In the Jewish world, flexibility is usually seen as an ad hoc arrangement. AWP has launched several pilot projects in Jewish organizations to introduce the benefits of institutionalizing flexibility. Here are the core principles that we have drawn from these experiments:
Flexibility is an option, not a right. Flexibility is not about saying, "Yes" to every request. Rather, flexible work policies focus both on the benefits to the employee and the impact on the organization.
Flexibility takes different forms. Some organizations offer flexible work weeks, part-time work and compressed work weeks, where employees work longer on selected days in order to work fewer days per week. Telecommuting allows employees work from a location outside of the main office, usually from home. Job sharing allows two employees to divide one job, with each person working about half-time.
Work smarter, not harder. An organization that is considering policies for flexible work arrangements should also be thinking about how to become more effective. Managers and staff need to analyze the workflow - every project, meeting, and event -- to translate time commitments into task commitments.
Avoid Blackberry Syndrome. Technology is a double-edged sword in a culture of over-work. But constant connectivity impinges on many aspects of Jewish life. Managing your Blackberry - or email and cell phone - can be a practical and symbolic act. Do not become so focused on minutiae that you lose the reflective thinking and planning that will truly benefit the community.