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Employees Exercise the Right to Flextime at Cisco

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Tony Diane is walking a career tightrope trying to balance family and career. The Cisco Systems employee has a safety net: flextime affords him the opportunity to re-arrange his workday as needed.

"If things come up that I need to absent myself for a period of time, an hour or two hours in the morning, I have the flexibility to do that," Diane says. As a father of four active children, ages 10 to 20, flexibility can be the best stress manager.

Flextime allows workers flexibility in starting and quitting times; four day work weeks, in some cases, or extra days off; on occasion, it can also include working from home.

AtCisco Systems, flextime is part of the company's work and family management strategy.

"The employees I supervise have children, families and things they have to do," says Cheri Miller, Diane's supervisor.

Miller knows the policy makes a difference. "Being able to take a laptop home, to and from the office, and sometimes maybe just working at home and being able to allow our employees to do the same, actually benefits Cisco," Miller says.

Not every company has a flextime policy. Some common objections are: "We've never done this before; "You're a manager, you can't work fewer hours"; or, "It's like giving away the store."

Experts suggest these ways of building a case for flextime:
  • Set up an appointment with the boss to discuss the topic; don't just wing it.
  • Be prepared to be challenged with questions and objections.
  • Ideally, offer a written proposal stressing productivity and company benefits.
  • At Cisco Systems, the company benefits can be measured in increased productivity and employee morale.

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    Ken Smith, Reporter
    Joe Frieda, Photographer
    Julie Moos, Web Editor

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