Saturday, January 21, 2012

Being Flexible with my Flex Schedule

I had a light bulb moment this week. Perhaps the reason why "flex scheduling" isn't more readily embraced by the corporate community is that employers aren't sure they can, in fact, be flexible. They may feel that the burden will fall on them.

The fact of the matter is, my current employers have asked, simply, that a certain level of work be completed. Other than perhaps understanding that my best days for meetings are Mondays and Wednesdays, the reality is that, as long as I deliver, they're pretty much fine. Sure, some employers may balk at employees working out of sight for fear that they can't supervise or offer input. And some jobs certainly can't be terribly flexible (a chef or a doctor can't work from home the way an accountant or a PR pro can). But for many companies, does it really matter whether you finish that report in an office or at your kitchen table as long as it is still quality work?

My personal light bulb went on earlier this week when I realized flex scheduling is less about my employer being flexible (although, obviously the fact that I have this arrangement indicates that yes they are) and more about me being flexible. I plan my work around the two days both kids are in school, around typical nap/quiet times, around evenings or early mornings. But then, inevitably, something will happen. A colleague will have a request that might need to be met on a timeline that doesn't fit the mental parameters I have anticipated for a day. Or that early morning I was planning on is traded in for a snooze button after being up for two hours in the middle of the night with an inconsolable toddler. Or in order to make a crucial meeting happen, I need to suck it up and find a babysitter.

Strangely, the hardest part of my flex schedule is being flexible with myself. Letting it go until the next day so I can get to bed early or postponing that revision because the toddler decided to skip a nap or buckling down for several hours of work on a weekend when the hubby takes the kids on an outing are all part of me rolling with the punches. The press release doesn't know the difference. The research still gets done. The plans still get written.

As long as I can be flexible with my own expectations, this flex schedule thing may just work out.


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