Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 1998
Short Cuts:WANT TO WORK FLEXTIME?
Nine to five may be your organization's
standard business hours, but if the typical workday is tough on
your schedule -- for reasons ranging from child care to traffic or
even a nonconformist body clock -- consider proposing a change.
As of 1997, 44 percent of companies offered alternative work
arrangements such as flextime, job sharing and telecommuting,
according to a survey of 509 employers by Hewitt Associates, a
human resources consulting firm based in Lincolnshire, Ill. That
number is expected to increase to 57 percent by the year 2000.
Your company may already have a flextime policy. If not, be a
pioneer. But before charging into your boss' office with your new
schedule, take the following steps, excerpted from "Flex Success,"
a blueprint by Kaneohe, Hawaii-based consulting firm Work Options
Inc. for developing a flextime proposal ($39 by mail, $35 by
e-mail; call 1-888-279-FLEX or visit www.work options.com).Review a copy of your firm's latest employee manual.Evaluate the manual to see if employee policies, in general,
are conservative or liberal, vague or definitive, progressive or
out-of-date.Check the manual for "family-friendly" policies addressing
flextime, part-time, job sharing and parental leaves, and review
their provisions thoroughly.Ask around the workplace to find out who has a flexible
arrangement (particularly of the type you seek) on a formal,
informal or ad hoc basis.Ask those who have such arrangements how they obtained them and
how it's working out.Observe over time how your boss responds to occasional special
requests or accommodations for family emergencies or other
situations requiring employees to be out of the office during
traditional work hours.Determine which of your superiors would have to approve a
Regardless of who gives the final okay, you'll need the support
and approval of your immediate boss. Observe him or her over time
to determine the best way to present your proposal (e.g., morning
vs. afternoon, verbally vs written).
Don't expect a simple "yes." And have some snappy answers to
common objections at the ready. Some suggestions from Work Options
Inc.: If your boss says, "We've never done this before" or "It's
not our policy," respond: "Allowing flexible work options has
become a human resource management tool across the country, with
positive results for business. This company can experiment with how
it can work here by allowing me to implement a six-month pilot
Or, if your boss says, "You're a manager; you need to be here
during regular business hours," respond: "With meetings, travel and
vacation, like most managers, I'm not always in my office anyway.
I've got a well-trained staff and they're motivated to do the
necessary work without my standing by every moment. My proposal
maintains our regular staff meetings and performance monitoring.
We'll be doing something that has been done successfully at other
LOREN G. EDELSTEINQ&AS
IF YOU COULD TAKE A SABBATICAL TOMORROW, WHAT
WOULD YOU DO?
"I would go to the beach and just watch the waves roll in
and roll out again. Right now I'm running in 30 different
Connie Elliott, CMP
Anderson County Tourism Council
"After spending 200 percent of my personal time working
for MPI, I'd like to remember how to play golf again. So, first I'd
go to golfing school, and then I'd take one of those great gourmet
cooking courses in Europe. Italy would be my first choice, then
Anna Lee Chabot, CMP
Head, Meetings & Assemblies Section
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
"Read books on anything that has to do with using
technology for distance learning. It is impacting meetings and
Director of Editorial Services
Congressional Quarterly Inc.
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