This article identifies the characteristics of both timebenders and timekeepers and offers some strategies to get timebenders more in line with expectations.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Virtually everyone has found himself or herself in a meeting situation where some members of the group have arrived on time and are kept waiting by those who are late. The old rule of thumb — always start on time because you don’t want to punish those who are there and reward tardiness by waiting for those who are late — is not always tenable. Left unchecked, however, this problem can manifest itself into frustration and tension within the group. In order to correct the situation, it is necessary to understand the motivations of these two subgroups. The obvious difficulty lies with those who are late rather than with those who are punctual. The timekeepers, that is those who arrive on time, grow resentful of those who cause delays by arriving late, the timebenders. This ultimately will affect the productivity of the group and adversely affect the concept of team. This lesson will have the students examine the tendencies of both subsets, decide to which group they belong, and study ways in which this problem can be handled.

Subject Area(s) covered

Business studies, entrepreneurship, social studies

New Terms to explain


Materials Needed

Access to the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • People have different priorities and this affects the way they behave.
  • People differ in terms of how they view meetings – some value them and arrive on time while others have less regard for them and often arrive late.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin by asking the students to reflect on the last time they met with a group at a predetermined time.
  • Have them answer the following questions individually:
    • Was everyone present at the designated meeting time?
    • What were the reasons given for late arrival?
    • Ordinarily, are you punctual or late for meetings?
    • What are the reasons for your behaviour?
  • Determine which students are “timekeepers” (those who arrive on time) and which are “timebenders” (those who tend to arrive late).
  • Divide the students into small groups, ensuring that there is at least one timekeeper and one timebender in each group.
  • Assign the students to breakout rooms where they are to discuss the reasons they behave the way they do and how the actions of the other approach make them feel.
  • Have each group appoint a recorder who will report the group’s findings to the class.
  • Assign a time by which the groups must reconvene and allow the discussions to take place.
  • Reconvene the group and have the group reports presented.

Consolidation of Learning

  • Hold a class discussion during which the students may comment on the reports.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • Students will appreciate that individuals value punctuality differently.
  • Students will understand the motivations of those who view punctuality differently.

Confirming Activities

  • Once the class discussion has been completed, have the students read the article and indicate if it makes them intend to behave differently, explaining why.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Pick four of your friends and arrange a Zoom meeting. See if they all show up on time. Discuss with those who arrive late what their reasons were and whether or not they see themselves as timebenders. Indicate how their late arrival makes others feel.