By: Revanche

Why do you need flexibility?

November 9, 2016

Over at Ask a Manager, one of the threads touched on the fact that non-parents need to have scheduling flexibility, just as much as parents do. I had noticed people tend to assume that flexibility applies to parents, mostly, or that the reasons tends to be related to kids.

And it’s true that we need it as parents for when our kids get sick, or when our kids get us sick, or they have doctor’s appointments, school plays, break an actual leg, get called to the principal’s office. (In other words, for totally unfun things.) But there are plenty of times my schedule flexibility is important for entirely non-kid related reasons.

  • Seamus has a vet appointment.
  • I have a dentist or doctor or physical therapy appointment.
  • We desperately need groceries.
  • My body just completely gave out and I might still be typing but it’s all gibberish.
  • Sometimes, you just need a 3 hour lunch.
  • I have a secret mission that PiC can’t know about, almost always a surprise for him.

PiC also enjoyed schedule flexibility long before we had a kid, and will always love it for:

  • Midday workouts.
  • Craigslist purchases and sales.
  • Taking the car to the shop
  • Meeting up with a friend who’s in town just for the day
  • Bringing me donuts.
  • Making his Halloween costume.
  • Sometimes he has to take a 3 hour lunch with me.

None of these reasons have ever negatively impacted our work over the long run. We don’t abuse the ability to do our work on our own time, and it makes our lives a lot easier, which makes us happier people. Happier people overall means happier colleagues in the workplace and how isn’t that a good thing?

:: Tell me, do you have any schedule flexibility with your work? How did you get there? What do you use or need your flexibility for?

2 Responses to “Why do you need flexibility?”

  1. NZ Muse says:

    Hmm. As someone who works in an office flex to me is just as much about location as hours. And I had pretty good flex in my 2nd job – thanks to my boss there. She was awesome. (Actually invited me to chat about a job at her new gig recently, which I turned down – which was the right move for me I believe, but very tempting for the flex! She seems to have even more flexibility there – working from the mountains, etc). She trusted me to get stuff done and understood that home is often a place where you can be more productive.

    Here, there’s definitely flex around hours. Not so much about remote work. At my yearly review, mentioned that I’d love to work from home once in awhile. Detected a bit of pushback as my boss is the kind who clearly is more productive in the office. Not ruled out, as in he said if that’s what I need to do then do it, but seemed to be prodding me more towards going off to a quiet corner of the office to work or down the wharf across the road instead, etc. Which is fine for now. And I actually just worked from home the whole day yesterday as I had to wait for a tradesman to come fix something at home.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Husbands, housework and harmony: Why do men who earn less also do less housekeeping?My Profile

  2. Shelley says:

    I agree that flexibility is important for non-parents as well as parents. I had very little for most of my work life. The best I managed to have was when I worked on my own, stationed in a fairly remote office. So long as I turned in the work, attended the odd meeting and kept things ticking over I could have a lunch time run or go to the bank before it shut. There was a LOT of work to do, though, and plenty of deadlines to meet. My husband worked shifts and if he was home there wasn’t a lot of quiet for concentration. One thing I did find myself doing was going out to my car for a 20 minute nap about 3pm. The large technical documents were tedious reading and I would find myself falling asleep over them. A short nap followed by a stiff cup of coffee was all that kept me going. I had this work arrangement for about 3 years and though I didn’t care for the work much, it was probably the most autonomy I ever enjoyed.

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