When the top 100 list comes out every year for the best companies to work with for women (Refer post: Best Companies for Working Mothers… ), the flexible time offers and the incentives for child-care / daycare features as the top 5 for what a working mother would want the most.

First let’s clarify the definitions for flexible working hours. According to the US Department of Labor :
A flexible work schedule is an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. It allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times. Under some policies, employees must work a prescribed number of hours a pay period and be present during a daily “core time.” The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not address flexible work schedules. Alternative work arrangements such as flexible work schedules are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative).

See the website of The Department of Labor for information and statistics on numerous surveys, published articles and reports on the subject.

According to the definition of Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules:
Flexible hours (also referred to as “flexible time bands”) means the times during the workday, workweek, or pay period within the tour of duty during which an employee covered by a flexible work schedule may choose to vary his or her times of arrival to and departure from the work site consistent with the duties and requirements of the position. (See 5 U.S.C. 6122(a)(2).)

Flexible work schedule (FWS) means a work schedule established under 5 U.S.C. 6122, that —

(1) in the case of a full-time employee, has an 80-hour biweekly basic work requirement that allows an employee to determine his or her own schedule within the limits set by the agency; and

(2) in the case of a part-time employee, has a biweekly basic work requirement of less than 80 hours that allows an employee to determine his or her own schedule within the limits set by the agency.

Flexible working hours for women proves as a blessing for most working mothers, but how many of the companies around have written policies on the same?

To help curtail the future labor shortage it would be an attractive proposal to the different IT and other non-IT companies to attract working mothers who would be more productive at work with flexible working hours and maintaining a healthy life-work balance.

Would we see more and more companies in future offering flex-time schedules in their benefit packages? It certainly could be predicted, but large scale implementation of policies and a shift in the future working styles might still face a few hurdles.

I feel it is more for the woman to present herself in a light of an efficient worker when demanding or requesting a flex time schedule at work. Present your case that highlights your ability to work better and more efficiently when working in a balanced environment which provides enrichment and clearly divides your time between family and work.

A survey conducted by the Simmons School of Management (http://www.simmons.edu/som) in collaboration with HP, a lead conference sponsor, to examine what extent women were leaving the work force, why they make their career decisions, and how they manage work/life balance, reports the following:


The women reported negotiating flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible hours, and a limitation on traveling or evening work at various points in their careers, as their primary ways to continue working while managing busy lives outside of work.

And unlike earlier reports that warned that women who ask for flexible work arrangements will experience decreased earning power, the women surveyed who used flexible work arrangements reported financial success: their incomes were no different than those of women who did not employ flexible work arrangements.

Source of the above (italicized) information is from an article in American Digital Networks.



More and more of the Fortune 100 companies are implementing flexible work schedules in their work culture.
According to a report:
Widespread improvements among FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” include more flexible schedules and telecommuting.
The most dramatic policy changes over the last decade concern improved work-family benefits:
– 72 offer job sharing programs today, compared with only 18 a decade ago.
– 79 now offer compressed work weeks on a year-round, regular basis, compared with 25 companies 10 years ago.
– 82 provide telecommuting opportunities today, compared with only 18 in 1998.


A survey by Flexible Retargets of more than 500 women seeking flexible work arrangements found that 64 percent of them either quit or were planning to quit because of lack of work hour flexibility. What was alarming was 59 percent of these women never asked their employers to modify their work schedules because they assumed they would be denied or lose stature.

Younger women are more assertive in seeking flexible work arrangements than older women; 72 percent of women between the age of 25 and 35 were willing to request an FWA compared to only 30% of the respondents of women aged 36 to 45.

Among those who requested a flexible work arrangement and were told “no,” reasons for the refusal ran the gamut in the following priority:

  • We can’t give it to you and not the others (52%)
  • You will not be available to others (48%)
  • We have never done it before (24%)
  • You won’t be as productive as when you worked full time (8%)
  • Your job is not conducive to flexible hours (5%)
  • There is too much work to do (5%)
  • It wouldn’t fit into a team atmosphere (5%)


Question: What are your priorities as a working woman?
Flexible work hours / Telecommuting / Part-time work / or all of these?