According to this article, we Brits are running late, and “Nearly 40 per cent agreed that punctuality was not as important as it used to be, given that mobile phones can be used to let people know that you will be a few minutes late.”
No, if you’re late, you’re late. The fact that I spent 10 minutes cooling my heels waiting for you is still telling me you think your time is more important than mine.
I might have claimed in the past that punctality is the virtue of the underworked, in that it can be difficult to be on time when you have many demands on your time, but punctuality in business is just good manners. If I tell you “10 am”, I mean “10 am”, not five past, once you’ve got a coffee. On the other hand, if I say I’ll see you in the pub “between seven and half past”, I’m expecting a certain flexibility (and I probably won’t complain too much if you’re not there until eight.
Call me old fashioned, if you like, but punctuality is still a virtue in my book, and in many others’ books, too.