Answers to more of the flextime-womenomics emails!

Jun 11, 2009 9:39am

We're so thrilled at all of the comments and questions on our Womenomics series. And sorry it's taken us a week to get to them all–the book tour has kept us a bit frantic. A bit non-Womenomics we're afraid.  Here we go.  And please send us more comments on our comments!

From: jlmurray5@comcast.net
name: Janice Murray
phone: 586-286-9978
hometown: Clinton Township, Michigan

Story: I do not think that flextime works for keeping a team feeling in the office.  I experience when workers come and go on his/her own schedule or agenda's no one is connected as a team effort on the workfront.  When workers work as a team or feel part of a team ideas, efficiency and work flow easier.

Janice—many people do find that you need some amount of "face-time" in an office for good teamwork–you are right. And we certainly think it helps if the team knows everybody well before people start on different work schedules. But it's also true that studies and corporate experience show that when workers feel they are in control of their schedules–they are more productive. Perhaps when they feel they can leave for important events, or because they need to work a day from home, with no argument–then they are more eager to be in the office when that makes sense?

From: darkangelndasouth@gmail.com
name: News Buff
phone:
hometown: Atlanta, GA

Story: Flex hours can work depending on the job.  If you work in health care or in the school system, flex hours may not be the way to go. Corporate America stresses a balance between work and personal life; however, suggestions such as flex hours are easily nixed.

Absolutely. So many companies have the policies–but they have no life to them. But that's changing–and Womenomics shows that the companies that don't embrace this won't be able to compete soon enough. Some jobs are simply impossible to do from home—but in many of those cases–smart managers are offering employes options in terms of shift flexibility–or even job shares!

From: dnicholson@cohenlaw.com
name: Deanna Nicholson
phone: 412-751-7446
hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Story: I think Flex Time is great if an employer will offer it – especially when you have long commutes to work and a family.
I would much rather work 7am to 4pm than 9am to 6pm.  When I work until 6:00 – I don't get home until 7:15 or 7:30 and I would miss my son's baseball games or other sports that start at 6:00  pm. When they don't have sports, by the time you get home, make dinner and dishes (and throw in a load of laundry) it is 9:30 and time for bed.  No quality time to spend with family.

Totally. I hear you. I really want to be with my kids after school—and for games and dinner. Even though that can actually be the toughest part of my day! (dinner with my 7 and 4 year old is no picnic.)

From: plhmot02@aol.com
name: Pam Haley
phone: 908-433-7288
hometown: Holmdel NJ

Story: Yes – Flex Time works well it's a win-win for both employee and employer.  With most employees being connected mobile flex time is more manageable.  Fair to traditional work hours – yes some employees want to work traditional.

True. Some are still more traditional—but it's possible to make a good case now for them to change.

From: JESSICA.BELTON@ATT.NET
name: Jessica Belton
phone:
hometown: Atlanta, GA

Story: Flex time is really a valuable benefit that employers can offer to their employees. Times have changed, and so has the daily routines of workers. Flex time is excellent benefit, especially for those who are parents, or students, or for someone who has a lot of doctor appointments. It not only takes stress off the employee, which then the employee can perform at top level, instead of giving the minimum, because they are stressed out.

Jessica–and what is so interesting…is that for women…flex time..or control of our time…is often as valuable as money.  over and over women say they will trade a bit of pay for flexibility.

From: debbiechristofferson@earthlink.net
name: Debbie Christofferson
phone: 480-988-4194
hometown: Phoenix, AZ

Story: Flextime is good, and it should be offered more often.
The problem is, the person on flextime should be paid for the hours they work, then it's fair and there's no workplace jealosy either.
What happens now, is someone works 7-4, and that's it.  Others work longer hours, because we're mostly all exempt.  If the 7 AM person comes in late at 7:30 they still leave by 4.  These are not hourly positions in most cases.
Now, if you come and go for whatever personal reason you have, we just need to work out a program to accomodate it fairly for the workplace.  And we need to be permit anyone to do it wants to, as long as the job permits it.
IT's not very much accepted or offered–sometimes you have to ask. But sometimes the people doing it, make it all convenient for themselves and become very rigid in any real work requirements than mean a bit of flexibiity on the their side now and then.  The hourly pay resolves a lot of the issues.  If you work 9-1, you get paid for 4 hours, if you take 2 hours for lunch, you aren't paid for those 2 hours.  You get paid for what you work.  Flex hours otherwise, need to be specific shifts and the employee live up to the committment they make to the employer.  It should not create undue hardship for other colleagues.  But most employers cna make this work if they want to.  It's worth it to hire and keep good workers.  IT could also greatly increase the talent pool especially for those wanting to work less than 40 hour.  It should not be tied to children or not, because some people want this flexiblity and do not have small children, but other reasons create the need.
So yes, flextime should be offered more.

Debbie–very important point.  If you are not paid by the hour..then if you are not in the office..you and your boss need to figure out exactly how to measure your work–what is expected..what results you should produce.  And that can be tricky. But in the end…it can make everyone more productive. And certainly–it only makes sense for it to be available to everybody. Companies that do this find not that many people are looking to work unusual hours–they just like to know they can do it when they need to.

From: bryonbowman@yahoo.com
name: Bryon Bowman
phone: 513-322-1081
hometown: Cincinnati

Story: In a world of decreasing family values, and a world of problems from lack of attention from parents, flex time is a great antidote to keeping balance in the lives of employees. There are far too many employers now days that do not understand the value of balance in peoples lives. Quite simply put, if you don't have balance and happiness, you will not perform well on the job.

Yes Yes.  Exactly. I want to feel more IN my life.  And frankly–more on top of what my kids are doing and what they need. It's not about more babysitters or my husband staying home…..


From: diane_moore@verizon.net

name: Diane Moore
phone: 914-879-5524
hometown: New York
Story: For me flextime is essential to my current life style. Let me explain I am responsible for my aunt who is 83 year young and live 75 miles from me. If it wasn’t for my ability to work a flex work schedule I would not have vacation time. I handle all of my aunt’s personal business: making doctor’s appointment, finance, grocery shopping, and home repairs. Let alone the things I have to do for myself. I am so grateful for the ability to work a flex schedule.

I honestly feel sorry for other employees who don’t have that option.

Diane–this is what we have been trying to say.
It's not always about kids. People have other responsibilities too—

From: Denise.Kotek@icp.doe.gov

name: Denise S. Kotek

phone: 208-360-3332

hometown: Idaho Falls

Story: I think flextime is a wonderful opportunity for both employees and companies to think outside the box and create a win-win environment. As long as women and workers in general meet and ideally, exceed, work productivity/quality expectations, flextime should be a regular option available at every company. I am fortunate that I can work part time and if I need to do work at 11 p.m. I do it so I can be with my kids after school.

—-

From:

name: HARDWORKER

phone:

hometown: Franklin

Story: This is a great topic!!! I work at a company where we have a "Contractor" who works only 1 hour a day in the office, 4 days a week. This person used to actually work for the company and was recently rehired as a contractor. When she quit I carried her job as well as mine, without any raise. Then they let her come back, working this flex schedule, totally unfair!!! The company has even gone as far as hiring another girl in the office to HELP do the contractors work. HEllo, what about me….I actually do the work, and am not seen. I think flextime just won't work. It's not fair, how do you decide who gets it? I would love to do this, but it will never happen. So we literally pay someone to do the contractors job and the contractor still makes her good money. Unfair, you decide??

This seems very unfair.  And a situation like this won't last. When you have that sort of schedule–you have to perform–or as you can see–everybody gets resentful.  And more importantly, the boss will notice, unless he or she is a total idiot.  It can and should work for everyone—but situations like this show it takes a lot of careful work. And if that's not happening, it can set the whole situation back.
—-

From: olusa@verizon.net

name: Chiquita Olusa

phone: 571-435-5406

hometown: Alexandria,  Va

Story: I believe, flextime it's the best thing for every employee. I know the feeling, I do flextime, to go to the doctor and do another personal things.  I am happy that my supervisor let me do flextime.
I used to work 4 days a week, was perfect. If you haven't done, please do it.

—-

From: coffman.teresa@yahoo.com

name: Teresa Coffman

phone: 508 226-0632

hometown: Attleboro, MA

Story: I love the flextime concept, but believe flextime is something which should be available for everyone–male or female, single or partnered, parent or childless.  Fairness is the operative word.

I am a 40-something college professor who is happily married and childless by choice.  Too many times in my professional life it has been suggested or hinted that working long hours, serving on committees (etc.) is somehow easier or expected of me or other colleagues in similar situations because we do not have children or worse "do not have a family".

I do not understand why some might be expected to work twice as hard, so that others might work half as hard — all for the same basic pay scale.  We all have families and personal lives which should be respected.

Many of us choose to work long hours because we love what we do.  However, this should not be an expectation to accommodate those who choose to work fewer hours.

I am childless by choice, because I knew I personally could not immerse myself in my career and devote myself to responsibly raising children; however, I know many women are able to do this.  I applaud them.

Again, fairness is the operative word.

Thank you.

—-

 From: mehtakm@gmail.com

name: Mitangi Mehta

phone:

hometown: Germantown, MD

Story: Flextime is extremly important to our family.  I do agree that most of the HR is not thinking about this specially if are a small to medium size business.

I work for a large company and in the past when I have looked for jobs, I have looked over more challenging work because of the work schedule.

I would love to discuss this more with other women and with GMA to see if can raise awareness and find workable solutions.
Thank you.

From: pals24@sc.rr.com

name: Pat Fitzsimmons
phone: 843-290-4357
hometown: Bluffton,SC
Story: I think that flextime is a win/win situation for both employee and employer.. I am an office manager of 2 dental offices and luckily, my employer is supportive of my flex schedule. I usually work from home for at least 5-10 hours per week.. This allows me to work remotely at early hours of the morning without interruption at home or at work.. I am more productive, have no interruptions, am able to think and focus on things that often get pushed on the back burner during busy business hours and interruptions from staff, patients and doctors.. I often forget that I have not even gotten up to walk in 3- 4 hours because I am so focused on what I am doing. We also are supportive of our younger staff members who have young children and often have school activities or meetings that are held during normal work hours.. They are able to take time out of their day and make up the time by coming in earlier or working later some day.. It has never been an issue that we could not work with and that did not, in the end benefit the whole office.. The staff members are appreciative of our flexibility and show their appreciation in their commitment to their work..

I believe that most situations can lend themselves to flex time and is enhancing to both staff and management..
Pat Fitzsimmons

 From: kathykdavis@comcast.net

name: Kathy Davis

phone: 615-397-1200

hometown: Nashville

Story: Flextime does work.  We worked 4 10 hr. days.  Our days off rotated each week between Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That way you knew what days you were off so you could plan doctors appts. etc. for yourself or your family.  Also with this schedule, every 5 weeks you had a 4 day weekend that you could use for family getaways without using your accumulated vacation or personal days.  It was great!

 From: woji4@msn.com

name: Hillary Tousignant Stewart
phone: 612-327-0813
hometown: Minneapolis
Story: Several years ago I entered the world of flextime via working as a marketing contractor at Best Buy Corporate Headquarters. I had always worked 8 to 5, and my previous job I was criticized if I walked in the door 5 minutes late. At the time I was a single mother of a small child and constantly exhausted. Then I began working at Best Buy and their "no questions asked" ROWE policy. You worked  at your own time with in the office or from home without any questions from your boss as long as you got your work done. The transformation for me was liberating both physically and mentally. I was happy, more confident (no looking over my shoulder).  And the self-empowerment made me a more productive, creative and enthusiastic employee. I was devastated to be laid off in January. But my kudos goes to Best Buy for allowing flextime/ROWE to it's employees. I am still looking for a new job and am afraid that I will never be as satisfied in a job as I was when I was given the flexibility to work around parent/teacher conferences, dentist appts, waiting for the plumber to show up to fix a leaky faucet etc.


 From: bsweeney@peakresources.com

name: Brenda Sweeney

phone: 303-522-2206

hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO

Story: I have been in technical sales for over 20 years.  When I started in sales, I had no idea how important the flexibility would be when I had kids.  I make my own schedule and usually don't leave the house until my kids go to school.  I try to be home when they get home from school. (th
ey are 17 and 13, when they were younger I was ALWAYS home when they got home). I help with homework, take them to doctor appts, etc, during normal work hours.  After they are in bed, I will do the administrative part of my job like typing proposals.  I am a single mother, with a demanding career. I am a top performer in my job, and I am very happy about the close relationship I have with my children. I couldn't do it without flextime.  Thanks!


From: Kozyminks@yahoo.com

name: Michele Kozy
phone: 610-966-1803
hometown: Emmaus, PA
Story: I think flex time is very important to a working mom with two young kids as myself. I think flextime appeals to alot of people in various situations and is one of the most important benefits to me at my job. When I had my children, daycare was not an issue because we simply could not afford it. I am a very hard worker and my boss recognized this and gave me the option to work flex. I went from working day hours 7-3:30 to now all over the board. I now go into work when my husband gets home from work. I work weekends as well. If I was not given the chance to work flextime I am not sure how we would have handled daycare issues. Is it fair to those working traditional hours?  Yes and No I guess. I am sure alot of my fellow employees would notwant to work my late hours ordrag themselves in on weekend. But maybe they would want other hours such as 4 10 hour days. Where I work you have to kind of earn the benefit to flex your hours.There have been employees that didnt produce work on the flex schedule they were doing so they had to come back to the traditional hours. I know how important my flex hours are so therefore I dont do anything to give reason to take it away from me. I love my job and the company I work for and them allowing me to have a flex schedule that helps me take care of my children during the day and be a good employee for them at night is one of the main reasons I stay with the company!

 From: lobdell@yousq.net

name: Barb Lobdell

phone: 608776-2093

hometown: Darlington, WI

Story: I think Flextime is great. I run my own Business and when my 3 children were younger and not in school, I ran my business from home. It was great, because I could be home with them and still work and then when they were in the early years of school, I could stop and go to their concerts, and etc. when I had to. Now they are little older and then it was time to move my Business out of the Home, so I did and it is working out great now even.


 From: bjrconsults.com

name: Barbara Ruby

phone: 858-521-9161

hometown: San Diego, CA

Story: I think working in an office or working from home should be based on the position, the type of work you do and the number of people who report to you in the office,not whether you are a mom or not.  Having children is a choice.  Flextime should have nothing to do with whether you are a mom or not.  We would all like life/work balance.


From: jennilyn22@gmail.com

name: Jennifer

phone:

hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Story: This isn't a "women's" issue.  It's a society issue.  Most households are now dual-income households or single-parent households where the single-parent works.  Despite that reality, most elementary schools, pediatrician offices, child sports and recreation organizations, etc. continue to keep schedules that presume there is a stay-at-home parent.  As a result, mom, dad, and sometimes grandmom/dad, take turns taking time off from work to handle these responsibilities.  Flextime is great tool for minimizing that amount of time off, but as long as the working parent's day continues to be 10-11 hours (worktime plus commute) and the child's day continues to be 6-7 hours (usually beginning and ending at times when the parent MUST be at work), there will never be a balance.

My recommendations: reduce the workweek to 30-35 hours per week (inclusive of lunch, which most companies no longer cover as part of the work day, meaning 9-5 is now 8-5), offer more telework options, and expand/shift elementary school hours to times that accommodate working parents.


From: Jboll5@aol.com

name: Joan Bollaert

phone: 309 797 5557

hometown: Moline, IL

Story: I think flextime is great as long as you're not defeating the purpose of utilizing the freedom and being with your children and giving them your attention instead of being on the cell phone constantly during meals as was evident while Heidi was with her children.  What's the point?  She might as well stay at her work place if she's not going to give the kids her undivided attention.  Isn't that the point….to be able to spend time with family?  She was distracted and still in business mode while with her children…not fair to them.


From: lheber_brause@hotmail.com

name: Lorraine Heber-Brause

phone: 917-612-8739

hometown: New York City

Story: Great segment on a long standing issue of work-life balance for women (although flextime is even harder to obtain for men).  Given that the media industry is one of the worst offenders, it would be great to see GMA do a test case on the program showing GMA reporters, anchors and staff going virtual, part-time or job share.  Viewers would love to see the progress and challenges as well as ongoing advice.   You can track the impact through ratings and feedback from your senior leaders.

From: george.f.butler@att.net

name: George Butler

phone: 2023026829

hometown: Washington, DC

Story: Certainly, flextime does create some disparity, but overall, it is a win-win. I work four ten hr days, having every Friday off. Not only do I save money on transportation and food, it gives me a day to take care of personal business, before my week-end job. The employer ends up with a more motivated, and conceiveably, energized employee. It does require adjustments, and is not for everyone.

From: lisawig@alaweb.com

name: Lisa Wiggins

phone: 334-488-5136

hometown: Andalusia Alabama

Story: I work for a company that just began flextime options a few years ago.  My husband and I (along with kids, friends & extended family sometimes) LOVE to travel!  Using flextime gives me the opportunity to travel and take long weekends without having to dip into my vacation bank.  I only need to use my vacation bank when I take extended trips (more than 2 workdays) if I can't get in the 80 hours required every pay period.  I come to work at 6am, take 15 minutes lunch-sometimes, and then work until I get in the hours I need. It's been working great for me and everybody around me. My time off hasn't seemed to affect anyone and everything runs smoothly. FLEXTIME is a great idea!


From: jesikaland2002@gmail.com

name: Jesika Land

phone: 2149950403

hometown: Dallas, TX

Story: I think that flextime works for those who have the skill to manage their time and tasks and not get side-tracked with "free time". Some people, like myself, thrive within this environment because it allows me to work in a way that is most productive for me. Others, however, take advantage and are not as productive. This group, unfortunately, makes it a hard sell when trying to lobby for flexible work schedules.


From: taac11@hotmail.com

name: Tanya Varela

phone: 505-424-3765

hometown: Santa Fe NM

Story: I recently started flextime, and i am tired but I love it. It gives me more options as to my schedule and more time for my husband and kids. I would recommend it to anyone who ahs children and families, it works wonders!


From: vrcaliguire@yahoo.com

name: vanessa

phone: 702-383-8927

hometown: Las Vegas

Story: Flextime made it easier whe
n I was a single mother.  The firm I work for now just took away flextime and combined sick days and vacation days in PTO (but cut us short 6 days a year in the process).  I don't know what the mothers in this firm are going to do.  I'm glad my daughter is grown and I don't have to worry anymore.  I don't know how this happened, but our firm is taking a hugh step back in worker relations and blaming it on the economy – I'm not buying it.


From: rebeccacrbutts@gmail.

name: Rebecca Butts

phone: 2485151312

hometown: Shelby Township, MI

Story: I think that flextime is the only way I've been able to stay in the workforce after having my son (9 months old).   I'm able to start work early (sometimes at 5 a.m.) and leave during the day to go to the pediatrician.  I am allowed to work from home two days a week so that I can spend more time with my son in the morning and evening.   I have a two-hour daily commute and working from home those two days a week will definitely extend my time with this company (that is well-known for its' employee friendly policies).  It's nice to be able to write a white paper and do laundry at the same time.

I definitely feel more valued as an employee because I feel that my employer values my personal time with my family and to spend time on my interests.  This company believes that their employees must have a well-rounded existence and not only live to work.  Because of how valued I feel, I have no problem working an 8 hour day and then pulling my laptop out and working several more hours after my son goes to bed.

This is the first real company I have worked for that allowed me to regularly work from home.  I can't imagine NOT working for a company with these types of policies.


From: nml35@roadrunner.com

name: Nancy

phone: 814-464-3724

hometown: PA

Story: I think that women and men are more productive when given the choice and the opportunity to blend home pleasures and responsibilities with making money to support home and the workplace.
I'm curious about your inclusion of Walmart as a supporter of flextime.  Could you supply me personally or via GMA on what level Walmart supports this?  Thank you.


From: asuescun@gdc-co.com

name: Anamaria Suescun-Fast
phone: 210-223-2772
hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Story: If done right, absolutely flextime works. I saw the story this morning on Womenomics with great interest. The small business where I work in San Antonio was founded 15 years ago with strong work/life balance values. Aside from various other benefits, we have an on site daycare; and whether a mother, father, or aunt (like me)this is a great benefit that everyone at our company embraces. The culture at Guerra DeBerry Coody is one in which the partners believe in the sacredness of balance in the individual lives of our work family as well as excellence in the collective work of the organization. If that means employees need to leave during the day for a child performance, leave early to take care of an ailing parent, then so be it. No one feels cheated or bitter. The partners strongly believe in this culture and from a business perspective – the company has not only retained solid employees but their commitment in ensuring the company thrives. This is a mission that we all continue to be passionate about…most recently, we worked with Texas lawmakers to pass a child care bill to expand the number of small businesses that can establish on-site child care for their employees. This commitment to work balance values was highlighted by The Wall Street Journal in 2007 when GDC was named one of the top 15 "Top Small Workplaces" to work.


From: aloviette@hotmail.com

name: Audrey A Cazenave

phone: 9857889135

hometown: Slidell, LA

Story: I have worked traditional jobs and flextime jobs therefore I can definately testify on this subject. I had a better job performance and life when I worked a flextime schedule. Because I was in a better place personally, it showed thru in my work. Now that I am back at a traditional workplace, I see my life and my career in a much less appealing light.

From: ladsieg777@aol.com

name: gladys

phone:

hometown: Brooklyn, ny

Story: I believe that people in general should be able to work flextime. It gives you freedom, less pressure creates less stress.  On one of my jobs I did present to the Director a proposal for flextime.  A group of us worked out a plan of action.  The Director did agree. The group was more productive and able to enjoy more time with their families. It has to be presented with facts.

 From: vickinix@bellsouth.net

name: vicki nix

phone: 828-696-6830

hometown: hendersonville nc

Story: I am the operations manager for a small convenience store chain.  My father has recently been stricken with dementia and requires 24 hour care.  In order to care for him at home and give my mother time for herself, I went to the owners of the company and requested a flextime schedule.  They were so understanding and were able to see the benefit of this schedule for all. I am able to spend 3 mornings per week with my dad and work those afternoons/evenings at my job.  This gives the employees in our company support in the pm shifts.   I am so thankful to work for a company that is willing to try new ideas and understands that I will be able to give more to my work when I am not worried about home.

From: aj7718@att.com

name: Anjanette Johnson

phone: 404-752-0553

hometown: McDonough, GA

Story: I agree with Flextime.  I can get more done at home than in the office.  There are few distractions from coworkers at home.  I commute 1 – 1.5 hours one way – I could save 2 to 3 hours a day by working from home.  However, my company, AT&T, doesn't agree.  If they can't see you work then you're not working.  Doesn't job performance and quality of my work turned in speak for me?

From: sevans10@aol.com

name: S. Ellis

phone: 7182723928

hometown: New York City

Story: News stories addressing flextime issues almost always focus on corporate environments.  What about women working in other industries such as the non-profit world.  This is already an industry plagued by low salaries, minimal resource and an overworked workforce.  Flex-time  is not considered a viable option for most employers.  It doesn't increase profits–there are no profits to increase.  It is a very public face-time oriented industry, so it is difficult to justify working from home.  Any advice for the millions of women in this part of the workforce?
Are there any models of this working in non profits of varying sizes?

Questions I found on comments on article:

I agree it should not just be gender based. I do think that not only flex-time is beneficial for companies bottom line, it is also important for the children and the next generation. I understand it is a choice to have children; however it is part of society to continue to have families. Other cultures have put families first and it benefits the society not only less crime but a better standard of living for everyone, including singles. I have seen a tax credit for using minority vendors change how people do business. I think that perhaps that a tax credit for job share/flex time would encourage changing the culture of companies. If companies would have a certain percentage of their work force positions slotted for job share or flex time. I wrote to the White House Council for Women sharing my viewpoint and suggestion. Does anyone else have any thoughts?
Posted by:
zimmermanisabelle Jun-2

Why is this only for women? I am thankful t
hat I have flexable work schedule to get my daughter to school and after school activities. I can work from home if my daughter is sick. Men need to spend more family time too.
Posted by:
par49931 Jun-2

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