What Do I Care?
I don't care much what anyone around me does (so long as they avoid a few key pet peeves), and I'll shamelessly do nearly anything the boss asks me to do so long as my job at the agreed to pay continues. So, the concept of the flexible office, where de-stressed employees make their own hours, is a natural fit. Unfortunately, it seems like most work places have (morning, noon, and night) stretching exercises to do to reach my level of flexibility.
Flex-time is a no-cost benefit, provided employees are still able to meet their responsibilities, so it's baffling why it isn't more common. From a city/community perspective, it would even reduce rush-hour traffic congestion, so you'd think local governments would offer incentives like tax breaks to businesses who do it. But, it's really weird, I don't think anyone's offered my company a windfall of cash if they let their workers sleep in. Very strange.
The counter argument to flex-time is similar to what might be said against a telecommuting workforce; fewer opportunities for impromptu, over-the-cubicle-wall collaborations (see a recent blog posting of mine), and in fields, such as IT, where emergencies like system failures, can occur at any time, there's something to be said for live appearances. In fields where you don't have to worry about walking anxious fellow employees through a rapid re-boot/re-load of their desktops, why not let them come in at 11 a.m. (or p.m., for that matter) and leave at 8 or 9? Why does it matter as long as the work gets done and gets done good?
If a company wants to offer flex-time to workers in non-critical job functions (like trade magazine journalist), they need to do it across the board. That's the one caveat to the whole thing, and if they can't offer it across the board, the workers who have the gift, should be required to explain their arrangement to peers and underlings so they understand the gifted one is doing the same amount of work they're doing, only within a much more personally convenient time frame. Most of us are familiar with unofficial flex-time in which select workers are permitted to come in mid-morning, and leave well before the strike of 5, and most of us are familiar with the confusion and resentment that often follows. Competitive colleagues are all too happy to write off one of their own as a slacker.
Naturally, it makes no difference to me. As long as they're working, whether in the bedroom, on the highway, in the checkout line of the grocery store, or getting their weekly seaweed wrap and massage, what do I care?
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