• MaryAnne Hyland

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2003


  • Business Case
  • Culture
  • Family-Friendly
  • Flexible Work Arrangements/Flexibility


  • Business and Management


Flextime has traditionally been thought of as a way to help working parents, with conflicting demands (Christensen & Staines, 1990). It has been the subject of research since the 1970s (e.g., Evans, 1973). Flextime is important for work-family studies in terms of its potential implications for both employers (reduced turnover, improved productivity) and employees (time spent in family roles, conflict between work and family roles, satisfaction with family life). In addition, the relevant issues for the work-family literature extend beyond these employer and employee outcomes in two primary directions. The first of these important areas for work-family studies is flextime being underutilized. Employees may be hesitant to use flextime due to a stigma that using flextime implies a lack of commitment to one’s job or due to a lack of others in the organization using flextime (Wiscombe, 2002; Kossek, Barber, & Winters, 1999). Research and organizational policy can advocate flextime, but without employee use, the potential benefits for employer and employees will not be reaped. The second area of interest for work-family studies is the fact that flextime is not appealing solely to those employees with families. Recent studies have found that working parents are not the only employees interested in flextime, as professional women without children and members of Generation X are also likely to request it (Stauffer, 1997; Wiscombe, 2002). This means that while flextime may have implications as a “family- friendly” policy, the effects of flextime for all employees should not be ignored. This is especially important given that work-family programs such as flextime have been associated with family-friendly backlash (Hegtvedt, Clay-Warner, & Ferrigno, 2002; Wiscombe, 2002). According to Elinor Burkett, author of The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless (2000), flextime should only be offered if it is available to all employees, rather than only to those with family responsibilities.

Link:Flextime encyclopedia