened, no matter who opens it or if it’s early. I typically don’t get on until right when it was supposed to start, but I can’t make a rule for the rest of the team to do that, nor can I make a rule for my bosses to not ping me.

    2. Dinwar*

      For my part, I don’t find that annoying. I look at it as being the same as people showing up early in a conference room. I’m going to look at the meeting agenda and attendees, and if there’s someone I need to talk to I may jump on early for a quick “Can you email me this document please?” type of chat. As long as they’re willing to end the conversation when the meeting starts I simply don’t care.

      Sometimes it’s useful that they log on early, too. Some contractors log on early to make sure they get their technical issues out of the way before the meeting starts. I’d rather them do that than ping them because they’re late!

      I get a little irked when someone stays on after one of my meetings to have that chat, but only because the way the old system we used was set up, when the person who set up the meeting left the meeting ended. I’ve had my computer hijacked for over an hour for such discussions before (I worked on other things at the time, so it wasn’t a total waste). The new system we have doesn’t do that, though, so I don’t care as much.

      1. Mmm.*

        An individual being in a physical conference room early doesn’t typically include everyone else being told the meeting is starting or being told they’re late when entering at the exact start time.

        You can also typically look at the agenda independently and email that person earlier, when they may be more likely to see it, too.

        1. Dinwar*

          I suppose we have different experiences. It’s pretty obvious when people show up to meetings where I’ve worked, and it was common for people to meet slightly early to socialize. And our system for managing meetings doesn’t tell anyone they’re late. It says that someone started the call, but that doesn’t mean you need to join if you don’t want to.

          And some things are better done face to face than via email. There are some things that aren’t work-related–I’m not emailing a coworker about our weekly DnD game, whereas enough people in the company know we do this that I’d feel comfortable discussing plans prior to a meeting starting. And some things that are sensitive enough that email isn’t appropriate. I deal with situations where it’s often better to hold off on putting anything into writing until you’re sure of what direction you’re going to take. And frankly people aren’t robots, and no electronic communications medium has been invented that replaces a handshake. Actually being in proximity with people is still a not-insignificant factor in human relationships.

    3. J*

      YES! I’m so good about joining on time, I have a record of it so much that I’m usually the kickoff person. But sometimes the clock will literally turn to 10:00 and the one department head will ping me to ask if I’m joining. Ma’am, I RSVPd yes, I would actually join even faster if I didn’t have your message making me think there was a fire to put out while I’m trying to open the new video call tab. I promise you, just because you showed up 5 minutes early to your own meeting doesn’t mean I will be late.

  126. Immortal for a limited time*

    When a meeting is at 10:00, that means 10:00 and not 10:03 or 10:05. In the business world, TIME IS MONEY and you’re essentially saying your time is more valuable than everyone else’s. That’s rude. Alison gave good suggestions for what to do when you have back-to-back meetings or you’re tardy for something outside your control (those things are understandable and we’ve all faced them!) but keeping people waiting because you don’t bother to make sure to get water or use the bathroom at 9:55 so you can join the meeting on time is on you. This is part of adulting and being professional. If their promptness drives you bonkers, imagine how your tardiness feels to them.

  127. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

    Oh my, I wish my coworkers would wait that long. At my current work, I’ll get pinged *at the meeting start time*. “Hop into the meeting please.” “Hey will you be able to join us?” etc. At the meeting start time. FFS dudes, I’m clicking through the Join button and meeting audio/video settings. Gimme a freaking sec.

    As for joining a couple of minutes late, unless you’re the team lead or are heading the particular meeting, I totally don’t care. Sounds like I’m in the minority though.

      1. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

        I don’t really see the point of making sure I’m in the meeting at the exact start, when twenty percent of the time Big Boss hasn’t even started work yet; twenty percent of the time, the team lead cancels at the last minute because of childcare issues at home or forgotten doctor’s appointments; twenty percent of the time, the team lead can’t get into our workplace tracking system; and twenty percent of the time, Big Boss and team lead just cancel the meeting because they don’t want to be bothered.

        In this scenario, yeah I’m not always already in the meeting when the clock hits the :00 mark.

        1. Ominous Adversary*

          I guess I’m confused, because your first comment was that your co-workers are getting on your case if you aren’t there precisely at start, and now you’re saying that there is no culture of punctuality at your work at all?

      2. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

        See now this does feel unreasonable, unlike OP’s coworkers. If the meeting start time is 9am, no one has standing to ping about it until 9:01.

  128. vox experentia*

    it’s understandable that someone would on rare occasions be late for a meeting. it’s completely reasonable that they would ding you to see if you’re coming. being late is at a minimum discourteous, and if it happens repeatedly outright unprofessional. three minutes late is three minutes the 10 people have to sit and wait for you.

  129. Throwaway Account*

    I think it is clear, most here think the OP is being rude and needs to show up on time and/or ping someone they will be late.

    But the OP said that she is attending meetings where others arrive after her. It sounds like a tale of two cultures – and maybe it is in the middle of changing to expect more punctuality.

    That does not change the advice to be more punctual but it might be important to the OP to recognize that she is getting mixed messages from her workplace.

    1. Momma Bear*

      OP also doesn’t say who they are. If OP is new and lower on the org chart, that may be why it’s a problem for only some people. Or maybe the other people are getting pinged as well and are continuing to be late anyway. OP has been asked by this organizer to be on time for these meetings, basically. They should do that.

  130. VivaL*

    Logistically, my company has switched to 25 & 50-55 min meetings to give everyone the minor breaks they need to get from room to room, bio breaks, and to run over a few mins/wrap up without everyone being late to their next meeting.

    1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I haven’t gotten my whole org to switch but I have changed my default settings in Microsoft so my meetings, at least, end before the hour to give everyone a break.

  131. Momma Bear*

    At an old company, our PM would frequently be 5 or more minutes late to client meetings. Everyone was on the teleconference on time or ahead of time and he…was not. If the team tried to honor people’s time and get started, we’d have to stop and bring him up to speed when he arrived. It was disrespectful, frankly, and was a terrible impression of our company to new clients. Be early or at least on time if you’re not coming from somewhere else. If you have an overlapping meeting and are using Teams, just drop a note in the chat not to wait for you.

    We also had “meeting attendance creep” where I work now. The CEO got so annoyed he made it very clear that his meetings start ON TIME and he expected everyone to be there early or no later than the start. He’s a busy man and Outlook should notify you at least 5 minutes ahead. We got the hint.

    OP doesn’t say who all is in this meeting, but if anyone is a Lead of any sort, they have places to go. A few minutes may not matter to OP and they’re welcome to run their meetings that way, but if this is important to these teams, be respectful and be on time. Take your phone or laptop with you on mute if you need to grab water. Plan ahead for a bathroom break or just quietly slip out after logging in. It obviously matters to the people they are meeting with so respect that.

  132. Jules*

    We had this issue across our company and we determined the biggest cause was people have 8 straight hours of back to back meetings. We set a company-wide policy that meeting lengths are 25 minutes, 50 minutes, or 75 minutes. This normalized having built-in breathing space between zoom calls. We’re one year in and the change has been remarkable. People work very hard to protect those 5, 10, 10 minute windows!

    1. Jiminy Cricket*

      This is so smart. Even if you spend those five minutes staring at the ceiling to reset your brain.

  133. Dinwar*

    Our company requires a safety topic be discussed at the start of every meeting. Partially, this is to keep safety in the forefront–and it works, with enough people tossing out ideas you eventually get some good ones. But what it also does is provide a 3-5 minute buffer at the start of the meeting. Being a few minutes late isn’t a huge deal because you’re not missing anything in the meeting. Not that safety isn’t important, but honestly the same handful of topics get recycled to the point where unless it’s something really interesting you’re not missing much (and if you do you can always reach out to folks after the meeting).

  134. Jodi*

    OP is adopting quite an attitude about her colleagues getting frustrated with her holding up the meetings. It may only be 2 minutes, but sit for 2 minutes and see just how long it feels. I set my reminder for 5-10 min ahead of time and that’s when I go get my water or use the bathroom .I don’t wait until the scheduled time of the meeting to do so. I’ve worked with someone who was a few minutes late to every single meeting our group had scheduled and though we all managed to be on time , we would either sit and wait on her or the presenter would start over again when she arrived.

    1. Jessica Clubber Lang*

      ” It may only be 2 minutes, but sit for 2 minutes and see just how long it feels”

      That’s what I was thinking with the sweater letter this morning

    2. Momma Bear*

      I trust that if OP says 2-3 it really is that quick…but a lot of people have time blindness and it’s longer than they think it is.

  135. Adereterial*

    Most of my meetings are 30 minutes long and I’m often bouncing from one to another. 30 minutes is also a bit of a stretch in terms of getting everything done in them too.

    If you’re persistently 3 minutes late then you’re eating up 10% (and more, once you’ve said hello and so has everyone else) of the limited time I have. I get that sometimes this happens – I’m late on occasion myself – but if it’s every time it’s definitely going to annoy me and I’m going to feel like you don’t respect my time enough to even bother letting me know. As a result I’m less likely to make time for you in the future.

    Either make an effort to be on time, or an effort to let people know you’re running late.

  136. Suzanne*

    Generally it’s good to be signed in to a meeting on time unless you’re being held over from a previous meeting or call. In those cases it’s polite to type into the chat window that you’re held up and will join im approximately X minutes. This lets people know that you haven’t forgotten about the meeting, but that you are unable to jump into it just yet. If it’s a face-to-face in person meeting, you can always text someone if you have their contact information or send a quick email and let them know.

  137. teensyslews*

    Maybe this is because I’m a Very Punctual person but if I am going to be late to a meeting for whatever reason I shoot a “will be joining X mins late” note into the meeting chat. That way they know I’m still coming, I don’t get pinged, and I can go grab my water or bio break or just lay my head on the desk for 30 seconds before the next meeting.

  138. LCH*

    if they can start without you, then it wouldn’t be a big deal. but if they have to wait for you (or everyone) to join, that is very annoying.

  139. INTPLibrarian*

    In reddit speak, yeah, being late especially if it happens often means YTA.

    If you have back to back meetings that are causing it, let the person responsible for the meeting know. I suspect the pings are a passive aggressive way to let you know your unreliability is not ok.

  140. mbs001*

    The OP has no regard for anyone else’s time. It sounds as though she’s often late — and doesn’t seem bothered that she’s holding up the meeting. I have a busy schedule and need meetings to start and finish on time and perhaps her coworkers do as well. I agree with another comment that the OP’s attitude is the biggest issue. It’s all about them.

  141. thelettermegan*

    I like to think of meetings as those glass and plastic balls we all have to juggle. Some will let people trickle in as necessary, some really need every person on time so that the schedule can keep moving.

    So the trick is to figure out which is which and adjust expectactions accordingly. Also consider every meeting request and ask if you really are required to be there. We’ve all been called into meetings where the organizer was mistaken about who needed to be there and why.

    If/when I find myself being a couple minutes late for a virtual meeting and it’s not a five-alarm fire meeting, I usually join, then put ‘BRB’ in the chat, do those water-related tasks, and then throw a ‘back’ in the chat when I return. I always manage to get back before people finish the pre-meeting chitchat.

    If that’s too casual, you can also just say it in the meeting that you need to step away for a hot second, as you just came out of another meeting.

  142. Van Wilder*

    It also annoys me when people ping me after only 2-3 minutes, although I understand it depending on who’s involved/how critical I am to that particular meeting. E.g., if a client is on the line and I’m the only one from my team that actually knows enough to lead the meeting.

    I try to head this off by pinging the Teams chat for the meeting and saying I’ll be a few minutes late, but sometimes I’m so wrapped up in the previous meeting that it doesn’t happen. So I settle for being occasionally annoyed. Although at my workplace, it’s definitely not every meeting that people are pinging me.

  143. Veryanon*

    If I’m in back-to-back meetings and there’s a chance I’ll run late, I usually just ping the next meeting person to let them know in our teams chat feature. It’s typically not a big deal as everyone understands back-to-back meetings.

  144. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    I’m curious about how long these meetings are. 2 or 3 minutes is probably not a big problem for a 60 or 90 minute meeting. When you only have 20-30 minutes, it’s a significant portion of the time. And can make a difference in whether you accomplish the objectives of the meeting.

    So I’d suggest doing your best to be conscientious and get to meetings on time whenever you can. If not, a quick message saying you’re unfortunately tied up and will join when you can would probably be appreciated.

  145. sara*

    This used to be me at the start of working from home (being 2-3 min late for every meeting) and the fix that worked for me is to set the meeting reminder to be 2 min before the meeting. It was initially 10 minutes. I’d get the reminder and then overestimate what I could get done before the meeting started… Now, when I get the reminder, it’s only enough time to quickly wrap up, grab a glass of water, and join the call.

    If it’s a meeting at an unusual time or when I’m in a deep focus/deadline mode, I’ll also give myself a 20min heads up, so that I’m not deeply immersed in my tasks.

  146. I Talk About Motorcycles Too Much*

    One thing that I haven’t seen anyone else mention in the comments is that this kind of behavior can also help lead to senior management demanding that employees return to the office because they feel that staff are not managing their time well. As others have mentioned, it is so often assumed that people will now be on time, repeated instances of meetings starting late due to waiting on late attendees can easily be interpreted as “goofing off” even if it is simply back-to-back meetings and a need for bio-breaks. Because I do not want my team forced back into the office, I always advise my staff to be sure to manage these expectations as clearly as possible (with time buffers and Teams messages) so we get to remain remote even as others are being asked (forced) to return.

  147. Gal Friday*

    It happens, especially if your meetings are running back-to-back. If you know you are going to be a few minutes late for an online meeting, I view it as a courtesy to send a quick chat message to the organizer or the meeting chat that you will be joining momentarily. They don’t have to chase you down and wonder if you missed the meeting invite.

  148. TrudyLou*

    The culture in my company is that meetings start “on-the-dot.” Even arriving at the appointed hour could mean the meeting has already started. It’s exhausting.

  149. Red Wheel Barrow*

    I wonder if the OP is taking the unwritten rules they’ve encountered about punctuality for in-person meetings, and applying them to Zoom meetings, not realizing that the latter often begin more strictly on time? Either way, as Alison and others have pointed out, they have the information they need to conform to their company’s expectations around punctuality.

  150. OP*

    OP here. It’s obvious that I left out some useful details in my letter, and I’m seeing a fair amount of projection and fanfiction in the comments, so I’m responding to clarify.

    Funny story: I would’ve liked to respond earlier, but I was in the middle of 4 hours of back-to-back meetings. :)

    1. I’m shocked at the amount of people who can’t comprehend the issues that arise when you have back-to-back meetings. Yes, a lot of this 2-3 minute late IS due to my back-to-back meeting schedule. I spend about 50% of my time in meetings and often have to stack my meetings because I work with some people in earlier time zones. So most of my meetings are scheduled in one half of the day with few or no breaks.

    2. Some commenters seem to have latched on to the idea that I have a reputation for lateness or that I’m late to every meeting. This is not the case. I have someone pinging me like this maybe once every other week? It’s less the frequency that’s the issue than it is the tone.

    3. Most of the team members I work with have lighter meeting schedules than me. (On average, I would say they spend 25-30% less time in meetings.) So I think there’s a disconnect in that they can’t understand why I might be held up.

    4. Most of the more senior people I work with have packed schedules like mine or worse, and they show up late to meetings more frequently than I do. So that’s why I said: “people are typically pretty prompt but can sometimes run late when jumping from meeting to meeting.” Culturally, I don’t think I’m completely off base.

    5. Meetings are actually not well run at this company. Meeting hosts are generally not good at wrangling discussions and getting meetings done on time. The guy who made the “what the hell” comment has a frequent habit of running meetings 30+ minutes past the end time. Generally, I have to be very proactive about telling people I have a hard stop and need to leave at the meeting end time.

    6. I do make a point of pinging people to tell them I’ll be a few minutes late to meetings. However, sometimes I just forget to do that! And often, I’m the person sharing my screen during a call and can’t switch over to chat in order to warn the participants of the next meeting that I’m running late.

    7. I don’t appreciate the folks who called me “rude” or said I don’t respect my coworkers’ time. I absolutely don’t want to keep people waiting, but sometimes stuff happens during the workday. Sometimes it does take me a minute or two to switch from one virtual meeting to another (ask me how much I hate waiting on Teams). Sometimes I need a glass of water. Sometimes a colleague is messaging me while I’m trying to join my next meeting. *shrugs*

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Thank you for your clarification. OP I don’t think you should have needed to explain yourself, I thought your letter was clear. I also don’t understand why people think this way as the commenters have.

    2. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      I just thought of something. Could you put teams or whatever messaging you use on your cell phone, so if you are running late you could still message someone? Or do you have a second monitor? There should be a way where you can share only one screen and so you could have teams up on the second one and let the other person know you are late. Also, Could you just proactivly tell people that you have back to back meetings and will be in the meeting as soon as possible.

      1. OP*

        These are good ideas, both to use Teams on my phone as well as proactively telling people that I’m in back-to-back meetings. Thank you for the practical suggestions!

        1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

          Glad to help!
          Just thought of something else. This probably all depends on your work, but is there any way you could build in buffer time into your meetings? So let’s say you have a meeting with Cecil and you know he always takes longer than the 1 hour. So you put a block of 30 minutes on your schedule after his meeting so that when he goes over you won’t be late to another meeting.

          Or is there any way you can be more clear with your clients (or whoever these meetings are with) that when the meeting is scheduled you have a hard stop?

          1. OP*

            The good thing is that these meetings are all internal (with coworkers, not clients).

            I can sometimes build buffers into my schedule when I’m dealing with Cecils (if you know what I mean), but I don’t always have that option. There are certain people who tend to let meetings run over–I could be a little more proactive in having those calls when I have extra or communicating to them that I have a packed schedule. So that’s not a bad idea.

      2. goducks*

        I’ve gotten a ton of mileage out of both pinging from Teams on my phone when I’m running late, and just telling the team host when I accept the invite that my day is jammed up, and that I may be running a few minutes late, and that they should feel free to start without me.
        People understand that sometimes a person needs to be late to a meeting, they just hate when they’re sitting around wondering what’s going on.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      1. I’m shocked at the amount of people who can’t comprehend the issues that arise when you have back-to-back meetings.

      We CAN comprehend the issues, we just also recognize steps we take (communicating when we’ll be late, holding firm to end times, etc.) to curtail keeping others waiting and unsure if I’m on my way.

      2. Some commenters seem to have latched on to the idea that I have a reputation for lateness or that I’m late to every meeting. This is not the case. I have someone pinging me like this maybe once every other week? It’s less the frequency that’s the issue than it is the tone.

      Once every other week is actually quite often, in my opinion. And what is the tone? All you say in your letter is they ask “Are you joining the call?” which is a genuine question. Unless it’s followed by a bunch of eye roll emojis I’m not seeing what’s wrong with it?

      I do make a point of pinging people to tell them I’ll be a few minutes late to meetings. However, sometimes I just forget to do that!

      Okay, but forgetting to do that is on YOU. The person pinging you isn’t being rude simply because you didn’t communicate.

      And often, I’m the person sharing my screen during a call and can’t switch over to chat in order to warn the participants of the next meeting that I’m running late.

      Can you not text? Or use a different device to send a message? I’m asking sincerely, because that would be the logical option.

      I don’t appreciate the folks who called me “rude” or said I don’t respect my coworkers’ time.

      I mean, sarcastically including “(Shock! Horror!)” when talking about someone doing something as routine as asking if you’re joining the meeting is pretty flippant, so yeah, people are going to react to that.

      Look, it sounds like there are other issues at play here (like meetings no being well run) but you seem intent on deflecting any responsibility you have in this. You can make it a point to let folks know you’re running late. You can express at the start of a meeting that you have a hard stop at a certain time (or if you recognize you’ve got back to back meetings, communicate ahead of time with folks about working in buffer time). Most importantly, you can (and should) take the pings from your colleagues at face value rather than acting as though they’re doing something horrible.

      1. goducks*

        All this. LW, you want grace extended to you for being late due to circumstances, or occasionally failing to communicate that you’re running late, but you don’t seem to be extending grace to the people in meetings you’re late to for checking in to make sure you’re attending or to get an ETA.

      2. I'm just here for the cats!!*

        I don’t think this is fair to the OP. I think we should trust the OP that there is a tone that comes through the IM. And sometimes you don’t think about texting or using another device to chat with someone. Sometimes the easiest answer is not so obvious (which is why the OP reached out to AAM).
        Also, it sounds like the OP’s coworkers don’t have as many back-to-back meetings as they do. So to them it seems like the OP is just wasting people’s time, but in reality, the OP has had 3 meetings already and hasn’t had a chance to use the bathroom.

        1. goducks*

          The issue isn’t needing to use the bathroom, it’s being late without communicating. That’s rude to anybody, no matter how many meetings they do or don’t have. Making people sit and wait and wonder is not ok. If the LW were communicating their ETA, they wouldn’t be getting pinged by the people waiting.

          1. OP*

            I’m currently 6 months pregnant, so when I say I need to use the bathroom between meetings, I mean on an hourly basis.

            I try and ping my colleagues when that means I’m going to be late, but sometimes I’m in a rush to go (having held it for a while!) or sometimes I forget. I guess if you want to crucify me for that, you’re welcome to do so.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              No one is crucifying you, and dramatics aren’t endearing. I’ve been pregnant so I get it! The issue here isn’t that you have issues that make you late, it’s that you a) keep deflecting ways that you could either communicate that OR add in buffer time between meetings and b) the fact that you’re assigning malice to someone simply texting to ask if you’re on your way.

              My suggestion is:

              A) Stop getting mad at people for simply texting and asking if you’re coming. It’s a normal action and there is nothing wrong with it.

              B) Come up with a plan for letting folks know if you’re running late. I know you can’t always message on your own device, but if this is a common thing I would recommend asking about getting at least one person’s phone number to text them OR try to use a different device (phone, iPad, whatever the options may be) to ping them so they aren’t left waiting. If absolutely NONE of that is an option, proactively let folks know “Hey, I’ve got a meeting right before this and may be running a little late. Please feel free to start without me/Please don’t ping me until 5 minutes or so.”

              C) Make it clear when meetings are being set up that you need a certain amount of time between them. If you’ve got a 1-2 meeting followed by a 2-3, ask the 2-3 if they can push it back by ten minutes (or ask the 1-2 to start ten minutes early, whatever works better).

              D) Don’t be afraid to establish hard stops and stick to them.

              If you get pushback on these actions, then the company is the problem, but if you get angry at others before even trying to find ways to communication/balancing the time you need then that’s on you.

            2. goducks*

              Nobody’s crucifying you for it. You’re allowed to need to use the bathroom. But if you fail to communicate that you’re going to be late, that’s on you.
              I’ve been in stacked meetings plenty. I’ve been in stacked meetings while very pregnant plenty. When I am late and fail to communicate my status and people have to wonder when/if I’m showing up, that’s my failure not theirs. It’s not the end of the world, but they’re not the bad guy for wondering where I’m at. I should have told them. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know that you’re just 3 minutes behind. All they know is you’re not there. Perhaps you’ll be there momentarily. Perhaps you will be 20 min late. Perhaps you forgot. They don’t know! That’s why they’re asking!

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          I think we should trust the OP that there is a tone that comes through the IM.

          But all we have is OPs own words, which is that the texts say “Are you joining the call?” which has no tone other than the one the OP ascribes to it. Someone could text me “Happy Birthday!” and I could decide they were being malicious, but it doesn’t mean they were.

          And sometimes you don’t think about texting or using another device to chat with someone. Sometimes the easiest answer is not so obvious (which is why the OP reached out to AAM).

          Yes, but OP is continuing to harp on everyone else being the problem, not them. The OP’s question wasn’t “How can I be better about communicating to others I’ll be late” but “Any suggestions on how to handle [people asking me if I’m joining a meeting] or what to say when people make ungenerous comments?” And the OP even says in their comment that sometimes they “just forget” as though it’s a small thing. But if getting pinged for lateness bothers them so much maybe they should put in more effort to remember to do that?

          And quite frankly, just because the OP hasn’t thought of it doesn’t mean it’s everyone else’s problem! It’s still on them to be responsible and communicate.

          Also, it sounds like the OP’s coworkers don’t have as many back-to-back meetings as they do. So to them it seems like the OP is just wasting people’s time, but in reality, the OP has had 3 meetings already and hasn’t had a chance to use the bathroom.

          Which is why I laid out above all of the ways OP can take charge of their own situation (communicating lateness, communicating a hard stop, communicating the need for a buffer time between meetings). They are welcome to utilize those rather than blaming their co-workers for having the audacity to check that they are still attending a meeting.

          I’ve had back to back meetings! I get it can be brutal! But I don’t just leave folks waiting.

      3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Can you not text? Or use a different device to send a message? I’m asking sincerely, because that would be the logical option.
        Not the OP but if we’re talking about 1-3 minutes and the reason I can’t get out is because I’m wrapping up a conversation or screen sharing, trying to find another device/method will cause even more of a delay. I can’t talk and text at the same time. It would take at least a minute for my ND brain to form the thought, task switch, select a device/method, remember what channel/person it should go to, and type it out — that time is better spent wrapping it up so I can hop over to the next call.

        Obviously we all bring our stuff to this. To me, a couple/few minutes is well within normal parameters and once every week or two is a great track record in my book.

        1. OP*

          “Not the OP but if we’re talking about 1-3 minutes and the reason I can’t get out is because I’m wrapping up a conversation or screen sharing, trying to find another device/method will cause even more of a delay.”

          Yes, besides the fact that I don’t have my coworkers’ cell numbers, this is what is happening.

          I am also ND, so it does take me a minute to switch tasks. If a meeting ends at 1o AM on the dot, it takes a moment to a minute to finish my notes, log on to the next one, and for Teams to join the call. Which means it’s 10:02 by the time I’m in the meeting, even if I join immediately. I dunno, I’m doing the best that I can and I do & try to warn people that I’ll be with them momentarily. I can’t make my computer software work faster.

          1. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

            I don’t think people are trying to come down on you for this, but it seems like the key issue here is that with back to back meetings and task switching issues, etc, that means you need to account for those facts and leave your previous meeting 2-3 minutes before your next one. It is always more appropriate to duck out on time/slightly early than to be late. Exception is if the previous meeting is critical or high status, but in that case tell people that.

          2. Jessica Clubber Lang*

            It sounds like you’ve got a lot going on in general – I wouldn’t worry too much about one IM every other week!

      4. OP*

        “Can you not text? Or use a different device to send a message? I’m asking sincerely, because that would be the logical option.”

        No, actually, I can’t. I don’t have most of my coworkers’ cell numbers. Texting each other is not really part of the culture here.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Okay, but what about using your phone/another device to send an email? Or could you push for it to be part of the culture? As in “Hey, I’ve noticed it’s difficult for me to let you all know I’m running late because I’m in another meeting and my screen is presenting. Would it be better to share our phone numbers so I can text in those instances?”

          1. OP*

            I don’t have a work phone and don’t have email access on my phone.

            I do have Teams on my phone, but don’t keep it at my desk at all times. I do think I could try to use Teams on my phone more often to notify people, so I’ll try to do that. (Still, it’s hard for me to remember when I’m in the middle of wrapping up a conversation at the end of a meeting. I guess other people don’t struggle with that kind of thing?)

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              (Still, it’s hard for me to remember when I’m in the middle of wrapping up a conversation at the end of a meeting. I guess other people don’t struggle with that kind of thing?)

              Think of it the same as you do any other issue you’re struggling with (at work or otherwise) and work at it. Put a post-note up as a reminder (or set an alarm reminder somewhere). Maybe even communicate with someone before any of your meetings that you’re in back-to-backs and may be behind, and let them know what you would prefer they do if you’re running late. That way they aren’t having to ping you.

              1. Sara C*

                I like this idea. If you truly don’t have a way to build in buffers between meetings, and you know you’re stacked back to back all day, email meeting organizers in advance to say you have a previous meeting ending right on the hour and they can start without you/whatever other solution you want to suggest. If the default is that you want the meeting to start at 10:05 instead of 10, then tell them that so that everyone else can use that 5 minutes to take a break themselves instead of waiting on you.

    4. ABC*

      I have someone pinging me like this maybe once every other week? It’s less the frequency that’s the issue than it is the tone.

      I mean, you used the word “frequently” yourself to describe how often you are getting these messages. We’re only going with what you said.

      1. OP*

        It’s frequent compared to other jobs I’ve had. I think I’m used to a culture where I’m working with a team that’s very busy and has a high load of meetings. At this job, I am the one with all the meetings, and the rest of my team has maybe 1 hour of meetings per day. So I guess I used to waiting on busy coworkers and they are not.

        1. MaxedBookPro*

          “I am the one with all the meetings, and the rest of my team has maybe 1 hour of meetings per day. So I guess I used to waiting on busy coworkers and they are not.”

          Just because your coworkers aren’t in a lot of meetings doesn’t mean they aren’t busy too. My role doesn’t have a lot of meetings, as a rule, but I would say I’m routinely swamped (and my colleagues would agree). And if I’m routinely in a meeting that is being held up for someone else’s lateness, it throws off my projects…making me even busier. And round and round it goes.

        2. l*

          There definitely are workplaces that operate like this (both very busy AND have an entrenched culture of people regularly being late/making others wait around), but they are a little dysfunctional and it’s probably best not to assume they are the norm.

          The places I’ve worked that have been extremely busy tend to have a lot less tolerance for time-wasting and higher expectations for proactive communication about things like lateness, because it’s counter-productive for people to be wasting time routinely waiting for each other when they have high workloads of time-sensitive tasks.

        3. Gemstones*

          You’re making it sound like it’s barely an issue now, in your responses. But then why write in to begin with, if you don’t think it’s a big deal?

    5. E*

      Okay, but when you’re habitually late to the point where your coworkers are frequently checking in on you to see if you’re coming to a meeting, it is rude, and it does signal that you don’t respect your coworkers’ time. I think people would be more inclined to take you at face value if you hadn’t changed your story about what it is that you’re doing that makes you late to these meetings and if you weren’t trying your absolute best to avoid taking any responsibility. I have back-to-back meetings multiple days a week, every week, and I still manage to make it work by using my voice and actually telling people what I need. A quick Teams message to say, “Hey, my meeting ran over/is about to run over a bit and I can’t avoid it, can we start in five minutes while I take a bio break/get some water?” goes a long way to making people feel that you care whether or not their own valuable time is being wasted. And yes, it is also valuable. Your coworkers aren’t simply twiddling their thumbs while you’re in meetings for half the day.

      As far as being culturally off-base, you said it yourself — the people you work with who also have packed schedules are senior to you, and it doesn’t sound like you’re yet at the level where it’s a consideration others must take into account when scheduling meetings with you. The senior folks get more grace because it’s inherently understood that their schedules are packed with high-priority meetings. You do not get that grace because you are not at that level. I think you are working very hard to absolve yourself of responsibility.

    6. Lucia Pacciola*

      2. Then what’s the problem? Once every two weeks, you get pinged about joining, from an enthusiastic meeting host. That’s not actually a big deal.

      6. Yes. Yes you can. “Excuse me, I need to let my next meeting know I’m running a little late” is totally fine.

    7. Teagan*

      OP, you are not off base. This comments section is ridiculous and it seems like people are personalizing this and turning you into some kind of avatar for every late coworker who ever wronged them. A couple commenters are being particularly harsh.

      My advice: let people know when you accept the meeting notice that you have a meeting right before and may be a couple minutes late and they are OK to start without you. Then if you are screensharing or simply forget after hours of meetings with no break, you don’t need to worry about it in the moment.

      1. edda ed*

        The OP got a little dramatic (“if you want to crucify me”) when goducks laid out the issues around low/no communication and further rebuffed Jennifer Strange’s proposed solution of texting to let the next meeting know. Which, if a commenter’s suggestion won’t work for OP’s specific situation, that’s fine that OP can’t use it, but the suggestion was earnestly made, and I did notice OP has been similarly short on a consistent basis. We don’t know what we don’t know. If a commenter makes a suggestion that won’t work, it wasn’t intentionally trying to dunk on OP, it’s just someone’s best effort from the limited information available to us.

    8. NeutralJanet*

      If you wanted to sound like you respected your coworkers time and absolutely don’t want to keep people waiting, you probably should have been a little less snarky about people pinging you to ask if you’re coming! You seem to think that the problem is that people are annoyed by you being late, rather than you being late being the problem.

    9. danielle*

      All this makes total sense… I’m a bit late to commenting, and tried to browse the comments so not sure if others suggested this, but sometimes I will join the meeting and have my camera on and then leave my desk to run to the BR so people see I’m planning to join, just not there right away. Also, then I can sometimes listen while I’m in another room. Maybe helpful…?

  151. Sara C*

    I’m the on time person, and yes, it really is that annoying. Everyone is sitting around waiting on you and could be doing their own bathroom break/coffee break/getting work done instead, but they chose to be on time (and now may not have that break between this meeting and their next one, due to your lateness). Yes, emergencies happen, but if this is happening so much that you’re noticing it and other people are commenting on it, just…fix it?

  152. fhqwhgads*

    I have a certain thrice-weekly meeting with a certain team. Standing meeting. Time doesn’t change. It’s six people. 5 of us are always on time or someone slacks to say their earlier meeting is running over, or they have a conflict or whatever.
    One person is always late. It’s been a year. At first he was late anywhere from 4-10 minutes. At some point his manager talked to him about timeliness. We offered to move the time to later if that’d be more convenient for him, even though he was consulted on the original time from the jump. In both cases he said no the time wasn’t an issue. Since then he’s consistently 2-3 minutes late.
    Intellectually, I feel SO silly saying anything because, 2 minutes! But it’s the rest of us sitting there Every Flipping Time. And it gets old.

    So to OP I say, if you were late like this 2-3 times a year, NBD. If it’s more of a pattern than that, and you’re the only one that doesn’t give a heads up you’re running late, you’re being inconsiderate because there’s an established norm of “say something”. Because the same behavior from anyone else would mean they forgot about the meeting and appreciate the nudge. If you appear to need the nudge, you look like you’re not On Top Of Your Stuff. The 2 minutes isn’t the reall problem, the Not Being On Top Of Stuff is.

  153. She of Many Hats*

    If the LW is getting the “are you joining us?” enough to be annoyed, I suspect they need to utilize their tools to set up automatic meeting reminders several minutes before they need to join so they are late less often and to communicate more proactively ie “I have a hard stop at this time” or “I’m tied up and will be late”.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      The OP writes above that the problem is they have multiple back to back meetings that often go over. And they are sometimes sharing their screen so it is not as simple as chatting someone they are running late.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        They also said they sometimes just forget to ping them, which is on them. Also, they can still communicate that they have a hard stop at a certain time, or (of they know they have multiple back to back meetings) they can reach out before hand to the organizers about building in time for themselves. Yes, back to backs suck, but it’s on them to be proactive in this.

        Also, none of this changes that the co-workers aren’t being rude by pinging the LW.

  154. Natebrarian*

    The real problem here is the sort of culture where meetings that go right up to the hour is the norm, and don’t build in a bathroom/stretch/etc break.

    LW, can you let people know you need to finish your previous meeting a few minutes early? It’s much better to be the person who says “I need to end at 1:55” than to be the person who’s always late.

    I know it’s awkward to be the person to leave when there’s still conversation, but I’ve had that one person in a small team who consistently is a few minutes late to meetings, which means that either a) I start without them, or b) everyone else is just making awkward chit chat while they wait for the person who is never on time.

    1. OP*

      Saying “I need to end at 1:55” is probably the best practical solution here, but I’ll admit I have a hard time being the awkward person who has to duck out early.

      Also, the senior folks and execs I work with don’t do that, even if they have back-to-back meeting. They just leave on time or stick around and end up being late to their next meeting. So… yeah, it’s tough, culturally speaking.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        If it makes you feel awkward to duck out early could you just not accept a meeting that begins right after another one? Or even just reply to the meeting request with “I’ve got a meeting right before this and will need time in between. Can we push it back by ten minutes”?

      2. Natebrarian*

        I understand. My grandboss is the same way. Makes me crazy, because of course that’s the person who sets the organizational culture.

        I would just say “I have another meeting at 2, so I need to sign off at 1:55 to transition to that one.” Culture shift has to start somewhere…

  155. Juniantara*

    Just want to say that the norms around meeting start times can vary wildly even by groups in the same company – I support multiple sites and have to adjust mentally between “allow 10 minutes for everyone to show up” and “someone will ping you if you aren’t on two minutes early” (not exaggerating here). Not matching the prevailing attitude about meeting starts (either way) can use up an unexpectedly large amount of grace and political capital – my advice is to try to accept the local culture gracefully, whatever it may be.

  156. I Have RBF*

    If I don’t set alarms and hear reminders I *will* be late to meetings. It’s an ADHD thing.

    What I do is:
    A) Allow Outlook to have audible reminders 15 minutes ahead of time. Then I “snooze” them until 5 minutes
    B) At the 5 minute warning, I join the meeting, and continue with whatever else I was doing. I’m usually the first to join.
    C) If, for some reason, I end up in the bathroom, I copy the meeting link into my personal chat, then join from my phone

    I used this same type of thing in person, except I would act on the 15 minute warning and move to the conference room.

  157. TokenJockNerd*

    I am absurdly punctual, so I’m approaching this from the perspective of “the person who will literally die of breaking my own standards if I’m late.”

    The attitude here towards making everyone wait is, uh, kind of baffling. Let’s say you’ve been 3 minutes late to 20 meetings and appointments. EVERYONE is waiting for you for a whole hour. That’s so much making everyone wait for you! I’m sure you’re delightful but I don’t think anyone is “wait an hour for them” delightful, and work isn’t really about that anyway.

  158. Cynic*

    You have only been there 8 months, and you’ve been late often enough that people are pinging you to find out when/if you are coming.

    Start leaving yourself an extra 5 minutes to use the restroom or fetch that drink.

  159. Tommy Girl*

    I’m fully remote, and people are much more prompt now, being remote. We would ping you if you weren’t there in about 3 minutes. I find that the “small talk” part at the beginning can be a bit harder with remote work, so people often are sitting in dead silence. Or the poor meeting lead is trying to generate small talk and failing. I also regularly lead one meeting where one of the attendees will start discussing items on our agenda as soon as she arrives (NOT in the order I want to), so I have to start that meeting right away or else she takes over.

  160. Lori*

    Working from home is not a good reason for showing up late to a meeting. It’s disrespectful and shows that you don’t value the time of others. iIf you know you will be late, ping the leader and let them know you will be joining late. It sounds like the writer isn’t able to manage their time. If I were leading the calls I would send out a group email about the importance of being on time for meetings. If that didn’t work I would escalate the issue.

  161. Elle by the sea*

    2-3 mins doesn’t seem like a big issue, but it’s better to ping people when you know you are being a few mins late. I always try to do that: “sorry, running a few mins late”.

  162. Flossie Bobbsey*

    The start time of a virtual meeting is not the opportunity to grab a glass of water or use the restroom; that’s what the few minutes BEFORE the meeting are for. In some cases, an in-person meeting naturally lends itself to using the first minute or two for everyone to grab a coffee or water (assuming those are set up within the room) before everyone settles into a chair to start the substance. But a virtual meeting has none of that natural cushion, whether it’s internal or external.

    I’m not naturally punctual but find it pretty rude when people arrive late to a virtual meeting, especially if the same person does it routinely. That coupled with the pings says that it’s a “you” issue and that OP needs to manage their quick breaks or prior meeting end times much better given the culture of OP’s particular office.

  163. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

    Go get a drink or use the bathroom 5-10 minutes before the mtg start time, not at the meeting start time. Not sure why that is difficult for some people? Set a phone timer. Set your email appointment time reminder for 10 minutes ahead. It’s easy to not be late all the time.

    1. Keyboard Jockey*

      >Not sure why that is difficult for some people?

      Because a lot of us don’t have just one meeting, we have many meetings back to back. I had 5 meetings over the course of three hours today with zero breaks in between, some of them ran over, and this was a light meeting day for me. Yeah, I’m gonna be a couple minutes late, and I’m gonna be annoyed that you pinged me about it while I was running to the toilet.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Yeah, I’m gonna be a couple minutes late, and I’m gonna be annoyed that you pinged me about it while I was running to the toilet.

        You’re going to be annoyed that someone isn’t able to read your mind and know you’ll be there in a couple of minutes? That’s an odd reaction. Why not be proactive and send them a message letting them know you’ll be there in a couple of minutes instead of expecting them to somehow know?

  164. Courtbot*

    This letter makes me appreciate my company’s meeting policy which requires a buffer in between meetings. Instead of 30 minute meetings, we schedule 25 minute meetings starting at 5 after and 1 hour meetings become 50 min meetings starting at 10 after. In my experience it does a great job of eliminating this type of minor lateness and you really don’t lose much productivity since the time you’re cutting if often spent waiting. It’s always a little jarring when I have meetings with external orgs and have to go back to meeting right on the hour/half hour

    1. OP*

      This is the policy with my husband’s employer (he’s also remote). I think it’s brilliant. not only does it give people time to use the bathroom, grab a snack, etc., it forces people to be thoughtful and efficient with their use of meeting time.

      And if your 50-minute meeting runs two minutes over, that means there’s still eight minutes left for folks to log onto next call! Building in a buffer keeps everyone running on time.

    2. Jiminy Cricket*

      This is so smart. A 50-minute meeting that starts at the top of the hour can often eat up the whole hour anyway, but one that starts at x:10 can’t. I’m going to suggest that to my team.

  165. el l*

    As you can see, there’s so much of this that is personal and cultural preference. And it brooks no argument.

    Are the same people who are sticklers for on-time start ALSO the ones who have their meetings run long? Wonder if you have 2 competing sensibilities in your company. Because you can either have meetings both end and start promptly on time, OR you can have 5 minutes of give on both start and end. BUT you can’t have both prompt start and late end at the same time.

    Personally, I’d gauge who I fear more. The ones who go nuts at a 5-minutes-late start…or the ones you tell at 5-to, “I have a meeting in 5, need to go now.”

  166. T'Cael Zaanidor Kilyle*

    I’m the person who spaces out and misses the meeting start time. Please ping me! I don’t intend to be late, but I also might be completely unaware that the meeting is starting. While I understand that alerting me is not my coworkers’ responsibility, I also appreciate it.

    1. My brain is weird*

      Why is the time between the reminder & the start of the meeting just enough time to forget the meeting though?

      1. I Have RBF*

        I wish I knew.

        Outlook only has five minute increments for reminders. (Literally, if you chack the “Options”, “Calendar”, then “Default reminders” you can only select 5 minute increments.) So it goes off at 15 minutes before, and I snooze it until 5 minutes before. When the 5 minute alarm goes off I have to join, otherwise I will get dived into something and be 10 minutes or more late.

        If I could snooze it until 2 minutes before it would be nice, but Outlook isn’t designed for people like me.

        1. ClaireW*

          I mentioned this up-thread but if you also use Slack, you can have the Outlook for Slack integration send you a reminder as a message exactly 1 minute before the meeting starts! The 10+ minute reminders aren’t useful for me either but this one is because 1 minute is time to join the meeting so I can’t get distracted.

          1. I Have RBF*

            Unfortunately, we use Zoom enterprise chat. Slack with Outlook would make meeting reminders more configurable, and is what I did at a previous job.

        2. Turtles All the Way Down*

          If you don’t close the 5 minute reminder, it will continue to count down. Not remind you again, but if you glance at it, it will say 3 minutes, 1 minute, etc.

  167. Coin_Operated*

    Okay, I sort of understand the lateness of in-person meetings, but all you’ll complain about having to “wait” a few minutes to start a Zoom meeting… when you’re at your computers, and you could just work if you can’t start. I’m in Zoom meetings all the time and if we’re not “starting” or we’re in a part of the meeting that doesn’t necessarily involve me I just have a project going that I can casually do while in the meeting. Almost every Zoom meeting I’ve been involved in has had a 5-minute grace period. If someone did ping me after a few minutes, I wouldn’t necessarily be upset, but it would come across to me as being more out of touch than being a few minutes late.

    1. Keyboard Jockey*

      Yeah, those couple minutes are often my time to finish up an email I started several hours ago or catch up on chat DMs. Being this picky about virtual meetings start times feels more like someone wants to feel in control than it does an actual issue.

  168. On time is NOT late*

    Agree with all of Alison’s points here (and vast majority of the comments) – I personally love the MS Teams feature that allows you to send a quick chat without changing windows when a Teams call starts.

    But I have to share an anecdote that used to drive me crazy. I was at a company in 2021 that did NOT have an on-time culture, and I had one co-worker who saw herself as virtuous for joining all calls 10 minutes early, which she could do because she rarely did any work. She would loudly sing that “early is on time and on time is late” to people who actually ran the company and did not have that expectation for anyone else.

    One time, I scheduled a critical call with a vendor and sent her an optional invitation as an FYI, and she started the call with the vendor before I had joined (on time)! Another time, she had scheduled a meeting at 4:00 and at 3:58 sent me an IM asking if I would be able to join or if they should start without me. I got the IM as I was joining (early) and struggled to contain my rage.

    Anyway, she got laid off in 2022 because she didn’t do anything of value for the company.

  169. Orion Quest*

    Not shock or horror, but if your coworkers are annoyed, it looks to me like it’s become a problem.

    Being late, especially regularly, makes it look like you don’t respect anyone’s time but your own. That’s damaging to working relationships.

  170. Serious Silly Putty*

    Keep in mind that YOU know you’ll just be a few minutes late, but OTHERS don’t know if you’re coming at all.
    Pinging at 2 minutes could be the reminder that means the meeting “only” starts 10 minutes late, after the person who forgot gets their computer on. Or it could save everyone else 10 minutes of waiting for a no-show. If I’m the person who set up the meeting, the first thing I’m going to do is panic that i didn’t something wrong— forgot to hit “save” on the google calendar invite, left an email in the drafts folder, etc. If I goofed and I don’t want to waste other people’s time, I need to rectify the situation ASAP.

    I say that if you don’t have a culture of 5 minutes of chitchat before things start, then the rule should be:
    If you don’t want to apologize for being late, be on time.

  171. Keyboard Jockey*

    I am kind of shocked at the number of people in the comments that consider 2 minutes late to be a significant inconvenience. In all my in-office time, across all my in-office jobs, a meeting that was not about performance never started less than 5 minutes late. And, frankly, if someone being 2 minutes late eats up so much of your agenda time that you can’t flex around it, your meetings should be scheduled for longer.

    This smells to me of an issue with RSVPs more than anything else. If you have a strong meeting RSVP culture, you know for a fact who you’re waiting on and who you’re not. If you don’t have a strong meeting RSVP culture, I can see how this would be more annoying.

    1. Bob*

      so… maybe the fact that your situation doesn’t appear to be the norm here should tip you off that your situation.. isn’t the norm?

    2. Kevin Sours*

      So when is it okay to consider it an inconvenience exactly? 5 minutes late? 10? The problem is that people are sitting around waiting for somebody to show up who may or may not be coming. I started getting very strict about punctuality with my meetings *when* I realized that meetings “never started less than 5 minutes late”. It’s deeply inconsiderate to the people who managed to show up on time to waltz in 10 minutes late. If you have to draw a bright line then expecting people to show up at the published meeting time is the only one available. And I found that setting that expectation means that meetings start starting on time. And I’ve found that one of the main reasons meetings run over is because they start late.

      So yeah, if people aren’t there by two minutes after, I’m pinging people and if that doesn’t work I’m either starting without them if they aren’t essential (and not playing catchup if they do show) or cancelling the meeting if they are.

      1. Coin_Operated*

        Not every role is able to be that flexible. For one, in my job, half of us regularly have to respond to “immediate” interruptions and can be forced to be late, or even pulled out of meetings entirely because something is going on that our jobs REQUIRE us to respond to, so our staff kind of have to just work around it in meetings sometimes.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Sure. If that’s the job, then that’s the job. And if it regularly occurs to the point of being a significant disruption, then perhaps meetings aren’t a good vehicle for communication in that role. But there is no indication of that here. And in my experience poor time management or a lack of consideration are far more common than bona fide job requirements.

  172. Hedgehug*

    A good way to handle this would be to…be on time.

    The attitude presented in the letter is not one that is very respectful of other people’s time.
    The coworkers have pinged on multiple occasions, so obviously for them, exactly on time is very important in this work environment.

    At only 8 months into the job, I’m worried OP is isolating themselves. I can hear the other coworkers now saying, “Oh look, OP is late again. Surprise, surprise!”

  173. SB*

    My meetings start on time & if people are late they miss the start, I won’t wait unless the person who is late is my presenter or someone from outside the organisation. It isn’t a big deal occasionally, but it really sounds like this is becoming the norm rather than the exception & that does reflect poorly on you with your coworkers.

    1. My brain is weird*

      I should also add that I don’t really care if someone is a little late to meetings as nothing of substance usually happens in those first few minutes, but I can guarantee that your coworkers are starting to notice if this is a regular thing & they will be resentful.

      1. WellRed*

        I don’t care if someone is late but I do care if the meeting starts late as a result. I think mtg organizers should start the mtg and any latecomers can quietly join. Oh, and no rehashing of anything they missed. Get it on your own time.

  174. whatadeebee*

    In previous roles I may have been the one who was late, but as I now host a lot of meetings myself, I make sure I’m on time as I’ve asked other people to be available for me at a set time.

    At my current company we give all attendees 1-2 minutes to join and then start pinging. This is pretty universal, not just my meetings. We also have an emphasis on only including people who need to be there (which I SO appreciate!) so we really can’t start until everyone is present. Luckily most people are punctual or give a heads up several minutes in advance if they are running behind so this isn’t an issue.

    I’ll also add that this is the most functional and productive company I have ever worked for and I think it’s in no small part due to us all being respectful of each other’s time and wanting to just get the work done.

  175. ina*

    LW, I used to be like you and think 2-3 min wasn’t a big deal. I also would have scoffed at 2-3 minutes being labeled disrespectful – particularly with all the things that can delay people (sometimes my Teams acts up and I would have been on time had the thing just cooperated).

    What *is* disrespectful is the lack of communication. It’s really easy to shoot a quick message to say “previous meeting is going over – apologies! Will be on in 1 min.” The radio silence is why they ping you. Because they have no clue if you are gonna hop on soon or if you totally forgot or what your ETA is.

  176. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

    I will absolutely ping someone on my team 1-2 minutes in. If someone knows they’re going to be late, they almost always let us know beforehand. So if someone hasn’t shown up, they’ve probably either lost track of time, or forgotten they have a meeting at all. So pinging them is a courtesy to remind them that there’s a meeting.

    I run meetings against an agenda, and while I’m willing to wait for someone, I need to know who’s coming when. Otherwise, we twiddle our thumbs for 5-10 minutes of a 25-minute meeting, wondering if we should start, or we end up repeating material when the person finally joins. Both of those waste everyone else’s time. If I know who’s coming when, I can decide whether I want to a) tell the team we’re waiting (and how long we’re waiting), b) go ahead because that person can afford to miss the first couple minutes, or c) shuffle material around at the last minute.

    TL;DR: If you know you’re running late, say so!

  177. Just Me*

    I’m on team if it’s virtual you better be logged in. For an in person meeting it is totally understandable to occasionally (not routinely) be late (for exactly the reasons mentioned – water/restroom break) but for virtual you didn’t have to go anywhere, so you really ought to be logged in at least 5 minutes ahead of time. If you need a restroom trip, do it quickly after logging in. If another meeting is running long, log in to the new meeting and put in the chat that you’ll be ready to talk in a minute or two after you wrap up a prior meeting. The only excuse I can see for late-ness to a virtual meeting is technical difficulties, and if you are experiencing these regularly you may need to re-evaluate your set up. Regardless of meeting being virtual or in person, it is rude to be habitually late, and it is certainly appropriate for people to reach out to see if you are planning on showing up eventually or not if you haven’t been responsible enough to log in on time.

  178. Raida*

    ***Frequently***, at about two minutes after the start time, a coworker will ping me to ask, “Are you joining the call?”

    Frequently? How about – you be on time so it’s infrequent?
    That’s long enough for people to wonder who’s attending and who doesn’t know about the meeting.
    It’s appropriate to check you’ll attend.

    If your issue is back to back meetings, then you start managing that with timekeeping, scheduling meetings that finish 5-10 minutes before the half hour/hour to get that little gap we all need in between.

    OR, if you know you’re running late, you can message into the meeting (depending on software) to state that – so just do that if you can’t be on time.

    Now if it’s one or two specific people that comment or complain or prod you – talk to them about what they’d like you to do on the occasions you cannot be in the meeting in the first couple minutes. You could be clear that nobody should message you until it’s the 4-min mark, there’s an option. They can say they’ll appreciate a quick note that you’re wrapping up another meeting and you’ll be in soon, there’s another option.
    And maybe you and your team(s) will come to discuss meetings and timekeeping, and starting to use 25-min and 50-min meetings as standard once you’ve opened up discussion about expectations and aggravations and limiting factors!

  179. CrankypantsLibrarian*

    I wonder if everyone there is remote or just some? My previous job had one person WFH, and they were always late to virtual meetings, even ones she ran! It was maddening because it took effort and juggling for us to be free (Public Library) to meet, plus sometimes there were explanations like “walking the dog” “finishing up lunch” which just fueled the general resentment

  180. WurstManager*

    This person is looking for someone to excuse them for their poor time management instead of recognizing that the solution to the problem they’ve created is a simple behaviorial change.

  181. Random1*

    So you come in late and discount your coworkers’ annoyance. Someone else joins later so what’s the big deal?
    In a classroom, the big deal comes because the bell rang, kids are ready, I’ve started the day and someone comes in late. so I stop, welcome them, wait for the. to get situated, and catch them up in what they missed.
    Multiply that by 4. Now the kids that came in ready and on time have sat through this 5 times. They want to work so they can be done and move on.
    Yeah, it is actually a problem.

  182. CT*

    You tell the previous meeting you have a hard stop. Previous meeting leader’s poor time mgmt does not get to impact next meeting. Possible exception: CEO was hosting the first meeting LOL

  183. Ash*

    For some reason, waiting for people in a virtual meeting is way more awkward than waiting for people in an in-person meeting. So I understand the pinging.

  184. The Rat-Catcher*

    At my job, we have So! Much! To do! in meetings that if we start five minutes late, we are ending five minutes late. So it is kind of a big deal to always be the one causing that.

  185. Bruce*

    When I have back to back meetings I try to leave the first meeting 5 minutes early rather than joining the second meeting late. It feels easier to say “I’ve got to go now” rather than explaining why I’m late. Even so it helps that our culture is not very snarky, people are given some grace, and also people try to send a text if they are going to be very late. So kindness and consideration all around is the best approach.

  186. Credulous Simplicity*

    What your position on the calls is a big missing detail here. It was pretty annoying when I was on a call as support staff – where I was explicitly not supposed to manage the relationship – and the sales rep would be late. It would put me in an awkward spot and I’d ping the rep right away to manage their client.

  187. EA*

    Wow, I guess all AAM readers are very punctual! Just for balance, where I work is not, and a few minutes isn’t a big deal. Around 4-5 mins someone will chat to ask if you’re coming, but in an informational way, not passive aggressive – we all get caught up in other stuff sometimes!

    Maybe it makes a difference that we’re a cameras off culture. No awkward videos pre-call, I just catch up on emails if someone is a minute or two late. Not a big deal!

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      It’s less that we’re all punctual and more that we recognize the importance of communicating if we’re running late. We also don’t think it’s “bonkers” for someone to send a message checking if we’re coming.

  188. Yellow cake*

    I se two options don’t schedule back to back meetings or be ruthless with timekeeping and don’t grab water etc in between.

    For option 1: If a meeting invite comes in – schedule yourself breathing space around. Pop a 5 or 10 min meeting in your calendar before the meeting and after if you’ll need a break in between meetings. That way when someone comes looking for time you won’t be available right up until that meeting. Also – block a lunch break as well.

    If option 2 is your reality (you don’t control bookings on your calendar or 1 wouldn’t be accepted) then learn that you are not in a job where you get to grab a drink/ go to the bathroom between meetings. Plan to fill your water bottle in breaks – likewise bathroom visits. I used to work retail and shifts less than 5 hours long came without any breaks. If you needed to use the bathroom you had to ask permission (you always got permission but not necessarily instantaneous), and if working a counter solo call the duty manager to arrange cover while you went to the bathroom. At 5 hours you got a 15 minute break. The expectation was that you were organised for your shift and had everything you needed on you.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      This job sounds way more flexible even than retail. I personally could not hold my bladder for 5 hours, but no one in a typical office job has to (maybe with the exception of call center type structures where you are required to answer calls one after the other without breaks). Just get the water/go to the bathroom after joining the call. It’s perhaps much riskier (too much riskier) to use the bathroom with your headphones on, in case the meeting host has the ability to unmute you or you are not diligent about checking before you walk away, but I walk away from my computer literally all the time while being connected to audio (muted, but still able to hear others talking) to grab a glass of water or adjust a fan or just stretch my legs in a virtual meeting. In an in-person meeting, you’re not held hostage in a conference room (at least, not in any reasonable workplace) either. If you need to pee during a meeting, you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and come back to the conference room 5 minutes later. If you have 5 hours of back to back meetings, no reasonable employer is going to expect you to stay seated, chained to your screen, with no opportunity to get more to drink/a snack/a stretch break/a bathroom break. But if you’re not even walking from place to place, you really should be able to join a virtual meeting within 2 minutes of the start time. Put the Zoom links in the calendar invites and they will even pop up for you at the appropriate time – no game-time email searching required.

  189. Sybil Writes*

    You mention back to back meetings as part of the issue, which is completely understandable.
    A couple of things to consider is dropping off the first meeting 5-6 minutes before the end time. Let host know before meeting starts that you have another commitment and will need to drop off.
    If the culture is “we start on time”, IMHO the culture should also be to either schedule in time for health breaks between meetings. When you get meeting invites, push back with a suggested start time of 10 minutes later, explaining you have other back to backs prior to.

    As a rule, plan to join virtual meetings 5 minutes early to allow for technology speed bumps. Even ‘waking up’ the computer, finding the link and waiting to join a meeting can take a couple of minutes, so build it in to your planning.

    Don’t take the “are you joining?” texts personally. They may be checking to see if you are having trouble logging in. They may not be annoyed at the 2 minute mark, but the only thing worse than waiting 2-3 minutes is waiting longer only to realize the person is not joining. It is the virtual equivalent of looking down the hall to see if Fergus is his way to the conference room.

  190. Won't Get Fooled Again. Maybe.*

    OP, please be considerate of others’ time. “Shock, horror” seems like a pretty selfish attitude. The problem is you. Not them. But it’s an easy fix!

  191. ldub*

    I would bet good money that this person started out by being 5+ minutes late to meetings, so her coworkers started pinging her at 2 or 3 minutes to get ahead of the problem. Late on Zoom is really frustrating, because you’re wasting everyone else’s time while they sit around idle until you join. End your previous meeting 5 minutes before the hour if you need time (which should be standard practice anyway) but don’t be regularly late, even by two minutes.

  192. Quinalla*

    Meeting culture at my place it start on time, at most 1-2 minutes late when it is a big meeting or it is hybrid as it can be harder to get into the conference room, etc. physically than just dialing in to Teams. If folks are going to be late to a meeting with less than 10 participants, they let the organizer know or just message the entire group if it is reoccurring, big meetings no unless you are a presenter in the meeting. We also make an effort to end meetings on time, when they run over again everyone will message their next meeting or drop for their next meeting.

    It sounds like Alison said that your meeting culture is similar to my company’s. If however meetings are back to back with no breaks, you may want to push back on that or just start messaging your next meeting – hey need to refill my water – back to back meetings! Or me if I’m just doing that I’ll often join Teams on my phone and then transfer back to me PC as it is pretty seamless to do so.

  193. Michelle Smith*

    I frequently organize meetings in my role and find it frustrating when people do not show up on time after confirming they’ll attend. It’s very easy to get to meetings on time when working from home unless you are booked back to back, and I try very hard to be respectful of people’s schedules and avoid scheduling someone back to back whenever possible. I find it much more respectful for someone to join the meeting camera off at the start time and notify me in the chat that they need to step away for a few minutes (I don’t need a reason and will assume bathroom, beverage, etc.) or ping me on Slack to let me know that their previous meeting is running long, but they’ll join in a few minutes and go ahead and start without them. Your coworkers’ frustration makes perfect sense to me, although I don’t think I’d be so bold as to make sarcastic comments about my frustration as it’s unlikely to produce different results. But the regular pinging? Absolutely. I bet if you start showing up to the meetings on time or being courteous enough to the people around you to notify them when you know you’re going to be late, those comments will stop.

  194. Ky*

    Coming here to say that I am like you: my day is back to backs, racing from one virtual call to another. And I am sometimes a minute or two (or three) late. And internally I’m thinking: DUDE IM SLAMMED while stealing some time to pee.

    My only suggestion is enforce hard stops. a

    And some people make their calls 25 minutes or 55 minutes to give that passing period…

  195. Turtles All the Way Down*

    It sounds like LW is more than occasionally late if this is a thing they’re annoyed about. I also believe there are fewer excuses for being late to a virtual meeting than an in-person meeting where you may need to stop at the restroom before walking across the building to a conference room, get stopped in the hall by a colleague, or have a slow server at lunch.

    My computer is set about 2-3 minutes fast. While this wasn’t intentional, it works great to get me to meetings on time!

  196. Academia for Life*

    OP doesn’t mention it, but surely there’s some version of Teams/Slack (or even email). If you’re going to be late, let people know. That’s basic professionalism.

  197. Stormfly*

    One or two minutes late is pretty normal in our office. Three minutes past is when we start asking if people are around and start reaching out. We don’t have a culture of turning cameras on, which helps I think. Even if it starts 5 minutes late, people unobtrusively work in the background, so there isn’t the same feeling of waiting around.

  198. Cleopatra, Queen of Denial*

    I’m sure I’m not the first to comment it, but when you are late for something and making others wait, you are telling them that your time is more valuable than theirs. It’s a really bad way to treat your coworkers.

    My advice is to set an alarm for five minutes before the next meeting and tell your current one that you have a hard stop at five minutes ’til.

    I’m a meeting facilitator, and my job is to get us through the meeting as efficiently as possible so you can get back to doing what you need to do with the rest of your time.

    If you are late for a meeting, take those minutes, times the number of people in the meeting, and then multiply it by the hourly cost of employee attendance. (I use $100, which includes salary, benefits, and the use of the office.)

    If you’re five minutes late for a meeting with 10 people in it, you’d be costing us almost an hour of work time. If this happened frequently enough, I would personally just start the meetings without you and let peer pressure do its thing.

  199. Scott*

    Showing up to meetings on time is a sign of professionalism. It shows you can manage your time. It shows you can keep commitments. It shows you respect your colleagues.

  200. Katherine*

    In my previous job my whole team used to attend meetings in the next building over. My team leader would round us all up 10 minutes early to walk over together, and then go to the bathroom so we’d all be standing in the hallway outside the bathroom waiting for her. Used to drive me insane.

  201. Love to WFH*

    Company cultures vary. At some, all meetings start 5 minutes late, and others are “if you’re not there 5 minute early, then you’re late”. Sounds like the OP’s new company starts meetings right on time.

    Anyone can be slightly late occasionally. Apologize. Don’t be insulted that they pinged you after 2 or 3 minutes — you might have forgotten about it, and they’d have been waiting for a long time. F

    If your previous meeting looks like it’s going not finish on time, speak up to say that you’ll need to leave on schedule because you have another meeting to go to.

    If you show up late and say “my last meeting ran late”, you’re saying “My other meeting was more important that this one, and I decided to waste your time”. If you say “my last meeting was critical for xyz and included someone who had to make the decision and is about to go on vacation” that softens the blow.

    If you tend to lose track of time, come up better reminders that will work for you. I find that the Outlook Calendar meeting reminder is weak, so I set an alarm on my watch for every meeting.

  202. L.C*

    There are so many snarky high-horse “holier than thou” comments on here. We have all, literally all, been a minute or two late to meetings. It happens. The only industry where that should actually be a life-or-death situation, or anything other than *shrug* moving on, is probably surgery, or maybe technicians on the space launch. Everyone else can take a giant step back from the assumption that nobody could have anything more important going on. Anything less than 5 minutes, and you’re being ridiculously inflexible.

    The reality is:
    A) punctuality is contextual. A serious reminder that people’s jobs differ widely. It’s extremely rude to show up before the allotted time in many instances; people are busy, and while you may have the ability to do that, there are a million reasons why someone may be handling time-sensitive situations and don’t have the capacity to deal with you yet.
    B) let’s acknowledge that the meetings have gotten out of hand. WFH, as some people have said, has meant people think it’s fine to pack every available second of the day. There are meetings about the upcoming meeting, the meeting, then meetings to discuss the outcomes of the meeting, and possibly another meeting to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It can be challenging to find any time in the day to actually do a job that doesn’t involve meetings.
    C) this is typically, not stressed enough, a departmental thing. In my department, which is the creative management side, it’s a consistent frustration when other departments have no concept of how we spend our time and make assumptions that end up delaying deliverables, or lock us into impossible timelines. And then they get frustrated because we don’t show up, or are late, because client sent last minute changes over 10 minutes ago, and we’re trying to keep everyone happy. And for goodness sakes – “running late!” Message may be nice, but depending on the situation, it can take the same amount of time to send as getting back and set for the actual meeting. Respecting other people’s time also means allowing that you may not know everything and just moving on.

    For the people saying “being late says you think other people’s time is less important than yours”: expecting people, especially large groups of people, to be more punctual than a high schooler on their last tardy warning is hilariously futile, and just says that you have unrealistic expectations (no matter how many times you use the word “unprofessional”).

    1. judyjudyjudy*

      So you advice is…what? What should the LW do? Change nothing? leave previous meetings early? Talk to their supervisor?

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      Of course we’ve all been late. That really isn’t the issue here. The issue is that the OP is late, doesn’t let anyone know, AND then gets mad that someone checks in about it. If the OP weren’t showing such disgust for an innocuous text I think the comments here would have been much different.

  203. judyjudyjudy*

    As others mentioned, I think your annoyance is a little disproportionate for the pinging. Maybe think of it this way: they are not pinging you to bother you, shame you, or remind you that you are late, they are messaging you for information. Otherwise they don’t really know if and when you are coming, so that they cannot adjust their actions accordingly. Should they wait for you, or start the meeting without you?

    You mentioned two plausible (short) tasks that would hold you up: using the bathroom and getting water. But there are other possibilities, such as being held up in another meeting that is going over time, technology problems, or your child’s school just called that they are sick and need to go home. Some of these possibilities are more likely than others, but your coworkers DON’T KNOW. Clearer communication is key here, and I think you should try to view these pings as neutral requests for information. If you know you need a few extra minutes for the bathroom or whatever, you could message the organizer before the meeting starts that you are going to be a few minutes late.

    Also, that “shock, horror” potshot was needlessly hostile. I think the lady doth protest too much.

  204. Mango Freak*

    I am a little weirded out by these responses.

    -1-2 minutes is often the difference in how people’s clocks run! You can’t expect everyone in a group to be not only on-the-dot, but on YOUR dot.
    -With such a small window of lateness, messaging that you’ll be late might only lengthen the window. You presumably don’t know at 9:58 that you’ll be there in 3 minutes, right?
    -Does everyone here really control when their meetings let out? All of their meetings?

    The number of people labeling this not just annoying but *disrespectful* is wild. A moment’s thought and you’d find plenty of scenarios that have nothing to do with disrespect! Sometimes situations are just unfortunate, and not targeted at us personally.

    1-2 minutes!

  205. Jennifer Strange*

    -1-2 minutes is often the difference in how people’s clocks run! You can’t expect everyone in a group to be not only on-the-dot, but on YOUR dot.

    Most people use their phones for timekeeping, and those are on the same schedule.

    -With such a small window of lateness, messaging that you’ll be late might only lengthen the window. You presumably don’t know at 9:58 that you’ll be there in 3 minutes, right?

    How would it lengthen the window? And you have a better sense that you’ll be there in 3 minutes than the people waiting on you.

    -Does everyone here really control when their meetings let out? All of their meetings?

    No, but we control if we ping someone that we’re running late. We control saying “Hey, I’ve got a hard stop so I’ve got to go” or “Hey, I’ve got another meeting right before this one, so can we start ours ten minutes later?”

    The number of people labeling this not just annoying but *disrespectful* is wild.

    Not as wild as the OP assuming a text asking “Are you coming the meeting?” is somehow malicious. Which is what this entire post was about to begin with.

    Sometimes situations are just unfortunate, and not targeted at us personally.

    Exactly, like someone texting when you’re late to ask if you’re on your way. Not targeted at anyone personally.

  206. MCMonkeyBean*

    Being 2-3 minutes late is not a big deal. Being regularly 2-3 minutes late and not caring about the impact that has on the rest of the people in the meeting is pretty rude.

  207. Anonymous Manager*

    A lot of you have never had a job where back-to-back meetings were the norm, and it shows. You say OP is inconsiderate for being 2-3m late. What else are you supposed to do when you last meeting ends and the same time the next one starts, all day long? Never get up from your desk?

Comments are closed.