Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Flexible working hours

I just received an email from "management" (to all staff), the first paragraph reads:

All leave is to be approved by your department manager and/or myself. This includes taking the morning off, ducking out for the afternoon, taking and extended lunch break or adjusting your working hours.

This is a divergence from our previous "agreement" where we could be flexible, within reason, so long as we completed our 40 hour week. (Which is quite easy, given everyone generally works - and is even expected to work - a few hours more per week).

Of course, I don't agree, and in my usual fashion, I am composing a reply stating as much. However, I'm giving this one a "count to 10" before I reply.

The point of this post is to see if our "flexible agreement" is one of the last, or if there are still many workplaces operating successfully this way. I understand this gets harder to manage as a company grows, but we have an efficient time sheet system, so I don't see the reason (nor was one given) for this email.

I personally think it's an affront to the effort we've shown in the last few months - given lay-offs and cutbacks, everyone has been working hard to try and keep the company profitable, and yet random emails like this come through from time to time.

I leave you with an excerpt from "The Tao of Programming":

A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave at five in the afternoon." At this, all of them became angry and several resigned on the spot.

So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule." The programmers, now satisfied, began to come in at noon and work to the wee hours of the morning.

-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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