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The New Flextime: Summers Off?


I am deep in a fantasy. It is a new kind of fantasy for me, having nothing to do with the obtaining of something Marc Jacobs or the receiving of a free night’s stay (room service included) at the Four Seasons.

No, this fantasy is of an entirely different order. It involves the new currency in the workplace. The cushiest and most lusted after: the ability to control one’s time. The flexibilty to sculpt one’s schedule.

It is with the thought of this new benefit in mind—and in heavy withdrawal from an extra-luxe vacation—that I am filled with the fantasy of taking next summer off.

I first learned of this workplace micro-trend last summer, when I wrote a piece about the shape of perks to come.

In reporting this little ditty, I learned that more women at consulting shops like Deloitte and Touche and Ernst and Young were slicing and dicing their schedules so as to take the summers off to spend with their kids.

At around the same time, I heard the lovely story of a former colleague who has swung at deal at her employer where she works full time during the school year and then takes the summers off to dabble a la plage with her two boys. In return she receives 80% of her paycheck. Believe me. This girl is good. They would do anything to keep her.

Heaven knows most working women—save the trustafarian ovarian-lottery winners—can’t afford this kind of flexibility. Not without big-money-man husbands.

And many jobs wouldn’t lend themselves to such an arrangement.

But work with me. With the prospect of having the summer off, I know I for one would practice an entirely different kind of spending discipline so as to salt away enough to afford such largesse. I’m also waging that there are more kinds of knowledge-worker jobs that could be arranged to take advantage of such scheduling paradise.

Does this sound lifestsyle redesign sound delicious to anyone else?


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