Tech & Work

Does your Desktop Support department offer flex time?

The notion of the typical 8-to-5, forty-hour work week seems to have gone by the wayside with most Desktop Support departments. This seems to be the case regardless of whether the support is provided in-house or is outsourced. Personally speaking, my hours don't always fall into the 8-to-5 range, but my work week seldom exceeds 40 hours. There are some exceptions, of course, but as a rule I work about 40 hours per week, give or take a handful, but it's not always the typical 8-to-5.

I'll arrive early or stay late to perform some task so the user's day isn't interrupted with what I might need to do; however, I'll also come in late or leave early to make-up for the time. I'll work on a weekend so I can avoid server downtime, but I might also take a day or two off during the week to compensate for it — but only if I feel so inclined; I really don't have to if I don't want to.

I suppose all companies don't provide the benefit of making one's time as flexible as that, but I'm sure seeing a lot of it. In fact, I believe in today's market, it's more the rule than the exception, although I could be wrong. But if I were to ever be on the hunt for another position, it would be a requisite of the job. Provide flex-time, or I simply wouldn't take it — presented as a win-win scenario, of course. (Then again, maybe it's just the color of the glasses I'm looking through — rose colored, perhaps — but that's the way I see it.)

I hear a lot of people complaining about inflexible managers, rigid employer rules, or any number of horror stories about how desktop support people are used, overused, and abused. But isn't it really all a matter of choice? One's personal choice?

It's one thing working an extraordinary number of hours if you're doing it for the overtime dollars. If you're saving for a down payment on a house or to pay cash for a new car, it's a great strategy to work 50- to 60-hour weeks for a year or so (if your employer allows it); but if money isn't the issue, and a person finds himself/herself running ragged week after week, isn't that a clue that you might start considering other options?

It's your time. It's your choice. And if things aren't going the way you'd like, at least within reason, doesn't that make it a result of your own decision?

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