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.
It is contest time again! After the roaring success of its ‘Mommy Guilt’ contest, Womensweb is back with yet another interesting theme for the next contest – “Flex the workplace”. The employers are not asking us for ideas anyway, so let’s spill it all here. There’s an incentive as well and a very relevant one I must say.
You have time till 25th August ladies…
*Hopping off to write my entry*
Yesterday, I didn’t go to office – just like that..didn’t feel like going to work. It was a cloudy, rainy day and just wanted to laze around. Most of all, I just felt the urge to be with Pattu.
I saw her walking to school with her raincoat on ( the latest fascination – thatha’s contribution. She wears it even when there’s no rain) and busy chatting with Paati… I looked on from my kitchen window – she looked like a tiny bubbly bundle bouncing all the way to school. Suddenly, I missed holding her little fingers, the animated discussions on the way to school, her little friends, some new discoveries on the way (we discover things like, the cows don’t use potty and that the beak is the bird’s mouth and not its nose)…etc. That must have been the real trigger, though I quote the rains and the clouds.
So, I worked from home and went to pick her up after school – she didn’t expect me, so she was beaming with surprise when she saw me at the gate. Both of us must have looked really silly grinning like that…
So, after some, ‘you came to pick me up today’ ‘you didn’t go to office’ ‘is it a holiday for you’ , we discussed what she did at school, her friends, her teacher, new kids who cried and so on. I was surprised because, she rarely talks about school when I ask her – I got to know much more about school and friends in the 10 mins we spent walking back than the whole term put together. Guess there’s a time and mood for everything. My heart sank when I thought about how much I am missing by not being there with her at the right moment! Ah, the choices we have to make in life!
We passed by the park and Pattu wanted to play. I indulged her, not because I felt guilty, but because we were both so happy. A break in routine is so refreshing – I enjoyed it as a child (I do enjoy it even now). So, some more unexpected fun and we were back home for lunch. How I wish I could do this at least once a week – if only organizations didn’t mind a ‘Work from home Fridays’ policy for women employees!