In the 21st century, we’re seeing more and more organizations move away from the traditional nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday work schedule. On top of the need to staff many organizations during weekends, this is also a result of a cultural shift. No longer are employees set on staying with the same company for forty years; based on family, life stages, and other factors, sometimes leaders need a chance to take a step back.
The good news is that flexible work schedules allow this to happen without disqualifying leaders from leading altogether. We can’t expect every single leader to come in and work full-time; but we can still recruit, develop, and maximize their potential—no matter what life stage they’re in.
For example, consider a working mom who’s a leader in her organization. She has children who are still young—maybe in school—but she wants to continue contributing to her organization’s vision and mission. She’s not available to work nine-to-five; but that doesn’t mean she needs to opt out of leadership completely until her children are older. She has a great opportunity to put in a lot of hours during the school year; to work from home; to fulfill part-time responsibilities—or even high-level volunteer tasks.
With flextime leadership, if her child is sick, this woman has the flexibility to stay home from a meeting. She can attend a violin practice or soccer game without feeling guilty that she’s not in the office. It works out best for both parties, because her organization still benefits from her expertise, and she doesn’t miss key milestones and memories at home.
In the younger generations, we see a desire for flexibility in leadership roles. This may be different, but it’s necessary to consider if we want to utilize the skills of the leaders all around us! There’s a way to negotiate a schedule and a position that fits the needs of both leader and organization. It requires effort—but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run!