Flex Time Expose: What Your Company Really Thinks About an Alternative Schedule

Once a family comes along, many women look into alternative work options, especially work from home opportunities in order to spend more time with the kids. So: What's the secret to flex time jobs? And what are the flex time disadvantages to your company? These are a few of the many questions to ask Human Resources--so we did just that.

Here, a human resources executive (who spoke on anonymity) reveals what you've always wanted to know: If and when to ask about flex time, and how to negotiate a schedule that works for you.

What if a job candidate brings up the desire for flex time in the interview? Does that turn you off?

I think it is fine to bring it up in the interview, I would suggest to the candidate that they pose it as a question such as, "Do you offer flex time." It does not turn me off and it is something I wished more companies were able to offer. A suggestion to the candidate is to do as much homework on the company prior to the interview. Check out their website, social media sites, Google, etc... and see what is out there, many questions might be answered prior to the interview. Believe me the company is doing the same thing to the candidate.

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What's the best way to initiate a flexible schedule?

I think this depends greatly on the type of job and the environment/culture of the company. Unless the candidate is interviewing with a well known company that offers these types of benefits I believe it would be hard to sell the hiring manager on a flexible schedule. I think this would be a time where you might have to be employed for a period of time, see if a flex schedule is a possibility for the position and then draw up a detailed plan. Keep in mind that this is still a benefit that many employers do not embrace so be prepared that your initial attempt(s) may not work.

It seems as though most organizations would benefit from offering flexible schedules to employees--especially mothers/parents. Why do you think most companies are against it/don't offer it?

I think there are several things that come to minds of companies:

What is really meant by flexible schedule? Is it working 2 days a week from home and 3 days from the office? Is it working 8-12 in the office and 1-5 from home? There is no clear definition of flexible schedule so I know that concerns most companies.

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The slower economy has meant many employees are working more hours and doing twice the work due to lay offs. There are so many unemployed people out there that would love to have a 40+ hour a week job that many employers think "This is a full time job and I need a full time employee."

Health benefits often hinge on the amount of hours worked. If the employee with flex time is working less than the required hours to receive benefits and they willing to forgo benefits?

So I think there are many grey areas when it comes to flex time.

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