ASSOCIATES (vol. 4, no. 3, March 1998) -

Table of Contents



                       Kathy Aufman and Billie Towns
                            Library Associates
                            Baylor University

	The luxury of flextime can provide several benefits for workers.  
However, it is not feasible in every situation.  We work in the 
Catalog Department of  the main library of Baylor University in Waco, 
Texas.  Because we are not part of a public services area, we are 
allowed to work on flextime.  There are several positive aspects, as 
well as some negative aspects.  In an attempt to shed light on a 
benefit that others may be able to  employ in their work environment,  
we offer the following comments concerning an easy way to keep staff 
motivated,  morale high, and perhaps one of the greatest benefits 
a position could possess -- flextime.

	Although a set schedule is recommended, the head of our 
department is very understanding and allows her staff to make 
necessary changes in their schedules to accommodate attending classes,
 seminars, or other types of professional development and personal 
activities.  As part of our benefit package, we accrue a certain 
number of hours of vacation, disability, and personal time throughout 
the year.  We are allowed to use any of our accrued time, assuming 
that  the request  for its use is approved.  So that staff do not have
to use disability or personal time in order to get paid for the time 
missed for doctor appointments, meetings with teachers or professors, 
or other personal appointments that may arise, our department head 
will also allow us to work outside our usual schedule to make up that 
time.  Usually, the time has to be worked during the time that the 
library is open even if the department is closed.  For those of us who
are able to connect to our on-line system from home, we are allowed to
work from home provided that we have work that can be transported 

	With so many people in our department, most taking advantage of 
the flexible work schedule, our department is almost always covered 
before and after the normal posted  "open" hours of 8:00 to 5:00, 
Monday through Friday.  Some people come to work at 7:00 a.m., others 
stay as late as 6:00 p.m., and some work periodically on Saturday 
mornings.  A staff member is usually accessible to assist other 
departments if a problem does arise which requires input or action 
from the catalog department.  All of  the people in our department 
consider flextime as a benefit and accept it very gratefully.

	Knowing that one will be able to work outside a set schedule 
provides a sense of stability, which improves the morale of the 
department --  thus providing a productive and efficient work place.  
As with any work schedule, there are problems and disadvantages with 
the system.  Since Friday is the day most employees opt to make a 
shortened work day, there can be a problem having the department 
staffed until closing time of this day.  In our dept., we keep a 
Friday list with all employees being assigned a Friday on which they 
are required to stay until 5:00 p.m.  One person is responsible for 
creating and maintaining this list, in which staff are alphabetically 
assigned to chronological Fridays.  If someone wants to change his or 
her assigned Friday, that person is responsible for finding another 
staff member  to switch with and post it on the department's calendar.
This is usually only a problem during the Christmas and New Year's 
holidays, since many people take their vacation during this time.

	With the number of staff in our department, we are only required
to work one Friday every three months.  Most become spoiled to getting
off early on Fridays and feel unsettled on their Fridays to work.  We 
usually take our accumulated time off on Thursday, but it is not the 
same as being off on Friday.  Because we are human, we often forget 
that it is a privilege for us to have flextime.

	Probably the biggest problem with flextime is the 
misunderstanding  that can come from other departments, which often 
results in resentment toward technical services.  Since the technical 
services departments do not have to staff service desks, we are 
allowed the luxury of flextime.  The public service departments are 
required to be available to serve the public at various times and, 
therefore, are not able to implement flextime, thus leading to 
misunderstandings and jealousy.  They can be critical of us and 
believe that we don't always work as much as they do.  This reflects 
their unfamiliarity with the operations of our department as well as 
the general functions for which we are responsible.

	Those of us who have the ability to work a flexible schedule 
believe that it is the answer to our prayers.  We feel that we are 
part of a team effort and we are motivated to do the best job 
possible.  Our morale is high because we are trusted enough to work 
without close supervision or without having to be watched like 
children.  The department is always staffed during posted open hours, 
our output of work is high, and our work environment is a pleasant 
one.  We realize that flextime cannot be used in all departments, but 
where it can be utilized, we suggest you give it a try.