Since COVID and work-from-home, I have had some trouble with keeping meetings straight. Up until today, I had one meeting I was a bit late for (entirely my fault) and one small one that I missed (due to admittedly confusing scheduling, so my supervisor took the blame).

Due to the second one, I made sure to put it in my Outlook calendar with a 15-minute notification, which has never failed. However, of course, today it failed. And I missed the meeting.

Luckily these meetings have been literally less than 5 minutes and have had no substance thus far. But it was still a bad look. I didn't realize I missed it until about an hour and a half later due to being absorbed in other work. (Tracing through source code...absorbing stuff.)

I e-mailed my supervisor, explained what happened (one sentence), explained what I had done as a result (added the event to two other calendars in the hopes that one will come through), and apologized for "making things hard when they are already difficult enough."

I think what I did was the morally right thing to do: take responsibility, acknowledge how my mistake/irresponsibility hurt others, and show that I am taking steps to improve. But I'm wondering if, from a professional standpoint, I just drew more attention to my mistake and made myself look worse.

What would you guys have recommended I do in this situation?

Edit: It's October now, and I'm still working from home full-time. I have improved greatly and haven't missed any meetings since then, or even been significantly late (5 minutes max, which is good for our company culture). I'm happy to be able to look back at this post and see improvement.

  • 11
    @JoeStrazzere the days just run together. Every day I have the same routine and don't leave the house. I can get into the habit of checking which day of the week it is every morning, but once I get absorbed in my work, those thoughts tend to fade out of my head. Even now, directly after this fiasco, I keep catching myself thinking it's Wednesday instead of Thursday.
    – ribs2spare
    Jun 4, 2020 at 16:08
  • How many meetings do you have? How long of a time frame are you looking at when you say you've missed two and were late for one? How frequent is the repeating meeting that you missed? Is it with anyone external, or only internal to your group? Has anyone else in your group ever missed this meeting and what happened? Was it commented on in the meeting if someone missed it? Is it commented on, in general, if someone misses a meeting at your workplace? Jun 5, 2020 at 13:00

3 Answers 3


While it is possible that you drew more attention to your mistake ( the manager may not have been aware that you missed the meeting ), your communication to the manager is the most professional thing that you could have done. Any good manager should be glad to have an employee who will own up to their mistakes and make the necessary adjustments to prevent them from happening again.

  • 16
    I totally agree with this. Now O.P. just has to be 100% sure that she really does follow through by showing improvement. It's nice to own up, it's nice to take steps to improve. But if there's no improvements, then all that was for nothing. Jun 5, 2020 at 9:59
  • Agreed, but I'd go further. The manager needs to be aware of the situation to both help cover the issue and employee performance if appropriate (probably not the case here). However, other attendees are the ones most impacted so deserve an apology as well. Depending of the level of the meeting and company culture, the later might be more important than the notice to the manager - personally for an important meeting I'd send an apology to the people in the meeting with manager in CC: No need to go into details or remediation plan for a first occurrence, errare humanum est, etc.
    – ptyx
    Jun 5, 2020 at 15:48
  • 1
    @ptyx The O.P. specified that it isn't the first time. Infact, it is the 2nd time, after implementing some steps to prevent this very thing from happening. I would say that, no matter how many times this happens, if the meeting was critical, then the co-workers should know that you've missed it by mistake. Jun 5, 2020 at 19:04

What would you guys have recommended I do in this situation?

Exactly what you did. It's the moral and the professional thing to do - chances are someone at least almost certainly noticed you weren't there, and the more meetings you miss (accidentally or otherwise), the more likely it is that your supervisor is specifically looking out for you attending.

I didn't realize I missed it until about an hour and a half later due to being absorbed in other work. (Tracing through source code...absorbing stuff.)

It happens, it's one of those things. However, if you become a serial offender, people will understandably start to get hacked off. I went through a phase of missing meetings due to being absorbed in other work a while back, and as a result I made sure to set an alarm on my phone 2 minutes before every meeting for a while. This was enough time that I could find the relevant meeting, join promptly and wait for others - but wasn't enough time that I could "just finish this one last thing" and then only realise an hour later.


I think it's unprofessional when you just pretend the meeting never happend.

The meeting has been set up to inform the participants of something. So at the very least you need to ask what you missed to at least one person that was in the meeting.

If you think you need to add something to this information (like you would if you were in that meeting), then it would be proffesional to email you colleges.

"Im sorry I missed yesterdays meeting, but person A just informed my about this and that, and I would like to add so and so."

If you done all this, then everything will turn out the same as if you had been at the meeting.

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