I recently read an article about a law firm that identified on their website all of the lawyers who are working a flexible schedule. The article went on to discuss the relative merits and pitfalls of “outing” employees who are not working traditional schedules. While I understand that calling out these employees by name could have a stigmatizing effect, I fall on the side of making this information public.
If working a flex time schedule has any stigma, it’s because we have created it ourselves. We have collectively decided that people who do not sit at their desks from 9-5 (and longer in many cases) aren’t working hard. If they’re asking for flexibility it’s because they’re lazy and want to do other things besides work. The horror!
The truth is, many people who are on flex time arrangements are just as productive, if not more so, than those who are not. Their schedules allow them to maximize efficiency, and most report that they are happier with their work-life integration, making them more engaged and loyal to their companies.
If we want to remove the stigma from alternative work schedules, then we first need to bring it out of the shadows. By keeping these programs subverted, we’re essentially sending the message that people who take advantage of them have something to be ashamed of. Instead, we should be acknowledging that different working styles work for different people and these differences should be celebrated – not shunned.
Companies could help remove the stigma by calling out the successes of their flex-time employees, giving them valuable projects to run, providing them with opportunities to interact with important clients, and promoting them to leadership positions. Removing the stigma for everyone will be particularly helpful to women, who are more likely to be penalized for working flex-time schedules.
What are your thoughts on “outing” flex time workers?