Let’s be flexible? Turns out, not everyone is on board with flexible schedules–what we consider to be an awesome way to keep smart people in the workforce. There are other people’s feelings and sense of fairness to manage.

Consider this recent New York Times article, “When the Life Scales Aren’t Equal,” which highlights how some people say they are saddled with more work when their colleagues aren’t available due to flexible work schedules. And parents seem to bear the brunt of the blame for flex-time needs.

It’s a good read to remind you how to keep your colleague’s needs in mind if you have a flexible schedule (probably a good thing to remember to think about in any work situation in general), and think about how to keep some of the push-back at bay.

One strategy may be as simple as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In this guest post on CNN.com, an executive coach writes:

From cnn.com: What the problem often comes down to is superficial appearances: It may look like working parents are getting a slide when they leave to take care of the family. And that is because working parents and child-free workers alike assume we need to disclose more than we really do. In these matters transparency is overrated. My recommendation is simple: don’t ask, don’t tell. When a worker has to leave the office, he or she should simply state, “I have to leave at x time because I have an event/appointment/commitment.”

Makes sense. And so does her larger point, made in reaction to the NYT story cited above, about why flex time is good for companies:

Per cnn.com: Certainly, the tensions are real. But what this article and much popular debate around flextime misses is that when appropriately implemented, co-workers benefit from the greater contributions, not to mention healthier lifestyles, that flextime affords. It’s time to move beyond overly simplistic analysis that sets people against each other at work.

To that we say, oh yeah!

– SD

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