For the better part of 10 years I have enjoyed flexible work arrangements. Half of this time I was single and childless. Whether or not I was responsible for a family during my flexed hours, I made every attempt to avoid burdening coworkers with additional tasks because of my schedule. Sometimes this meant working late before a day off or logging in from home to keep a project moving forward. Despite my efforts, there have certainly been times when I relied on coworkers to pick up the slack when I was away from the office; and these coworkers were not always single and carefree.
England has been in the news lately regarding its law on flextime. I'm sure many workers there were originally against implementing the current laws allowing all parents with kids under age 6 to ask for flexible work arrangements. But despite arguments, the current law is proposed to be broadened in April to include workers who need flexibility to care for relatives or partners. Apparently, these changes have thus far been widely viewed as minimally disruptive to businesses and tremendously beneficial to society at large based on a proposal by the Children's Minister .
Of course, the debate will rage on across England on the pros and cons of this proposal, but I have to say I like the consistency of the message. Everyone should have the right to ask for flexibility without fear of negative consequences. People may have that right now (even here in the US), but a government stamp of approval for that right may help move society along the path to a more balanced and sane life.