Image credit: Jenni Grover
This week I started working flextime so I can care for my new daughter. Apart from giving Lilia and I ample time to play breakfast on baby—yes, this post was partially an excuse to show off this photo—this new schedule has got me thinking about the environmental advantages of flexible work hours. I already enjoy the environmental and social advantages of telecommuting, so cutting out morning rush hour isn't an advantage for me. But there's still plenty to like about flextime. And for once, I think it's something that most of us can agree on. Aside from the obvious advantages of allowing folks to avoid rush hour, and on a community level to spread folks' travel out over the day, rather than squeeze it in to a couple of hectic hours, there are plenty of other advantages to a more flexible schedule. Carpooling becomes much easier if you can arrange your schedule to fit with other people, similarly mass transit starts to look more appealing if you can start your workday when you arrive at work, and end it when your bus is ready to go.
For us, flextime has meant that we can be a little less reliant on childcare, thus avoiding one round-trip car journey to our house a week, and of course it has also meant that I can spend time with my daughter—which makes my life a more rewarding, richer experience. And if environmentalism is not about making life a richer experience, then I for one am not interested.
And let's not forget that flextime has benefits that stretch way beyond personal lifestyle improvements or environmental advantages. Simply freeing us up to work when our schedules allow should boost productivity. Not to mention allowing us folks who take a little extra time to get going in the morning to work when our brains are at their best.
So flextime is surely a win-win solution for all, right? Not so fast. There are some disadvantages too. But the baby just woke up. I'll tackle them tomorrow.