BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Workin’ Outside the Box or Cubicle

Posted by espressodog on April 9, 2010

Today’s guest blogger is Tal Schapira, BPW Foundation intern and Senior at George Washington University.  Tal double majors in Political Science and Dance and is splitting her day between her internship and auditioning for the Rockettes. 

A college semester lasts about 14 weeks.  Around mid-semester, however, many students stop coming to class.  We are sick of the routine, it is predictable and we need a change.  College, unfortunately, is not real life; it is a gift – a four year hiatus before a lifetime career.  In real life, it is not feasible to change your career ever three and a half months, and, in most cases, you are subordinate to someone else’s rules and expectations. 

For four years I had the flexibility to make my own schedule, choose if and when to come to class, and decide when and how to study.  Each professor gave out a syllabus outlining assignments, objectives, and due dates.  I followed the syllabus and stayed on task, but didn’t necessarily attend or pay attention in class. With these freedoms, I maintained an excellent GPA, gained vast amounts of knowledge, and lead a relatively stress-free college life. 

If I’ve proven to be productive with such flexibility in college, why can’t I have flexibility in my future career?

Last week, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted a Workplace Flexibility Forum bringing together a diverse group of participants from academia, labor, government, media, non-profits, and business.  (BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett was there.) The forum focused on implementing flexibility at all levels in both the public and private sector.

Workplace flexibility is not a benefit or perk, it is a tool for success for both businesses and employees alike.  Flexibility promotes worker productivity and engagement with hourly as well as professional workers.  “Virtual Offices” reduce business overhead costs, save jobs and improve family life. Companies can benefit by reduced absenteeism, and lower turnover.  Flexibility policies can help incorporate people into the workforce that may have not been able to join before, due to physical disabilities or other reasons. Low-wage workers benefit from Flexible Work Arrangements that provide flexibility in the scheduling of hours worked, in the amount of hours worked, and in the place of work. Flexible policies may include job-sharing, alternative start and end times, and compressed workweeks.

Now, let’s think a little outside of the box… 

I work at BPW Foundation three times per week.  It takes me 15 minutes to walk from my dorm to the office in the morning and another 15 minutes to walk back in the evening.   Although I “endure” a modest commute, eliminating my travel time would give me an additional 30 minutes per day, the perfect length for a leisurely run!  Moreover, instead of eating out, both costly and generally unhealthy, I could prepare a healthy meal in the comfort of my own home, in turn saving me time and calories!  

Click here read the White House report on Work-Life balance and Flexible Work.

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3 Responses to “Workin’ Outside the Box or Cubicle”

  1. Tal,

    Great points!! never thought of how being successful with flexibility in college might translate to the workplace. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have that kind of flexibility (I attended the U.S. Military Academy @ West Point).

    It would be great to see employers tap into their talent pool’s ability to work flexibly and still get great results. I think the issue might be that in college, the end result is clear…a good GPA. Many businesses think they have clear results for their employees to achieve but in fact, are only measuring time at a desk.

    I strive to create an environment in which I’m working for results so I can show others that positive results are positive results whether I achieve them in 8 hours or 3 hours!

    Thanks for this insight…it makes me excited to work with young people coming out of college that are already thinking in a results oriented manner!

    Cheers,
    Leslie

  2. gansie said

    as a totally food obsessed person, i also think that a virtual work environment will be fantastic. i can cook my own lunch, at the time i want to eat lunch, and not have to worry about heating up leftovers or being tempted with fast and greasy alternatives.

  3. […] by espressodog on April 20, 2010 Another post from guest blogger and intern extraordinaire […]

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