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Unrealistic Flexibility in the Workplace

There was a time that flexibility in the workplace meant you could request time off up to two weeks in advance. Sometimes it was approved and other times there was no way the company could spare the man hours that day. Over time the concept of flexibility in the work place changed drastically. Employers are now having issues with employees having high expectations of flexibility. Employees are now requesting more time off, random hours off or to be able to come and go from the workplace while still receiving the same pay. The following are the top four unrealistic expectations that employees may have for flexibility in the workplace. Before requesting your next vacation, time off or before you decide to leave the workplace you may want to consider the requests that are considered unrealistic and over the line.

Extended Personal Requests

Personal requests are generally not an issue for employers. Occasional family issues, personal time off and medical conditions are understandable and can be worked around. In most cases, the employer may be aware of certain personal or medical issues that should be taken into consideration. However, when personal and extended personal requests become an issue they may also become unrealistic. Taking time off once a month or on a schedule, such as maternity schedules, are understandable.

The problem is that some employees have an expectation they can take off as much time as they want with the stipulation of it being a “personal request” and the employer not only must not ask what it is, but the employee may have a the ability to open a lawsuit for privacy violations if they do. It is a sticky situation, but one that is leading to many employees finding a loophole to retain a job while requesting unrealistic flexible schedules. When employers see this as a problem they will often stop it as soon as possible. The best thing for an employee to do to avoid any sort of negative reaction is to only request personal time off when an emergency or an actual verifiable medical condition arises.

Phone Calls

Cell phones have made personal phone calls more common in the workplace. Unfortunately this has lead to some unrealistic flexibility requests. An increasing number of employees are taking personal time at work for non-emergency phone calls, updating social media accounts and other pastimes that should be done at home or when off work. In order to combat this, employers have started requesting that employees turn off cell phones at work or face a loss of pay. The best solution for an employee is to limit cell phone use during the work hours to emergency issues only, turn off a data plan while at work and set the phone to vibrate.

Extended Hours for Breaks

Many employers will allow for one hour lunch breaks and two fifteen minute breaks during the day. The problem is that some employees will take advantage of this and leave for lunch, go shopping or handle personal matters during their breaks. This is not a problem initially, however, it does become an issue when the employee is late returning to work and uses flimsy excuses to get out of any negative reaction. For this reason, employers are now stating that lunch breaks are shorter, must be taken on-site or three or more late returns to work will result in termination. To avoid this issue, simply stick to the schedule. Remember , you are being paid to work for the hours that you are scheduled.


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