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Why Families -- and Employers -- Like Flexible Work Schedules

More than four in 10 U.S. adults want a flexible work schedule so much that they're willing to work for less money to get one, according to a national survey released today by Harris Interactive and the flexible staffing firm Mom Corps

Why Families -- and Employers -- Like Flexible Work Schedules

A 9-to-5 job? What?!

By: Karen Springen
September 1, 2011

More than four in 10 U.S. adults want a flexible work schedule so much that they're willing to work for less money to get one, according to a national survey released today by Harris Interactive and the flexible staffing firm Mom Corps.

After all, a not-so-rigid timetable lets people "feel they have control over both their personal lives and their professional lives," says Maria Goldsholl, chief operating officer of Mom Corps. She and her husband, who sells ads, both work full-time from home. Even with job-related travel, they're usually able to adjust their calendars so that they can take their kids to after-school activities.

Like other Americans whose flexible schedule includes working from home, they save hours by not driving to work. "The whole commute issue is a big deal in many cities," says Goldsholl, who lives in Atlanta. "That's found time for people who are able to work from home."

Flexible and work-from-home policies are also good for employers, who save on real-estate costs since they don't need so much office space, says Goldsholl.

And often employees are more efficient without workplace distractions. "You don't have the drop-by people who ask for a minute, or the water-cooler stories," says Goldsholl. "I find I get far less done when I'm working in the office."

Still, employees need to hold up their side of the bargain. For example, they need to be willing to go into the office for occasional meetings. In-person gatherings help "develop relationships," says Goldsholl.

Employers shouldn't worry too much about employees heading to their washing machines occasionally. "There's a management philosophy called 'result-oriented workforce,'" says Goldsholl. "I don't really care if you put in a load of laundry if you get your results."

It's not just a mom thing: working men are twice as likely as working women to say they would give up more than 10 percent of their salary to get more flexibility at work.

Kids do play a big role. More than four in five employed men and women felt flexible work options would help them be better parents. Only half of all moms and dads with jobs said they preferred a 9-to-5 schedule. Note to employers: 79 percent of working mothers and 77 percent of working fathers agreed they would stay with a company longer if it offered flexible options.

To learn more about options, check out sites such as momcorps.com, tentiltwo.com, careerbuilder.com and snagajob.com, and quintcareers.com.

And now, I'm off to put in a load of laundry and empty the dishwasher. My interviews are all over the phone today, so I'm wearing my comfy flip-flops. Here's to flexibility.

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