Friday, February 7, 2014

The working day - I love flexitime.

For most of us, the working day is the standard 8 hours, and in the majority of companies in the corporate world that day is traditionally 9 to 5.  More and more companies are moving towards flextime, according to the Wiki described as:  Flextime (also spelled flexitime [British English], flexi-time) is a variable work schedule .

I really do appreciate that the company I work for supports this arrangement. And mostly it works really well both for me and for my employer.  For a number of reasons I choose to start work at 5 a.m., though sometimes I am actually at my desk before 4.30 a.m. and I am usually able to leave at 2.30 or 3 p.m. 

The main reason I choose these hours is that I live almost 30 miles from the office, not a unreasonable commute if it were not for the fact that my home is well north of the city of Austin Texas, and the office is south of the city. Austin traffic is absolutely awful, coupled with, and probably caused by, at least in part, the fact that public transport is almost non existent. See report here if you are interested - Austin is the 15th worst city for traffic in the US. 

By coming in very early I am guaranteed almost empty roads all the way, and driving home in the early afternoon will, mostly, ensure that the traffic is manageable, with the exception of Friday, when there is no time in the working day when the traffic is in any way reasonable.

The map on the right shows the location of my home marked at the top, and the office location at the bottom. And below is a typical rush hour on the road I drive every day to work.

This is the road I drive every day to work
Another reason for my choice of working hours is the fact that I have always been a morning person, and as I get older I find I don't sleep as long as I used to. Waking around 2.30 to 3.00 a.m.

Because of that, and the fact that we have an exercise facility in the office, almost as good as any gym, I get up when I awake and head to the office where I can workout, shower and be at my desk by 5 a.m. (earlier if I skip my workout which I do if I am particularly busy).

Where this wonderful plan falls apart is on a week like this week, Wednesday I was busy enough to skip my workout and arrived at my desk at 4.15 a.m. It was one of those days when there was scarcely time to go to the bathroom, let alone eat lunch. At 2.15 p.m. I had been working flat out for 10 hours when I got caught up in working on an urgent production fix. Naturally, despite the fact that everyone knows that I do the 'early shift' I was there and I got roped into the frey.

At 3.25, over 11 hours straight, I staggered out of the office and headed home, traffic was still not unbearable fortunately, but it was starting to build.  By the time I got home and prepared dinner that was me done for the day.  Thursday was a repeat, except that I managed to get out of the office after 10 hours straight, again no time to eat lunch. Friday didn't let up.  It was another 4.30 start, fortunately I maanged to get out of the office at 11.30 a.m. Almost a full day, however as soon as I got home I was working over VPN until 3 p.m. which resulted in another 10 hour day.  In total this week I worked almost 50 hours.  

Luckily this doesn't happen very often and certainly not often enough to stop me from continuing my somewhat unusual schedule, at least until such time as I can retire, currently just a pipe dream.

I still love flexitime, even on the days when it appears to be way too flexible and not in my favor.