Here’s my entry for the womensweb contest.
Flexibility at work is still viewed as a favour by many employers though there is a growing awareness of its importance. Only recently have many employers realised talent/ resource drain owing to lack of flexibility. It is an obvious reason why women drop out of an otherwise successful career. Some of the large organisations have taken steps towards creating a more flexible and a more friendly workplace for employees. Flexibility means many things:
1. Having a flexible 8 hour schedule – as in you can clock in 8 hours at your convenience. Say, I want to be at home between 1 PM to 4 PM, I should have the flexibility to break my day into two parts – 8 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 7 PM.
2. Having a flexible 8 hour schedule + Having flexibility in work location: For the same situation as above, I should be able to clock in one part of my day from home. Another situation could be reporting to office once or twice a week while working from home the rest of the week.
3. Having a flexible 40 hour per week schedule: Say, I work 10 to 12 hours a day for 4 days and take the rest of the week off.
4. Having the flexibility to opt for a role that does not involve travel/ shifts/ client interaction/ etc. The problem with something like this is that some of these roles might not exist naturally in the organisation and in many cases the policies don’t allow it and it would depend on the supervisor to find alternatives.
5. Having options such as: getting paid for the quantum of work/ the number of hours clocked in.
One of the main constraints that I’ve noticed is that of measuring productivity. Most of the apprehension about ‘flexibility’ revolves around measuring productivity. ‘When the employee is not right in front of me, how can I be sure that I’m getting the best out of him/ her’? The only way to resolve this would be to define tasks and have a clear measure of quality and productivity.