In a country where arriving late is accepted, Portuguese became masters of punctuality

Digital meetings are multiplying, digital platforms are already chosen and the adherence to this new way of “working together” proved to be impressive. But what impresses me the most is that Portuguese changed their behavior and, in a country where arriving late is the norm, they became the masters of punctuality.

Maria Cabral de Sousa
May 25 2020 • 2 min reading
In a country where arriving late is accepted, Portuguese became masters of punctuality

There are no last-minute cancelations, no delays, there is still a space for a few minutes of soft talk, sharing and friendship, but everything flows more efficiently and less stressful.

This phenomenon surprises me because it results in a huge saving of time and an increase in efficiency that, in 20 years of work, I could never imagine.

The arguments for delays, traffic and difficult parking, legitimate or not, disappeared and we now move from one meeting to another without leaving the same spot.

Only necessary meetings happen, but the ease increased the need and we do not hesitate to schedule dozens of calls and meeting per week, because they flow easily, and it is always good to talk and share ideas in a zoom or teams online meeting.

Confinement did not keep us apart from customers and partners, it brought other forms of digital proximity, more meetings and less delays, with the privilege to watch children entering in the middle of a meeting, laughing or complaining in our homes turned into offices, and babies in the laps of courageous mothers and fathers who continue to give the best of them in these different times.

For those who have read me so far, this is a personal share of a Portuguese business woman used to rush from meeting to meeting, against traffic and time, that just now discovered the wonders of British punctuality. Let me tell you that, even so, not everything was perfect so far. I have already forgotten a client on a call scheduled for 12:30, because my youngest son showed up at 12:00 to say: “Mom, I'm hungry, can we have lunch earlier today?” … our kids always win and make us forget the world outside :).

Slowly Portuguese people will return to the office, but there are things that will never be the same again, and for myself, in face-to-face or digital meetings, I hope never to be late again!

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