Flexible Work Arrangements

In the last 50 years, the percentage of American mothers staying home dropped from 76 percent to 28 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most working women (75 percent) work full time. One logical reconcilation between full-time work and full-time motherhood is flexibility in work schedules and telecommuting, so-called "flexible work arrangements" (FWAs).

Our workplace is supposed to be logical, too. Logically most employers would be expected to embrace FWAs in order to attract and keep the largest pool of employees. But instead -- as many working moms can attest -- reactions to working moms in the last 50 years have often been negative. FWAs are hard to negotiate with employers, and it seems you can't read a newspaper in recent years without seeing something about well-educated women "opting out" of work because flexibility is so hard to find and reconciling full-time work with motherhood is apparently impossible for women who have the luxury of choices.

Three female professors at the Center for Gender in Organizations at Simmons School of Management in Boston decided to team up with Hewlett-Packard to quantify the career choices college-educated American women are making today through a 2006 survey of 400 working women. The respondents represent the well-educated, experienced female labor pool often accused of (or praised for) "opting out." The pool averaged 43 in age, with 20 years work experience; 85 percent held college degrees, 58 percent were married\ and 61 percent had children. Twenty-two percent were women of color. Additionally, 94 percent were employed, with an average salary of $116,000. Forty-nine percent were in middle or higher levels of management and 86 percent reported providing more than half of their household incomes.

Here's what the survey found: Only 18 percent "opted out" by voluntarily taking time off sometime during their career. Between 80 and 90 percent of women across all ages and ethnicities said that longterm financial security is a goal they would not give up. Over 90 percent of respondents used some form of flexible work arrangements during their careers. Full-time FWAs are far more prevalent than part-time arrangements. The researchers report "a vast number of women use flexible work arrangements to stay in the labor force versus to opt out and earn solid salaries while doing so." Research also showed the benefit to employers of offering FWAs: stronger employee loyalty evidenced by a dramatic increase in the number of women returning to work after taking time off. "FWAs may indeed be the strategic advantage to attracting and retaining essential talent, both male and female, in the next decades."

According to the professors, "[Other] researchers generating reports of normative behavior tend to focus on men; women's careers were seen as anomalies or developmentally deficient. ... Women's careers have always been seen as deviant."

It's sure nice to have some research that treats women's desire to work full-time, earn solid salaries and be mothers as entirely normal.

Separately, I am conducting my own research on stay-at-home moms who are returning to work. If you are ages 40 to 55, female, and back at work or looking to return to work after being home for three to 10 years, I'd love to interview you. Please send me your contact information at leslie@lesliemorgansteiner.com.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  January 22, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: Harder Than You Thought? | Next: Finding Balance While Making a Difference


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Comments

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First!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 7:49 AM

A bit off topic, here is an article breaking down the 51 per cent of women living without a spouse

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/21/weekinreview/21zernike.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 7:55 AM

Ohhh, that's right. Let's everybody change everything so that affulent, educated women can have absolutely every thing that they want. Gimme a break.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 8:12 AM

Why not? We've been doing it for men for centuries...

Posted by: To 08:12 | January 22, 2007 8:14 AM

Why not? We've been doing it for men for centuries...

I don't know many men who work part time or flex jobs, so what is your point.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 8:15 AM

"Let's everybody change everything?"
Not quite. Flex time means allowing a person to work from home (no cost to the employer if the employee has a computer at home) or working odd hours (work still gets done = no cost to employers)or part-time hours (less money for employee = employer breaks even). In my opinion, there is almost no cost for employers for providing flex options. They are just slow to change.
And what do you, personally, have to change to allow people the option of working flex schedules? I'm not affected if the company across the street gives 30 employees flex schedules, are you?

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 8:21 AM

I think "to 8:12" meant that men have been structuring the work environment for years to mee their needs. It has come to the point where women should have a say in how the work environment is reshaped. And doesn't it make sense? Before women were in the workforce in great numbers, the workforce catered to men. Now that women make up almost half of the workforce, shouldn't the environment adjust in some way to reflect that change?

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 8:25 AM

Aside from the "affluence" factor in this research, where did the researchers get this tidbit:

"According to the professors, "[Other] researchers generating reports of normative behavior tend to focus on men; women's careers were seen as anomalies or developmentally deficient. ... Women's careers have always been seen as deviant."

Anomalies, developementally deficient, deviant? Is this from 1953?

Maybe I am just in a fog this morning after the Colts game last night, but this study sounds like good news but I found the above quote weird.

Posted by: cmac | January 22, 2007 8:26 AM

"to meet their needs," sorry

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 8:27 AM

From the link:
"At the Simmons School of Management Leadership Conference, held in Boston in April 2006, over 400 women volunteered to take our survey."

Ummm...talk about a self-selection bias. I'm not anti-FWA, but this survey is so clearly biased, it's silly to use it as evidence of anything.

Posted by: biassed | January 22, 2007 8:38 AM

So an employer should modify the schedule of an employee because the employee chose to have a child? This isn't about supporting parents, it's about changing the rules to accommodate the choice of an employee to raise a child. What choice does the company have in this?

Posted by: Choice | January 22, 2007 8:45 AM

The company has the choice of whether or not to offer FWA to help them retain and attract talented employees. I expect most companies would like loyal competent employees. They may be afraid that some will take advantage of the flexibility. FWA will continue to become more prevalent when companies learn to mangage a new kind of workforce.

Does anyone think a person who has more "face time" is automatically a better worker?

Posted by: equal_too | January 22, 2007 8:53 AM

It should also be noted that while yet again this blog is horribly female tilted, the worker most likely to have a formal flexible work schedule is a 40 year old white man.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/flex.t01.htm

Posted by: biassed | January 22, 2007 9:01 AM

To Choice:

Children are not just a lifestyle "choice." They are the people who are going to pay our social security, take care of us in our old age, etc., etc. Caring for the next generation (and making it a priority to help the people that are doing this) benefits everyone in a society.

Posted by: RJ | January 22, 2007 9:05 AM

I cannot understand why people have a problem with FWA. It boggles my mind. Fine having a child is a "choice" but it is a "choice" that pretty much the whole world has been making since the beginning of time - it is just a fact of life that most women bear children! If we are significant participants in the workforce why can't we have a say in how the workforce is structured? The status quo does not work for most mothers and we should not have to bend over backwards to be able to have children and a career. The either or/black and white mentality is just so ..... ridiculous (for lack of a better word to use)!!!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | January 22, 2007 9:10 AM

I think that if you want a flexible schedule you have to work for it. It shouldn't just be handed over because you think you deserve it or you have other life issues that interfere with work.

Most people on this board have the choice to say no to jobs they don't like. However, a lot of people don't have that option, so instead of whining that you can't work from 10-2 and that the company should allow you to do it because you want to, maybe you should prove to them that it is wise to let you have the schedule you want.

Yes, I got up on the wrong side of the bed before anyone asks me.

Posted by: scarry | January 22, 2007 9:10 AM

To "Choice," my husband has a flex schedule and we do not have children. The FWA (at least in my office) is available to all employees. I'm pretty sure that only offering it to parents would be illegal somehow.

Sure, parents are front and center in the push to make FWA an option in all workplaces, but we can also reap the benefits. As FWA becomes more common, more childless people will also take advantage.

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 9:14 AM

And, for the record, FWA's are not usually just limited to parents. In my workplace, the childless are permitted to do so as well. So please take your nasty comments someplace else.

My office place is just now allowing me to work from home a couple days/week. I'm lucky that my job duties easily allow this. I feel for those whose duties require them to be at work and does not allow for FWAs such as telework.

I am permitted to telework b/c I pushed HARD for it, explained why and how I could make it work for the office and for me. Further, I am a good worker who was going to go elsewhere if not permitted to do so. Since they wanted to keep me, they are allowing it (under the terms of the directive issued by management; this is not something special for me). I want this to work and, as a result, will work hard to make sure I'm available during core hours and that my productivity is maintained.

This is a win-win situation for everyone in my view.

Posted by: JS | January 22, 2007 9:14 AM

I have to take you up on your comment scarry - what exactly do you mean by "work for it"? Do you mean before I request a flexible schedule I must have sold my soul to my employer for the past 10 years? It's exactly mentality like that that keeps FWAs from being so widespread. what is wrong with me applying for a job but saying - you know what I have a small child who I need to pick up by 3 everyday so I can only give you 8-2 and I agree to have my compensation reduced accordingly? What can possibly be wrong with that?

Posted by: fabworkingmom | January 22, 2007 9:16 AM

"Children are not just a lifestyle "choice"

Right, KFed has reproduced 4 times and shows no signs of stopping. Looking forward to the contributions of his next generation. And that nitwit Britney's spawn.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 9:17 AM

I have to agree that this really can't be taken seriously since the survey was conducted at a Leadership Seminar which would obviously attract career-focused older women.

Most moms in this country (not the elitist urban areas) are younger than 40-55 (as Leslie wants sampled for her "research") The average age for first time motherhood is 25 (I'm 28 now- 25 when my daughter was born). What do educated young moms do when they don't have 20 yrs of work experience and not as much leeway to arrange a flex schedule?

I think THAT is the "opt out" revolution.

I have only a few years of work experience and decided to "opt out" of my career for a few years- my salary wasn't worth it, but maybe it would have been if I could have arranged a 7-3 type of schedule and partnered with my husband to have one of us home for most of the day.

I don't know where all of these flex jobs are!! I searched for MONTHS to find one- maybe if I had 15 yrs experience it would have been easier- but what do you do at the beginning of your career?? Shouldn't young moms be included in this as well? Most of us are NOT 50 years old! My mom is actually 50 and SHE arranged flex time so she could come and visit us more (she lives a few hrs away), yet I, the mother, haven't found that flexibility.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 22, 2007 9:29 AM

I'm going to just try to ignore the snarky comments and explain why my company's flexibility is good for them as well as me. I work part time. 4 days a week 8:30 to 3 pm. Mon and Wed. from home, Tu and Th in the office. I am home to meet my daughter after school each day, and my toddler is only in day care two days.

My company gets to keep an extremely loyal and dedicated employee. I find myself being more concerned about getting my work done than before when I was full time. They have not had to hire a new person and I get the flexibility to be with my children when they need me.

I was seriously considering leaving work completely, which would have cost the company a lot more money. They only pay me for what I work, and the only benefit I get is leave time and holidays(pro-rated for the hours I work). Luckily we have insurance through my husband.

I know that I am lucky, and I try to show my gratitude in my work. I think that my company gets a good deal out of this too. And, my kids win too. How is this a bad thing? It doesn't affect any of my co-workers so I don't understand why people get so up in arms about this. Flexibility is not just for parents. Many people have many reasons to use flexible work arrangements. Parents may just be the ones to break the ground for the others.

Posted by: Lucky Mom | January 22, 2007 9:31 AM

Ah, choice and FWA. I am actually starting my new job after a reorg and in June I will have to go back to work full time. I am still trying to negotiate a every other Friday off to be home with my three year old. If I don't get it, I will be annoyed but at least DD starts full time preschool next year and will be in school M-F. I don't get it either. I do the same amount of work whether I work full or part time. I just make less money when I am part time. It is not as if I got 10% less assingments. I don't get where it hurts the employers that much.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 22, 2007 9:34 AM

I'd like to hear details about the law that is in effect in Britain on flex hours. Apparently, all employees in Britain are allowed to approach their bosses with flextime requests, and the onus is on the companies to prove that each request would NOT work or it must be granted. And this law is supposed to be expanded somehow (my brain is not remembering exactly how at the moment) in April 2007. Does anyone know the details, or a great reference to read?

Posted by: equal | January 22, 2007 9:36 AM

AMEN SAHMbacktoworkmom! I was suprised at the average age of those surveyed. They are not the generation the "opt-out" revolution pertains to. It is those of us in our late twenties and early thirties who haven't accrued the work experience to be "entitled" to flexble schedules but have young kids who tend to opt-out if we can afford to. There is such a waste of talent/non-fulfilment of ambition going on with mom's having to "opt-out" (it's not a choice when the alternative is living such a harried life).

Posted by: fabworkingmom | January 22, 2007 9:38 AM

Excellent point SAHMbacktowork. True balance between parents may be just a FWA away. Although the average age of first time moms may be 25, many people are waiting until later in life because they may be in a better position financially as well has having the experience necessary to command more flexibility.

I expect that the trend will continue for more FWA's driven by the slightly older workers in many companies AND progressive companies trying to attract competent employees at all age ranges.

I'm a big fan of an organization called ThirdPath.org which is dedicated to promoting more balance and flexibility in the workplace.

Posted by: equal_too | January 22, 2007 9:40 AM

If we could only flex-time/work from home nursing (heavy sigh).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 22, 2007 9:41 AM

Twenty-Eighth!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 9:51 AM

I'm actually nursing right now..and have done con calls and read emails doing same!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | January 22, 2007 10:07 AM

For the first time in a long time, this article speaks to me. I fit the description.

One thing to consider is that getting the skill set that allows one to have this kind of flexibility requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice early in the game -- kind of like long-term strategic planning. No guarantees, of course, but setting the stage to get this kind of flexibility.

One of the downsides is not having the kind of job security (I work on soft money -- have been for 20+ years), but by establishing a solid reputation, I've ended up with a combination of enough job security and enough flexibility to live the kind of life I want for me and my family.

As I teach my son -- it really is all about choices and consequences.

Posted by: 29th | January 22, 2007 10:12 AM

I left a very demanding, full-time job a little over two years ago because I was expecting twins and I knew I could not be a good mom and do well in that job. After staying home with my kids for 6 months, I decided I'd really like to go back to work part-time. My husband supported my decision 100% and we figured out what we'd need to do to make it work.

I expected it to be hard to find a job that would allow me a part-time schedule with the ability to work from home at least one day each week and a boss who would understand when the kids got sick. I found a job with all of those things within 2 weeks. I was honest with the recruiter. I knew my wishlist was a tall order; I also was ready to be told no. I explained how I could meet deadlines if I had to miss a day of work if my kids were sick. I am not the only one who enjoys this flexibility at my company. It is not only parents, or moms, who enjoy the flexibility. In the end, they care about results not hours in the office. It may take me longer to be promoted because of my decreased schedule, but I am okay with that. Sometimes, I have to work extra hours to get my work done. Sometimes, I work late at night. I'm okay with all of that. The flexibility I have is important to me with three kids under 5 at home and the paycheck provides a great deal of financial security for my family.

Posted by: mom2led | January 22, 2007 10:14 AM

To 8:12 not-brave-enough-to-use-a-name --

"Let's everybody change everything so that affulent, educated women can have absolutely every thing that they want."

Yes, exactly, let's change "EVERYTHING" so that affluent women can work and raise kids. Maybe then less affluent women will have a shot at the same thing. And people over 55 and childless people and people with a range of disabilities and even MEN -- all of whom might want to (or need to) work flexible schedules. You shouldn't have to "earn" this, since it's good for employees and employers.

I can't see how this is going to hurt non-affluent, non-women, so what's the point to all the objections to flexibility?

Posted by: Leslie | January 22, 2007 10:15 AM

Go #30.

Chugga chugga chugga!

(How stupid is this trend? Can we agree to stop now?)

Posted by: 30th? | January 22, 2007 10:15 AM

I worked at a non-profit a few years ago. One of my colleagues in her early 30's had a baby, and when she and her husband did the math, the cost of childcare on top of commuting meant they weren't really gaining much from her salary. She didn't want to quit since she loved her job (actually, her career), but financially, it wouldn't really hurt her small, nuclear family if she didn't work.

So she worked out a very reasonable plan down to details of scheduling and availability and asked our boss - a working mother of 2 in her mid-40's - if she could arrange some flex time, since her job was mostly done over phone and e-mail anyway. And since she had always been allowed to work at home during inclement weather and had also done so during the last month of her pregnancy when she'd been put on bed rest, she thought this was a reasonable request.

Our boss refused, saying that part of "being and adult and coming in to work was coming in to an office". This was news to us. This boss *always* came in late and left early to attend to her childcare needs. Which made our jobs harder, since she went totally off the radar and was unavailable for the approval process she had set in place before we could do certain tasks.

(My colleague quit, and ended up taking a nice part-time job at another non-profit for a little less money, but because it was part time, she managed to get a schedule to fit her life better.)

I think before FWA's can become truly workable, management and business as a whole need to grasp the concept of VPN's. And the fact that being at the office does not always equal productivity.

When my husband was transferred from DC to the Midwest, I found that no companies in the area really had a need for someone with my skill set, so I set myself up as an independent Internet contractor. With the exception of the occasional crunch job, I rarely work more than 30 hours a week, but am just as productive as I was in any office where I worked 40 hours a week (or more).

And it's because I'm not in a traditional office setting, where I don't have to deal with the physical pressure of someone standing over my shoulder telling me what they think my priorities are (instead of what actually makes sense). And it makes me wish that one or two of my favorite jobs would have let me do this, because I could have been so much more productive.

Being in the workplace doesn't necessarily equal productivity. Ask BestBuy. Trust your trusted employees to do their work in a healthy environment.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | January 22, 2007 10:17 AM

Do you mean before I request a flexible schedule I must have sold my soul to my employer for the past 10 years?

Nope, I didn't mean that at all and if your employer says you can do that good for you. However, I think that before I gave someone a flex schedule, I would like to see what kind of worker they are. Would I like to watch them for ten years, no, but I just don't think that every new hire should get to work from home three days a week or get every other Friday off.

I geuss I get annoyed sometimes with the entiltment issue in these discussions.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 10:35 AM

Remember, if a job can just as easily be done from home as at the office, it can just as easily be done from India.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 22, 2007 10:35 AM

Here is the rest of my post. I am totally not paying attention today.

I know a lot of people work hard to get ahead and go to school, I am one of them. However, that does not mean that I am entitled to anything I want or that I can demand everything I want from an employer. If your employer gives it to you great, if not, well find another job. Many people in this country have no choice at all about their schedule; I guess I am just annoyed that people who have a lot are always the ones who seem to want more! I say this as I sit in my home office. Yep, I work from home, but I wasn't allowed to do it until I proved myself, and if the company would have told me no, I just would have found a job where I live now.

Like I said, I got up on the wrong side of the bed and read the article on coal mining before I came to the blog today; it put me in a very bad mood.

Posted by: scarry | January 22, 2007 10:40 AM

There are relatively few jobs where one performs entirely independent of a team. For employees who have one of those few jobs, FWAs may be appropriate.

On the other hand, if an employee holds a job that routinely requires coordination of availability between inside and outside contacts, and focused participation, it is burdensome to consistently deal with the one employee who is never available late afternoon, for whom everyone must look up the home number to conference him/her in, and whose participation comes with random kid noise in the background. In jobs requiring such participation, there's a vast difference in inconvenience to the rest of the team between a team member working from outside the office, on sick and snow days, a team member who is never available after 3 or if you do reach her the noise from the soccer match is audible across the wire. I worked on a deal a couple of years ago with a highly competent woman who, however, tried to run the entire transaction from home. We could never reach her directly because she didn't forward her phone. When she did return calls, it was either during naptime (i.e. the business need had to wait until her baby chose to sleep) or we heard screaming baby in the background. If she'd been willing to hire assistance so she could work full-time from home with the baby, and be as available to her colleagues and clients as if she was in the office, her FWA likely would have worked. As it was, we couldn't wait for the transaction to close so we could get back to working with people who were AVAILABLE and focused during business hours.

If FWAs work for the business, including colleagues, they should be made available. But employees who desire FWAs which will not work smoothly for their colleagues and the business needs of the workplace shouldn't feel wronged if a supervisor declines to approve them.

In addition, supervisors shouldn't impliedly endorse an FWA that is not formalized because it leads to much workplace snarkiness. If an employee is going to work from home a majority of the time, formalize the arrangement and make it available to more than the person sure to be deemed by her colleagues to be a favored employee, or be prepared for the other employees to be highly and justifiably resentful of the disparity.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 10:44 AM

"Remember, if a job can just as easily be done from home as at the office, it can just as easily be done from India."

Excellent point!

Posted by: oleander | January 22, 2007 10:45 AM

"I geuss I get annoyed sometimes with the entiltment issue in these discussions."

How is attempting to work 7-3 or 6-2 or a few days at home instead of 9-5 in the office day in/day out asking for an "entitlement"??? The work would still get done, but, gosh forbid- my daughter wouldn't have to be in after school care!

I guess I'M tired of people being narrow minded and rigid in the way things "should" be.

People in general/bosses are against this because all they see is a person leaving at 3! They don't care about the coming in at 6 or 7.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 22, 2007 10:48 AM

"If she'd been willing to hire assistance so she could work full-time from home with the baby, and be as available to her colleagues and clients as if she was in the office, her FWA likely would have worked."

If you have small children, my firm will not let you work from home unless you give them proof that you have childcare for them. I think that's reasonable.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 22, 2007 10:54 AM

I have a question for part timers and people with FWA? How is your retirement and benefits calculated? My time in service is calculated at a part time level. So if I reduce my hours 10%, then I am only credited with 90% of time in service for the calendar year. I also get full benefits and 90% leave. Is that true for the private sector?

Posted by: foamgnome | January 22, 2007 10:55 AM

SAHMbacktowork,

I think you need to go back and read my post again. I am neither narrow minded or ridged. I work from home myself, but I don't think that it is just something I am entitled to because I am a working mother.

I am not a boss either, but if I was and the people who worked for me could make working at home or leaving early work for them and the business, they could do it. However, I wouldn't just let them because "they" wanted to or because "they" didn't want their kid to have to go to daycare. You totally misread my post.

Posted by: scarry | January 22, 2007 10:57 AM

Actually, SAHMbacktowork, it's not narrow-minded or rigid to suggest that many times work that comes up after 3 can't wait until tomorrow at 6 a.m. Most businesses expect that you should be responsive enough to address a crisis arising in mid-afternoon before the end of the business day (whatever that means in your business). In instances where the level of responsiveness expected is that the mid-afternoon problem is resolved by 9 a.m. the following day, your 7 - 3 plan is workable. In instances where everyone involved is tapping his or her fingers next to his or her e-mail waiting for a solution to the mid-afternoon crisis today, a 7 - 3 employee is of no use. Part of being competitive in today's market environment is having a sense of urgency and a better service record than one's competitors. In our office, we need employees who understand that market pressure, before we lose our business to competitors who do.

If your job is to produce 16 widgets per day, and no one else in your office is waiting for your widgets in order to do what he/she has to do, then you're correct no one should care if you opt to come in at 6 and leave at 3. If you're a secretary, and your job is to provide service when the person to whom you report needs service, 7 to 3 may or may not cut it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:01 AM

Only the government and some very large private sector companies have the type of work arrangements you speak of, regarding government employment, it makes no discernable conntribution to the productivity of this country and can be characterized as of no value and does anything the unions tell it to do anyway. Large corporations that have tried it are made up of the very rich and powerful that can afford it. The rest of the world as we know it can't seem to make economic sense of it, when they can see a profit in it, flex time will happen.

Posted by: mcewen | January 22, 2007 11:01 AM

"you know what I have a small child who I need to pick up by 3 everyday so I can only give you 8-2 and I agree to have my compensation reduced accordingly? What can possibly be wrong with that?"

As an employer, why on earth would I want to hire you? I love what excellent, skilled, creative people everyone on this board is. Somehow becoming parents has made everyone so much more talented than the childless that employers should be beding over to keep them. Even if you were willing to take less comp to leave at 3, I still have to find someone to do the work you are not doing and I'd prefer someone who was available throught the end of the business day.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:02 AM

There are many jobs that can be done from home a few days a week that could not necessarily be done from overseas. Most days I could work from anywhere, including India, but that doesn't mean that you could easliy find someone in India to replace me. My work involves social science research that demands firm comand of American law.

I actually get less work done in the office than I could complete at home since at the office I constantly am barraged by needless interuptions. But my office refuses to allow anyone to work from home for any reason and they have lost many qualified workers as a result - unfortunately they refuse to see it.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | January 22, 2007 11:07 AM

mcewen
"regarding government employment, it makes no discernable conntribution to the productivity of this country and can be characterized as of no value"

This is true in many, many cases. I am spending the day preparing a report that no one will ever read or analyze. But there is a filing dealine that must be met!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:08 AM

To Mcewen: As a federal employee who takes care of soldiers wounded in the war and their families I highly resent your assertion that my employment "makes no discernable conntribution to the productivity of this country and can be characterized as of no value". I have many friends who are also hardworking and dedicated federal employees.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 22, 2007 11:10 AM

foamgnome-

My salary & bonus are pro-rated. No pension. My employer puts 3% of my pay into a 401k so, in effect, that is pro-rated also. Vacation and Holiday leave is pro-rated. I do not get sick leave (FT staff does). Medical, Dental, Life, Disability are available to me same as if I was full time.

Posted by: mom2led | January 22, 2007 11:10 AM

"Even if you were willing to take less comp to leave at 3, I still have to find someone to do the work you are not doing and I'd prefer someone who was available throught the end of the business day."

and that's why I agree with Scarry. If my choice is between retaining an already proven employee who understands that leaving at 3 doesn't mean the workday is done, it merely means you can follow up from home later, when necessary, and starting anew with an unknown quantity, e.g., a new hire, I'm more likely to work with the good employee I already have.


It's crazy to expect a new employer to hire someone she will have difficulty supervising and who may or may not have the sense of urgency of the new employer's business. Given a choice between New Employee A who is low maintenance and at least talks a good game about being a team player, and New Employee A who talks a good game but wants a limited schedule that will take her out of pocket for any issues arising after 3 p.m., the hiring decision is easy.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:14 AM

mcewen-

I work for a mid-size, privately held company and am afforded the flexibility you say is only available to government and large private sector employees. That is just one of the many points you made that are incorrect.

Posted by: mom2led | January 22, 2007 11:15 AM

Here we go with the childless by choice calling children "spawn" again. Tell me again if that was how your mother referred to you?

I'm with Scarry. People do need to earn the right to flexible work arrangements. There is a level of trust involved that can't just be assumed (as I've unfortunately found out with my own department). My employees complete a work at home plan for each day (up to 2 a week depending upon the position) that they plan to work from home and submit it in advance for my approval. This is the best method I've found for tracking accountability and productivity while not in the office. Prior to implementing this procedure, when I let people telecommute just casually, they screwed over the company big time.

And as for why companies should care about people with families, well, it's called REALITY. I've yet to find a company who employs only childless people or even a majority of childless people. There just ain't that many of them out there once you get past a certain age.

Posted by: Righto | January 22, 2007 11:20 AM

I think I'll move to the West Coast- most friends I know in business/government can work 6-2 or so because they fit into the East Coast's schedules of 9-5.

Anyone up for SoCal?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:22 AM

Flextime does not just benefit parents of young children. I am the single mother of two young children, but in my small employee group, I am the only one who works a traditional schedule--because that is the schedule that works for me. Others have adult children and grandchildren who live far away, or have children in high school. They use flextime to have time for workouts in the afternoon, volunteering, or who knows, maybe going to the grocery store at a time when it isn't so crowded. The point is, who cares what they are doing when they are not working, as long as they work their schedule and get their work done? As for accountability, there is plenty of that--it is measured in product output, attaining measurable goals, documenting work done, etc.

Posted by: single mother by choice | January 22, 2007 11:23 AM

"I think I'll move to the West Coast- most friends I know in business/government can work 6-2 or so because they fit into the East Coast's schedules of 9-5."

Work for or with the military. In the 7 years I've been doing that, I've never had any problem getting a 7-3 schedule. If you don't want people to fuss about your working nontraditional hours, it helps a lot if you choose a field where those hours are the norm.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 22, 2007 11:28 AM

Nontraditional hours raise different issues than working traditional hours from home. Apples and oranges, really.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:33 AM

I think McDonalds offers flextime to everybody! You can even work nights and wear a headset!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:33 AM

My childless sister has flex time. She gets every other Friday off. Others take every other Monday off. That was the bargain up front, no questions asked. If she has a project that needs to get done, she comes in on her regular off day because she understands she needs to get something done. She works as an electrical engineer for a government contractor. It is VERY male, but this flex policy makes their employees happier and more satisfied with their work, regardless of gender or childcare responibilities.

I am hoping in the next couple of years to go to official flex time. As it is, I come in about 30 minutes after our official open because I am taking kids to school and daycare. My boss doesn't mind and doesn't expect me to make up the half hour, even though I usually do my eating lunch at my desk and working. I might point out, that I am THE staff for this office. Eventually the staffing situation here will get to tth point where I will ask to cut back my hours so I work 4 days. If I take a cut in pay and benefits, that isn't such a big deal as I am covered through my husband employer and getting paid for 4 days versus 5 is not really going to effect us financially.

All in all, flex time makes sense for most employment and where it has been enacted, I have heard positive reviews, especially when flex time is offered to all.

Posted by: LM in WI | January 22, 2007 11:35 AM

Just a question to those that have children and FWA's - are your children at home with you when you work or do you work when the kids are in school or napping etc? I'm curious if some employers are resistant to these types of arrangements because they do not want the work to be done only when a child is sleeping or if a conference call needs to be arranged they don't want to hear cartoons etc in the background. I'm interested to see how everyone strikes the balance.

Posted by: Curious | January 22, 2007 11:35 AM

"regarding government employment, it makes no discernable conntribution to the productivity of this country and can be characterized as of no value"

I work in a federal museum and I think we actually do contribute quite a bit to this country, except of course to cultural neanderthals like Mcewen. I guess Mcewen has not investigated ALL the things the government does for this country or he/she wouldn't make such an unintelligent statement.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:37 AM

Who benefits from FWA? Men or women who have lives outside of work. I know men and women who have no children, adult children, and young children, who work 6-2 or 7-3, because they like having daylight hours for other pursuits--volunteering, caring for children (or elderly parents), working out, or whatever. My dad for years worked from 6:30 until 4pm nine days in two weeks, taking alternate Fridays off. He did this after my sister and I were well into our 30's. This allowed him to spend time with my mom (after she retired), clean house, do yardwork, go out of town, etc. I chose a profession (teaching) with a relatively nonflexible schedule, but that allowed me to be with my children most of their nonschool hours. My friend with adult children has a flexible schedule so she can volunteer after work. Another friend works out after a flexible schedule. Their work gets done. Who cares what hours they work?

Posted by: single mother by choice | January 22, 2007 11:42 AM

I can't get gov't employees to do the work they are supposed to do when they are in the office - can you imagine what would happen if they were UNsupervised!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:42 AM

scarry, I misinterpreted your post- I haven't seen any "entitlement" views or comments on this blog today, so it felt out of place to me, but I certainly understand what you're saying. I would hate for a few bad apples to ruin it for the hard workers who'd like a fair shake in at least trying something different.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 22, 2007 11:43 AM

I forgot to sign my Mcewen post above, one last thing, I too have a flexible schedule that benefits both my employer and my family. Everyone should have the same opportunity if the job functions allow it.

Posted by: museum employee | January 22, 2007 11:43 AM

SAHMbacktowork

That is okay, I didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't for flex time, I am, but it should be as fair as possible to everyone. I have seen a lot of people abuse it and it just makes it harder on people who can make it work.

"Just a question to those that have children and FWA's - are your children at home with you when you work or do you work when the kids are in school or napping etc? "

My daughter goes to day care. I pick her up on my lunch break and she takes a nap until my husband gets home an hour. I am an hour behind my office, so it works out really well.

People working with their children at home are a real problem for employees who have to put their kids in day care. Basically, if you work from home and don't put your kid in day care, you are making more money than the person who works in the office and whose kid goes to daycare. It causes a lot of resentment and low moral. I would never even consider not putting my child in day care. There are days when the school is closed or she is sick that she is home with me, but usually if I don't have anything pressing to do, I take PTO.

Posted by: scarry | January 22, 2007 11:47 AM

I am loathe to defend mcewen, but he gets points for the civility of his initial post. Considering the tenor of some of his past comments, we might should recognize this as a glass half full and leave him alone rather than expecting enlightenment.

Fred, my condolences on New Orleans. At least with Indianapolis in the SuperBowl, there's Archie's boy to root for. I will have to put aside my recollection of the Colts departure from Baltimore for Peyton's sake!

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 11:49 AM

Curious-

My children still go to daycare on the days when I work from home. I am free to participate in conference calls or attend client meetings, etc. Typically, I work 8 a.m - 4 p.m. When there are conflicts with that schedule, I make up the work time late at night. Not much different than if I went to the office and had to leave early for a doctor appointment, etc.

Posted by: mom2led | January 22, 2007 11:50 AM

"conference call needs to be arranged they don't want to hear cartoons etc in the background"

I deal with several sales reps who work from home. The background noises of children and Oprah are very annoying and these reps tend to make a lot of mistakes.

There DOES seem to be a sense of entitlement on behalf of these reps because they are not aware of the inappropriate business behavior. Their kids are really bratty (barking out orders) and the parents don't know how to handle them.

The employers are losing businees because I buy the bare minimum from these reps and/or take my government business elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:51 AM

I think McDonalds offers flextime to everybody! You can even work nights and wear a headset!


Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:51 AM

"I think McDonalds offers flextime to everybody! You can even work nights and wear a headset!"

You know, even as a joke this isn't funny. It's condescending. It indicates that you haven't the slightest idea of the lack of a set schedule available to quick serve restaurant employees. I'm glad you are so removed from low skilled work place environments that you are comfortable laughing at the expense of those who work in these sorts of jobs.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 11:55 AM

The "only 18 percent opted out" figure cited by this sham of survey is misleading, when we remember that only 60% of the women surveyed had children.

So, of mothers (assuming that they would be the only ones with reason to opt-out?), it's probably more like 30% of this self-selected over acheiving sample opted out (much closer to the 50% "real" BLS figure).

Posted by: biassed | January 22, 2007 12:06 PM

Lighten up, Francis.

Posted by: Hey, 11:55 | January 22, 2007 12:06 PM

I have worked from home since going back to work when my son was 12 weeks old. I had resigned from my job during leave then was asked back working from home. Until he was almost 2 we had a part time sitter come to the house 3 days a week. Then he went to daycare 3 days a week, and just this month started going to daycare full time. He's now 3. My employer knew this was the situation from day one, they asked me back. I have been FT the entire time too. It just worked out, some days better than others.

Posted by: Burke,VA | January 22, 2007 12:08 PM

so if the worker most likely to have an FWA is a 40 year old guy, is he entering into the FWA to be a SAHD or for some other reason? I admit I don't know any men with FWAs, although I know several SAHD.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:15 PM

Well, to go from 3-13 to the NFC Championship game is quite something. Not really that big of a football fan but did enjoy watching the Saints win for a change!

Archie, I am sure, is very happy.

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 12:19 PM

My husband works from home when he's not traveling (about 50% of the time). I would definitely call his schedule flexible -- we have often left on Friday mornings for vacation and he has done work the entire drive there (the company provides a wireless card). He isn't required to put in a certain number of hours a day or over the course of a week, but I would say there is more flexibility when you have a job where you travel. Employers seem to be more understanding that if you're going to be away for 2-3 nights from your family, you get to work maybe a 4-5 hour day from time to time to make up for it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 22, 2007 12:19 PM

To the person who recommended the military for "flex" hours- my husband is in the military and works 7:45-3:45 for the past 18 months. Before that he worked 13-14 hour days on a swing shift- we NEVER saw him. It's luck of the draw. You can rarely choose what schedule you want- no matter what your career field is.

Also, how flexible is that schedule when you have to be on TDY or deployment or have weekend duty on a seemingly endless rotation???

The military offers some financial stability and health insurance and somewhat adequate housing, but a flexible lifestyle it is not!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:22 PM

Gee, when I was in the Army, FWA meant that I was allowed the choice to work either Saturday or Sunday in addition to M-F.

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 12:25 PM

"Gee, when I was in the Army, FWA meant that I was allowed the choice to work either Saturday or Sunday in addition to M-F."

Right on!! I just told my husband about her comment and he thought it was quite amusing.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:28 PM

I wasn't recommending joining the military - I was recommending working with the military or for a DoD agency in a civilian capacity. There are plenty of jobs, from graphic designers to project managers to HR reps, and you generally get the benefit of the military schedule - arrive early and leave early.

Actually joining the military is not necessarily a good step if you're looking for a flexible schedule.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 22, 2007 12:29 PM

American Families are in danger. Divorce rates and family breakdown is high. Flexible work schedules allows parents to still provide financial income to the household; but helps relieve some of the pressure from working full time. Unfortunately in todays society both parents have to work just to live a comfortable lifestyle. Everyone needs to find what works for them. The fact is Life is Short and what we can to minimize stress in our lives and be more physically available to our kids is a great thing.

Posted by: cyntia | January 22, 2007 12:30 PM

I think that FWA comes down to this: whether your employer pays you for your presents or for you knowledge. Not to be disrepectiful about anyone's job but some jobs require that you basically show up and be there for the scheduled hours. Some jobs require that you use your knowledge. Some jobs do require both. Jobs that require presents will never be flextime but jobs that require the use of knowledge can offer the opportunity of flextime.

Posted by: the original anon | January 22, 2007 12:31 PM

I plan on working home with my child.

As long as I am available for email or (not as often used these days) telephone calls during the core hours, that is sufficient in my view. If I can get my briefs, memos, other written work done while she is napping then GREAT! If not, then I make it up on the weekend or later that night when my husband gets home. It doesn't matter when I do that type of work (at least in my field), so long as I do it and submit it on time. This requires only that I plan accordingly. What does matter is that I am available for the emails, questions during core hours. I do that and will continue to do so.

I have the option of daycare on the days I am home if I want/ need it.

While I can see FWA not working for everyone, it does work for me. And, I am profoundly grateful for that since I did not want to "opt out" of my career. Yet, I want as much home time with my child as possible. This allows me to do have the best of both worlds. And, it allows my employer to keep a hard-working, productive employee happy and loyal.

(As an aside, I do not understand the resistance to at least TRYING FWAs in the work place. To me, the resistance speaks more to the capabilities of the supervisors -who are unwilling/unable to make the hard decisions as to who should have a FWA and then conduct appropriate oversight - than the capabilities of the employees.)

Posted by: JS | January 22, 2007 12:34 PM

"Jobs that require presents will never be flextime but jobs that require the use of knowledge can offer the opportunity of flextime."

Let me take a guess that your job requires "presents" knowledge is nowhere to be found there!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:35 PM

Where's the job that has presents? I want some!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:38 PM

"Flexible work schedules allows parents to still provide financial income to the household; but helps relieve some of the pressure from working full time"

Mebbe, but why should I give a damn? There are thousands of well qualifed applicants for every job posting.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 12:39 PM

Curious-

My children still go to daycare on the days when I work from home. I am free to participate in conference calls or attend client meetings, etc. Typically, I work 8 a.m - 4 p.m. When there are conflicts with that schedule, I make up the work time late at night. Not much different than if I went to the office and had to leave early for a doctor appointment, etc.

Posted by: mom2led | January 22, 2007 12:40 PM

My bad, here I restate my comments.

I think that FWA comes down to this: whether your employer pays you for your presence or for you knowledge. Not to be disrespectful about anyone's job but some jobs require that you basically show up and be there for the scheduled hours. Some jobs require that you use your knowledge. Some jobs do require both. Jobs that require presence will never be flextime candidates but jobs that require the use of knowledge can offer the opportunity of flextime.

I know of some people who are much more comfortable with regularly scheduled hours. This gives a sharp division to work/home life.

Posted by: the original anon | January 22, 2007 12:42 PM

JS, it isn't as simple as a supervisor deciding who should have FWA. It has become a discrimination issue for some companies. My company has nothing in writing about allowing employees to telecommute -- we find it's more flexible that way. And unfortunately, I've heard from my colleagues that there have been employees who ruined it for everyone in their departments. So it's less to do with the supervisor (although that is a factor), and more to do with the employee's commitment to the company.

Posted by: Righto | January 22, 2007 12:43 PM

"Mebbe, but why should I give a damn? There are thousands of well qualifed applicants for every job posting."

I do not think that this is true. In my industry, we can find very few well qualified applicants. Demographics are catching up with us and we have very little sucess finding people with 10-15 years industry experience in preparation and execution of contracts.

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 12:48 PM

Of course it is not easy. But, rarely is anything easy. But does that mean it shouldn't be done?

In my case, we have a detailed directive with re: who is a candidate for FWA (telework in my case) and how oversight is to be conducted. While a directive isn't perfect, I think doing something like this w/o guidelines is asking for a lawsuit but that is only my opinion.

I just feel that being present at the office is not some sort of talisman that will make peopel work and staying at home the opposite. I can name SEVERAL people who come to work and sit at their desks religiously for 8 hours a day. They do relatively little work. There shouldn't be this paranoia about trying a FWA. If it doesn't work or if an employee is not keeping up productivity, that is another issue.

Posted by: JS | January 22, 2007 12:59 PM

wow, slow day today- i guess this topic is just boring for everyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 1:05 PM

No, I am telecommuting and my connection is s-l-o-w today!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 1:15 PM

Thought mcewen would say something controversial, but not even that. Maybe it's the east coast snow.

Posted by: ZZZzzzzz.... | January 22, 2007 1:18 PM

"I plan on working home with my child.

As long as I am available for email or (not as often used these days) telephone calls during the core hours, that is sufficient in my view."

Good luck with that one. I sincerely doubt that your concept of "working" from home will be acceptable to your employer.

Posted by: To JS | January 22, 2007 1:25 PM

to ZZZzzz...mcewen did get a smattering of responses to his accusation of govt. employees not being productive, etc. Kind of like a gnat - just wave it away and forget about it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 22, 2007 1:26 PM

Well, I guess I shouldn't be suprised by the posters who find something vaguely anti-capitalist in the flex time arrangements that I enjoy. And contrary to one poster, there aren't "thousands" of people qualified to do the type of work I do. There are actually very few, and my boss has made the very wise decision to avoid "brain drain" by holding onto those of us who can by permitting flex-time, reduced hours arrangements and some working from home. Flexibility such as this is one of the reasons that I decided to go to professional school, and 20 years out, if I was still expected to clock in at 9 and out at 6 (or actually significantly later, as is typical in my field) I'd have chosen another profession. This flexiblity is also a lot of the reason I worked like a dog early on in my career. It is the reason I, like a number of other women who pursued graduate degrees, made choices that led us to more freedom later on. We married later. We started families later. Any many of us never had the choice to do either, in some measure because of the demands of the professional choices we made. It's ironic to me that originally, it was men savaging women like me for the choice to go to graduate school. I was told more than once that we were taking places from young men who weren't going to waste the opportunity by staying home to have children. And believe me, there isn't anything less aphrodisiac than telling a man you've just met that you are in professional school. Now other women are criticizing us because we've got a modicum of freedom in how we spend our working lives. And before the charges of elitism flood in, I've chosen to spend my working life working on behalf of the indigent. That's were the fruits of the opportunities I had early on have flowed.

Posted by: lifermom | January 22, 2007 1:30 PM

during the time my guest blog was published, I had several telephone conversations with Leslie. Each time, I could hear her kids playing in the background. I didn't find it annoying at all. In fact, I thought it was cute, not to mention appropriate for the work she does. Suppose it helps to have well behaved children. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 22, 2007 1:32 PM

Gosh, I'd rather have my child in the background than my boss harping on me while on the phone!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 1:47 PM

most employers seem to subscribe to the theory that 'if you're not here, you're not working.' no matter what technology has brought us, and no matter that many people sit in office buildings, in plain sight of their bosses, and do no or little work. It is a perception that needs changing, since the reality is that many people can and do complete real work from home.

Posted by: Ritamae | January 22, 2007 1:48 PM

What I hate to hear over the phone:

Thank you for calling [Insert Businessname here]. Your business is important to us. At this time, we are receiving an abnormally high volume of calls. If you stay on the line, a representative will answer your call in turn.

Of course, you will only hear these words when you call the service department, never the sales ofice. ain't that America!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 22, 2007 2:02 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

someone think of an alternative topic. please.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:03 PM

lifermom: Amen. I'd like to meet you. I, too, have committed my professional life to working in the non profit sector. For me, it's a satisfying,creative, and intellectually challenging environment. (I worked in a for profit early on, briefly, hated it.) Again, it's all about preparing for having choices later on. It's not elitist to exert some control over one's life.

Posted by: 29th | January 22, 2007 2:05 PM

Speaking as a former "boss", I hated telecommuting as a practice. If someone were in the office and I knew they were there, it was not difficult to track them down to answer questions or to get a meeting together to brainstorm or go over project details.

If team members were telecommuting, I had the expectation that they should be at their computers during the regular working hours, so they would need to be available. We even had instant messaging to make communications easier. But more often than not, emails and IMs would go for a long time unanswered. I always had to wonder what was going on and when I asked they would say things like, "Oh, just stepped out to get something."

Drove me nuts. It's not just getting your work done, but in many instances it is also having your knowledge and brain power available on a moment's notice if a client calls or if the team needs to work on something as a unit. I could always pull someone out of a meeting. I couldn't always get someone who was outside playing with their kids.

Yes, it's a personal problem. I'm working on it. ;-)

Posted by: Working Dad | January 22, 2007 2:11 PM

"I plan on working home with my child.

As long as I am available for email or (not as often used these days) telephone calls during the core hours, that is sufficient in my view."

Good luck with that one. I sincerely doubt that your concept of "working" from home will be acceptable to your employer

What will you do when your kid starts screaming when you are on the phone.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:12 PM

Mcewen, it is unbelievable how arrogant, uninformed and surfaced oriented you are. I bet you think you are really smart and clever too. Your expressed views proved that you may not be as worldly as you think.

Posted by: kk | January 22, 2007 2:14 PM

This is getting boring!!

How about high heels as a topic?? I am really getting tired of wearing them! Shouldn't we be more progressive as a society than to expect women to wear these darned things?

Guys (so you don't feel left out)- are you tired of wearing ties?

Why must we torture ourselves each day for work? No wonder we can't enjoy ourselves and iwsh to work at home in COMFORT- we're either strangling ourselves or limping around with bleeding blistering feet!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:19 PM

I couldn't always get someone who was outside playing with their kids.

Yes, it's a personal problem. I'm working on it. ;-)

People should not be outside playing with their kids when they are suppossed to be working. People like that ruin it for everyone.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:21 PM

"Yes, it's a personal problem. I'm working on it. ;-)"

I don't think it's a personal problem at all. I think this is why it's good for companies to lay down expectations. I work for a large consulting firm that depends on billable hours for its revenue; if you are granted permission to telecommute, you sign a very explicit agreement stating that not only will you get childcare for your kids, but you will be just as available to other staff as you would be if you were in the office. No flitting off for a couple of hours with no notice.

Posted by: Lizzie | January 22, 2007 2:23 PM

when you work at home, does your spouse respect your work-time as work-time, in the same manner as if you traveled to the office? or does he/she implicitly expect that, since you're home, you can babysit the cable guy, empty the dishwasher, pay the bills, etc.?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 2:28 PM

Curious,
Basically, I think you're ok to telecommute with an infant until they can move around--once they can crawl, it's time for a sitter or daycare because it's impossible IMHO to focus. My three year old is in preschool, 5 week old is still home and will be for a while (I'll bring someone in to sit in a few months). If there's an urgent work issue, she'll be ok in the crib for 5 mintues while I take care of it.

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | January 22, 2007 2:31 PM

I'm a single/soe mom of a toddler - I would love to be able to work part time throughout his school years - but, where a the part-time government jobs?

Posted by: Gov't employee | January 22, 2007 2:32 PM

I think a good side to this conversation would be the argument that when more educated, affluent women get the benefits of Flex schedules that it will trickle down to women who aren't as fortunate.

Am I the only person on this board who doesn't believe that? Am I just being pessimistic

Posted by: scarry | January 22, 2007 2:32 PM

"trickle down"

That phrase gives me the willies! It doesn't work in taxes and money (example- wages!!) and I doubt it would work in this case.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:35 PM

wish I could add to the converstaion on high heels but it is impossible to find them in my size - too big!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 2:58 PM

What no one wants to chat about the horror of high heels and ties?

Posted by: My Feet Hurt! | January 22, 2007 2:58 PM

scarry -- too bad, no one's biting. Too preoccupied with trivial comments about shoes and mcewen. If I had more time, I'd join in. Alas, I'm flexing...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 3:08 PM

No you are not the only pessimist...

While I love the flexibility of my academic job I recognize that I would be less likely to give my business to gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. that allowed their employees to operate on my haphazard schedule! I would also hope that hospitals would go about such a change very carefully...

Another question - there was a stats link earlier that indicated that men currently telecommute more often. Is the speculation that flex options are more common in engineering / CS that happen to be male-dominated fields. The breakdown was by gender not field...

Posted by: to scarry | January 22, 2007 3:13 PM

I think it was Catherine de Medici or someone along those lines several hundred years ago in the European nobility (think she was a queen somewhere along the line?) who came up with high heels and corsets -- she was roundish and short, so she made it the fashion (by wearing these things herself) to wear things that made you less roundish and taller. You may all commence with the cursing of her name now.

(She also brought about several other cultural reforms -- I may have the name wrong, but the anecdote is right.)

Ties I don't know the origins of, the previous I learned in a women's studies class....

Posted by: High Heels | January 22, 2007 3:14 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_heels

Well, at least according to Wikipedia, I got the name right (and no I didn't write the article).

Posted by: High Heels part 2 | January 22, 2007 3:15 PM

Don't forget pantyhose. Definitely a horror in my book.

Posted by: Emily | January 22, 2007 3:16 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_heels

Well, at least according to Wikipedia, I got the name right (and no I didn't write the article).

Posted by: High Heels part 2 | January 22, 2007 3:16 PM

High heels: I am a woman and I do not wear heels to work--EVER. I am 6 feet tall and wear a size 10 shoe. They make heels in my size, but do I need them? No. I already tower over most people at work.

Flats are very popular these days! They make super cute mary janes and lovely ballet flats. I say wear flats--to hell with heels (except when out to dinner when they make you look sexy)! I mean, isn't that the point of heels, to make your legs look sexier? I think the idea of wearing heels to work is kind of weird--are we trying to seduce our co-workers?

NC Lawyer, I worked from home exclusively for a couple years. My husband would expect me to make the phone calls to the credit cards, make the doctor's appointments, and make dinner. I did all these things because I had no commute and he commuted for an hour each way (ahh, living in DC). Now I work out of the office every day and he telecomutes three days a week. When I ask him to be available for a plumber or to start making dinner, he always uses the working from home excuse. "You know, just because I'm home doesn't mean I'm sitting around watching TV all day..." Talk about a double standard. You can tell what he thought of my work versus his. Perhaps you've hit a nerve :)

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 3:21 PM

http://www.aauw.org/newsroom/pressreleases/030505.cfm

The link is to a slightly dated (2003) link from the American Association of University Women that links (in part) lack of flex among college-educated women to career choices.

On the flip side it may be harder to reenter high tech after a break... Has anyone seen stats related to that?

Posted by: high tech | January 22, 2007 3:25 PM

"I think I'll move to the West Coast- most friends I know in business/government can work 6-2 or so because they fit into the East Coast's schedules of 9-5."

My boyfriend is on the west coast. I (in preparation for the early mornings of law school coming up) have started going into my lab at 8:30 am, and he's always surprised to hear that I have the place to myself for at least two hours. In his office, they get in at 7 am at the latest. In our lab, our workday is usually from 10a-8p. I always found it weird that he's not a morning person but can easily get up for a 7 am meeting or class.

Speaking of law school, if anyone on the board is interested, I've gotten acceptance letters from Santa Clara and American, a 9K scholarship from Seton Hall, and an 18K scholarship from DePaul. I'm starting to wish I'd applied to Stanford and Berkeley after all; my head is starting to get big.

Back on topic, I love how the blog and its comments went from "Wow, people still think career women are anomalies!" to the common denominator of moms vs. non-moms. "The companies don't care about families!" "I have to pick up the slack of all the moms who want to work at home!"

Today's topic regards the "opting-out" of educated career women as a result of a dearth of flexible work schedules. Only 61% of women surveyed have children. The other 39% opted out due to something else. Why do you think that is? Balance must be achieved in all people's personal lives, because it's not all work-work-work for any of us. Why do we have to turn it into a shouting match between who does more at work and who slacks off?

I'd like to hear from the FWA employees who don't have children, and their mom colleagues who don't have FWA. Do moms who work in-office full time have the same complaints as non-moms who complain about being unable to reach the moms with FWA or alternatively having to hear screaming children on a conference call? Are moms stuck in the office while the non-moms are home, presumably working but actually doing laundry, taking the dog to the vet, and playing online poker? Is there an equal opportunity for FWA regardless of one's family situation? Is it offered, or do you have to ask for it, and is it only available to those with children? Is it available to fathers, or mothers exclusively? Has anyone on the board experienced discrimination in favor of a parent so that the company can be considered family-friendly? NOT being snarky--I actually would like to hear more from people who have different experiences, without dissolving into the age-old fight of I-do-more-because-moms-slack-off vs. My-company-hates-children.

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 3:26 PM

Scarry, I don't think that flexibility will trickle down. When you get to a certain demographic/salary range/education level (I don't know what is PC to say), there are lots of applicants for the jobs that are available (low-skilled, unskilled labor). These employers will never have to offer flex time because there are plenty of other applicants waiting for that job who will work the required hours. I guess the best thing we can do is try to find the employers that treat their employees well (i.e., find places where turn-over is the lowest) and offer them our patronage.

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 3:28 PM

Meesh, Ha! I had a sneaking suspicion it might play out, on average, consistent with your experience. I have a colleague whose husband quit his decent pay, great benefits job to start his own won't-break-even-for-several-years home-based business. She's still responsible for drop-off and pick-up of their youngest and for dinner, i.e., he'll call around 6:30 and ask what the dinner plan is. Cracks me up.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 3:30 PM

Flex time will trickle down, just like increased wages and health benefits did.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 3:30 PM

I got in lawyer school to. My hed is ifne, but my but is to big for CA schools too. I am with u Mona! I only am in Yale and Quinpiac.

My son hears FWA on his ipod. Strait outer compton!

Posted by: mom of 14 | January 22, 2007 3:37 PM

I apparently have a lot of time today.

Mona, congrats on the law school acceptances!

My company give all employees the option of telecommuting or having flex hours, but I just started, so I want to prove myself before I take advantage. Because anybody can do it, there really isn't any resentment. It's the same with my husband's company. He'll call his boss at home and hear kids in the background, and she'll call my husband at home and hear dogs barking in the background.

At my last job there was resentment and favoring of parents in terms of flex scheduling, but that's mainly because we were on-site contractors and our boss was the only one who reported on our productivity. She was routinely late, often left early, missed days on end without calling. We had to pick up her slack big time. But that wasn't really the company's fault (except for hiring an inept supervisor!).

Overall, we've been really lucky to have these situations. Of course, our jobs can easily be done from home, so we will probably continue to encounter these telecommuting options.

Posted by: Meesh | January 22, 2007 3:39 PM

Laura/Mona, Congratulations on your options! Be glad you didn't spend any more than you did on application fees :>)

With respect to your question below:

"Do moms who work in-office full time have the same complaints as non-moms who complain about being unable to reach the moms with FWA or alternatively having to hear screaming children on a conference call?" Hel*, yes. The behavior of some in my workplace tends to make us all look unprofessional. In my work environment, and from a client perspective, telecommuting, particularly on occasion, poses far less of a problem than working oddball hours or disappearing after 3 each day. I respect that there are work environments where 3 p.m. departures are no problem. In a service environment, however, particularly one in which clients are in different time zones, you have to be more available, not less, in order to keep your clients and be perceived as someone who understands the pressure on one's client contacts. If our clients can't reach us with one phone call or e-mail when they need advice or product, they start accepting calls from competitors promising faster, more attentive service.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 3:40 PM

Ok, I'm in lobbying and work in a small office. Answering the phones/admin stuff usually falls into my lap. But 90% of my job could be done at home.

It's starting to get out of control- just by me being here I get sucked into making my boss's dr appointments, printing out place cards for his birthday party (to which I was not invited)

I was sick last week but still worked from home- I got so much done!

I know I'm being used and taken advantage of, but how do I get out of it?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 3:48 PM

Thanks for your reply, NC Lawyer. I suspected that workers at an office would have complaints about those who work from home, regardless of family situations. I don't have kids, and I know for sure I'd watch Maury Povich or fold laundry during the day at least some of the time while working. And when I did work, I'd have to dodge the cat's butt every time she jumped up on my desk and stuck it in my face. Of course, this routine would probably get old for awhile, as guilt would take over and I'd get back to work, but there would always be a temptation. I guess it depends on the individual; some work better at home, some need a structured environment. If only we could be honest with ourselves instead of being lured by the idea of working in our pajamas (oh, that sounds so nice).

And re: "Laura/Mona, Congratulations on your options! Be glad you didn't spend any more than you did on application fees :>)"

Oh, don't worry, I still have at least ten more schools to hear back from. Most of them are backup schools--they waived the application fee because of my high LSAT, and I applied to most of them because I was afraid I wouldn't get into any of them. I applied for free to about half my schools, but with the fees from the others, along with the LSAC fees, I ended up paying about $700 out of pocket. Now I'm faced with options and an important decision to make. It was a draw between Santa Clara and American, but that $18,000 from DePaul is very tempting. And I still have many more schools to hear from! Wish me luck...also, do you have any advice as to how to choose your school? SCU is #3 in the country in intellectual property law, but #87 overall. American is something like #43 with a less impressive IP department. Should I focus on strength in IP or overall strength?

(Sorry for the hijacked thread guys! Resume on-topic discussion.)

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 3:50 PM

You should stick with the top tier school(AU). Also, where do you plan to work after graduation? If it's DC- then AU is better as you'll make contacts/do your summer at a firm here, etc...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 3:55 PM

Mona

You must have known that if you had a really high LSAT score, all other things being equal, you we're going to get in most of the schools where you applied.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 3:58 PM

Off-topic reply:

Laura/Mona, Following is a collection of the best advice I got beforehand: 1. Go to a school where you think you want to live. Law offers are very much geography driven. 2. If you truly know where you want to live, follow the grant money. The happiest lawyers, and the ones with the most options, are the ones with the least amount of debt. In sum, don't necessarily go to the highest ranked school because, while you'll have portability, you may have to travel alot for call-backs (much stress involved in that travel time when you're still accountable for what's going on in class) and you may incur more debt. But if you need portability, that degree from a third or fourth tier school won't provide you with the flexibility you may wish you had a couple of years down the line.

Do you want to be a patent prosecutor? or is your IP interest more likely to result in transactional or litigation work?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 4:02 PM

AU is hardly a top-tier law school.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:06 PM

To Mona -- If you're LSATs were so high, then why didn't you apply to the top tier schools? American and Santa Clara and DePaul are ok, but not exactly the bastions of leaderships development. Why did you settle?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:06 PM

Mona

You must have known that if you had a really high LSAT score, all other things being equal, you we're going to get in most of the schools where you applied.

She just wants to bragg about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:08 PM

Well, we got rid of ties many years ago and I have never had to wear heels.

In fact, I am sitting here at work in a big corp. environment in my jeans and tennis shoes. Fredia wears her medical uniform and her tennis shoe. Now, if I just had a real office rather than a cube!

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 4:12 PM

NC Lawyer, thanks for the great advice! I knew I could count on you. I believe I'll be focusing on transactional/litigation work. I know I want to work in one of two places: DC (simply because I like it here) or Silicon Valley (because that's where the money/jobs are). I guess I'm just getting cold feet because a move to the west coast is pretty much a permanent thing for me, and it's a little scary. You're talking to a girl who's planning her entire future right now, when a year ago I was just kind of floating along, unsure of what I was going to do with my life and not really caring that much. So it's hard for me to figure out this huge decision that's going to affect the rest of my life. And while I should own my choices and not be wishy-washy, it's still a little overwhelming. Now I understand why people get cold feet before getting married!

None of the schools I applied to were 3rd or 4th-tier, all are academically really acceptable...I just want to do the best I can academically and professionally. Are you saying that rankings don't matter that much?

To anon at 3:58, my LSAT is pretty high but not Harvard high, and my UG GPA was not so great, so I was nervous.

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 4:15 PM

I just hope that Mona is not going to a C.S.S.

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 4:18 PM

Thx Fo4.

I believe that a few others have had calls with me when my kids were not being so nice in the background. But I just figure -- it's real life, I'm a working mom, it's not the worst thing in the world if someone hears my children when we're on the phone.

Posted by: Leslie | January 22, 2007 4:19 PM

4:06, I may have misled people about how high my LSAT was. It wasn't, you know, pushing 180. But it's decent, and as I said, my undergraduate GPA left much to be desired, and I wanted to ensure that I would have SOMEPLACE to go. I wasn't going to bank my career on my LSAT score alone, and just apply to one or two really high schools.

Though in retrospect, I really DO wish I'd applied to Stanford or Berkeley. I probably wouldn't have gotten in, but you never know until you try...

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 4:19 PM

Mona,

Unless you are deciding between two schools of roughly equal rank go to the highest ranked school you can get into, it gives you more options. A specialty area may be great, but you had better talk to lawyers (preferably managers) practicing in the field and working at firms/companies/goverment jobs where you want to practice to get their views on that school. Lawyers as a class of people are school snobs, they will continue to ask where you went to school for your entire career.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:21 PM

Mona -- I'm the anonymous that made the snarky comment about LSAT's. I'm from CA, although I'm not a lawyer. If you're seriously thinking about making a permanent move to CA, then by all means go to Santa Clara -- which is highly regarded in Silicon Valley. DePaul would not be. Get here, get into the communuty, work in the summer in some of the IP and vc firms, and get going. It seems you have some s&T research background -- again, that would be a plus out here.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:27 PM

just what the U.S. needs, another lawyer!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 4:30 PM

There's still time to do the smart thing and apply to b-school...the lawyers work for us.

Posted by: CEO | January 22, 2007 4:31 PM

There is a huge incentive for company's to readjust their mindset and adopt a flex schedule for working parents, it keeps well trained and valued employees with their companies. I work in executive recruitment and the dearth of talented employees in most Fortune 500 companies is horrible. Anyone who is willing to remain with and contribute to the success of the company while acheiving a personal balance is a blessing. Lifermom got it right in her post and the Brain drain is a significant issue for most companies.

Posted by: Former NoVa Mom | January 22, 2007 4:32 PM

Former NoVa Mom,

I know in my industry that it is very hard to find experience employees but I have seen anyone state it as you did. Does this apply to all industries? Does it apply to all all types of jobs? Or it is centered around, say, lawyers, or engineers or accountants?

Posted by: Fred | January 22, 2007 4:38 PM

Anon at 4:27, thanks so much for your advice. That makes it a lot clearer for sure. One thing I worry about at SCU is that it is a fantastic engineering school, and I'm afraid their IP focuses a lot on computer/electrical engineering, and I'm in biotech. I'm attempting to find internships at Silicon Valley area biotech firms, which may help, but I wonder if SCU's law school can focus on IP in my area of expertise. Still, your advice helps A LOT. My ultimate goal is to get into UC-Hastings (good state school, strong reputation) and maybe take some of my IP classes at SCU (good IP school). Who knows if I will succeed, but I really appreciate everyone's advice and patience and forgiveness for hijacking the thread. I hope you guys don't mind if I continue to ask more questions on this board, because many of you have lots of knowledge to impart, and I very much appreciate it.

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 4:39 PM

Laura/Mona,

I am not saying that rankings don't matter that much. As someone else mentioned, lawyers are school snobs and you'll be asked about where you went to school for the rest of your career. I am saying that matching the geography of your school to the location you want to practice, and reducing your debt, should be high in your analysis.

This is the same advice I received a few years back from a recruiting coordinator at the DC office of a Cleveland-based large firm. I ignored the geography part of it and went for the ranking. It worked out for me, but not for several of my friends. I had more than one friend who attended my law school in the East and had much greater difficulty getting the attention of West Coast firms than they would have had they attended lower ranked schools that were local to those desired firms. Plus, it's much more efficient if you can get a job through on-campus interviews than if you have to schlep - at your own initial expense -- out of the area. Same goes in DC. Someone attending a higher ranked school west of the Mississippi has difficulty beating out American and Catholic students for jobs in the District. btw, there are plenty of IP jobs in the District and in Old Town, so it's not as though your IP options are San Francisco or bust.

Having said that, if, hypothetically, you attend American, rack up $200,000 in debt, and decide to relocate out of the District in 4 years, you'll have to make those loan payments on a 30% (or more) lower income than you may make in DC and out of town recruiting administrators will likely not have heard of American. All things being equal, try to manage your debt and think long and hard about portability, if you're looking for long-term career happiness. and aren't we all?

don't worry about the IP speciality rankings, IMHO. If you limit yourself to considering total debt, ranking, and geographic ties, you'll have more than enough to give you many sleepless nights.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 22, 2007 4:46 PM

Mona -- Is Martindale Hubble (sp?) still around? IF so, do a search for SCU grads working in SV and set up a couple of phone interview before you make your decision. (I did that as just a paralegal 25 years ago -- before MH was on line; matched my alma mater with a great lawfirm and that decision began a sequence of incredible work experiences since then).

I've read many of your other posts; a piece of advice: minimize the "I'm smart, I'm cute" and all that. Focus on "I'm trying to make an important decision and I think you can help me through your experience."

BTW. I'm a woman. Just be as competent as you seem to be (and perhaps a bit more humble) and you'll be fine.

Posted by: Anon at 4:27 | January 22, 2007 4:48 PM

Fred,

I can't really speak to lawyers or accountants. Really my work in in corporate America and it applies to all levels. What is really missing is any employee wiling to learn, grow and then take risks, from the assistants to the top leadership. My focus now is in retail and consumer companies, but previously I focused on healthcare. Again and Again there is a growing concern about the lack of talent at all levels. This means that people are not coming to companies with it, and more alarming, not being developed and mentored. So when you ahve that person that can be accountable and deliver results, but wants to do it from home and can still communicate and effectively be a part of a team, most companies want to protect that investment. The cost of hiring and training a new employee in a company is in the tens of thousands of dollars. They can provide a laptop for a whole lot less!

Posted by: Fomer NoVA Mom | January 22, 2007 4:49 PM

Why do these topics seem to recycle so much?

Posted by: Yawn | January 22, 2007 4:50 PM

Anon at 4:27 et al: thank you so much! Your and NC Lawyer's advice, among that of others, is helping tremendously. I will definitely take your advice regarding Martindale-Hubble. :-) Thanks again!

Posted by: Mona | January 22, 2007 4:55 PM

Data on both flexible work schedules (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/flex.toc.htm) and work at home (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/homey.toc.htm) show that occupation is the determining factor in flexible arrangements. Much of this is due to the nature of the job. It is diffult to imagine a cashier working at home or being able to set his or her work hours. The type of work performed by engineers and lawyers more easily lends itself to flexible arrangements.

Posted by: EconGirl | January 22, 2007 5:17 PM

EconGirl, there have to be many more occupations than engineering and lawyering that are appropriate for telecommuting. For example, IT jobs, e.g., development work and server administration, are often done remotely.

What about grant writing? editing children's books? being a sports agent? real estate sales? pharmaceutical sales?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 5:28 PM

I work for a life insurance company in the midwest. It took 10 years and a large exodus of underwriters, but our VP finally agreed to "pilot" a work from home arrangement. It was so successful that they decided to open it up to anyone who worked full time and was interested. I was suprised, but only 4 out of 50 underwriters applied for the positions. Apparently, many people felt that they would miss the "social" aspect of the workday. I did apply for it and have not regretted my decision one bit. I am able to have breakfast and dinner with my family 5 days a week and still "work late". Everyone wins. Not everyone who applied for the FWA has children (they were interested in reducing their carbon footprint on the earth, saving money/time on commuting). The bottom line is this: I work harder and am more loyal to this company as a result of their willingness to meet my work/life balance needs. While several of my coworkers left the company for 5-7% raises elsewhere, I (and my 10 years of industry experience) stayed!

Posted by: Circle Pines | January 22, 2007 6:20 PM

To 5:28,

Yes, all of those jobs would work. It's management, professional, and related occupations that are most frequently flexible (for work at home and flexible hours). Does not apply to all jobs or occupations in that group: teachers and hospital workers were mentioned earlier as examples of less flexible work.

Posted by: EconGirl | January 22, 2007 6:52 PM

Good luck with that one. I sincerely doubt that your concept of "working" from home will be acceptable to your employer.

Actually, it is. We discussed it. And, if you read my whole post you would see I had a plan to accommodate all of my work. Won't work for you or your employer? Fine. It works for me (we do it now and it is soon to be scheduled on a regular basis). I've proven to him that I can do it.

Is it so hard to grasp that this can work? I guess I though most people had gotten beyond this paranoia.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2007 7:05 PM

Good luck with that one. I sincerely doubt that your concept of "working" from home will be acceptable to your employer.

Actually, it is. We discussed it. And, if you read my whole post you would see I had a plan to accommodate all of my work. Won't work for you or your employer? Fine. It works for me (we do it now and it is soon to be scheduled on a regular basis). I've proven to him that I can do it.

Is it so hard to grasp that this can work? I guess I though most people had gotten beyond this paranoia.

Posted by: JS (to: to JS) | January 22, 2007 7:05 PM

I haven't read all comments, so this may have been addressed. I work for a government agency that has offices everywhere with headquarters om the east coast. Time zones must be considered. We do have flextime. the east coast workers who work 6-2:30 are actually working 3am-11:30 west coast time. Eastern time late shift is 9:30-6pm, or 6:30am - 3pm west coast time. The late shift for the west coast is 9:30 am - 6:00 pm which is 12:3 pm - 9:00 pm east coast time. An east coast employee working their early shift of 6:00- 2:30 and a west coast employee who works their late shift 9:30 - 6:00 western time (12:30-2:30 EST) onlyhave 3 hours per day where they are available to each other. Throw in employees in other time zones and it can be a real logistical nightmare arranging conferences.

Since it is a federal agency that provides services and doesn't make a "bottom line", our budget is funded by Congress. Most employees are hourly, not salaried, even those that are salaried in private industry. Overtime must be justified and approved and the money must be available in the budget, regardless of the priority of the project.

Flextime hours are available, but work from home is relatively rare and under special situations only, usually medical. The funds are just not there to set people up at home with proper security levels. Blackberries and cell phones are only issued to team leaders and management. The money in the budget is just not there to outfit large agencies with work from home opportunities.

I understand that there is a push on to have more people work at telework centers, which are basically smaller offices set up in various locations so that people can work closer to home to save on commuting coasts and time.

Posted by: xyz | January 23, 2007 5:39 AM

Mona

There's aline between being happy and proud of your accomplishments, and bragging. You are straddling it, if not all the way over.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 5:49 AM

Mona

There's aline between being happy and proud of your accomplishments, and bragging. You are straddling it, if not all the way over.

what's new

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 11:05 AM

The words domestic violence and abuse have the sanme meaning and weight to the scream queens movement in this country as the words weapons of mass destruction have to the war in Iraq.

Posted by: mcewen | January 23, 2007 11:55 AM

"The words domestic violence and abuse have the sanme meaning and weight to the scream queens movement in this country. . ."
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Off-duty law-enforcement officer here. Domestic violence is a huge public-safety problem for society, probably the biggest, most cops will tell you. It has ripple effects through all sectors of society, endangering kids, neighbors, co-workers, bystanders, complete strangers, future generations. . .I just don't have time to get into it all, but don't be dismissing the scourge of domestic violence.

Posted by: anonymous cop | January 23, 2007 1:55 PM

I'm late to comment on this one but I did want to say that I work from home with daycare provided for 2/3 of my hours and the rest I fill in at night, on weekends, or during naps (I only have one child). My employer is good about it, but I do know that it may limit my upward mobility in the short run. However it's only for a few years, so I can deal with that kind of delay (plus I had quit and was asked back, so.)

One reason though that I can do this is that my company does NOT have a "just in time" policy. Our work is done and checked in in advance of hard deadlines.

I know that some work is dependent on responding to crisis and it can't be changed, but I have seen way too many companies where that becomes a way of life - people have to be on site because meetings are called to deal with things that should have been foreseen, or to fix problems that shouldn't have existed. FWA may require planning in advance - but I think in a lot of industries this might be a really good thing. Cell phones, computers, and a sense of entitlement on the part of management to require people to stay late or work at the last minute have really (I believe) eaten into productivity - once everyone is procrastinating and crisis-managing it's very hard to get back on track.

Obviously no system is perfect and crises will happen. But personally I think FWA would be more doable if managers would manage such that things are required to be done in an orderly and advanced manner.

And yes, I've been a manager, so I know it's a lot of work to get there. :-)

Posted by: Shandra | January 23, 2007 3:03 PM

I have reviewed all the comments but I thought I'd add this to the mix: Shouldn't we also consider women who are trying to conceive part of this issue? I know of several women, myself included, who have been unsuccessful at having children because of the stress and long hours of work. The tricky part is that how does one request for a flexible work arrangement in order to have children?

Posted by: Angela | January 24, 2007 9:31 AM

While I would hope that companies accommodate women AND MEN with children, it shouldn't go to extremes.

I worked for 2 years with a woman paid 20% more than me (I had an extra masters degree), but she had 2 children and while the man in our team and I were there before 7, she would saunter in at 10 or 11, and be gone by 2 so she could pick up one of the children. I had 5-6 major projects at a time; she -- perhaps one. She was paid full time for perhaps 16 hours/week, while male colleage and I were paid full time for perhaps 60-70 hours/week.

Let's be reasonable here!

Posted by: Lydia | February 1, 2007 10:55 AM

What about opting in to entrepreneurship as the ultimate in flexibility? Call your own shots!

There are many similarities between growing a business and raising a family. For example, if you are parent, you've already experienced working hard for no pay - just like starting your own business! Likewise, sleepless nights are not foreign to you and both parenting and owning a business take passion to make it work. It CAN be done!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | February 21, 2007 10:10 PM

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