, , , ,

Important News About Your CWS, RDO, AWS, Annual and Sick Leave

It’s all a bunch of BS!

When’s the last time you sat down with your team to discuss how to make better use of your team’s unique set of capabilities and strengths? Chances are, if you took stock, you’d find that some people work best at night, others in the morning, some on the weekends in their chalet or beach house, and others from an iPad in the cafeteria. But the last time I checked, alternative work schedules aren’t being used for this purpose. Why do we insist on so-called “alternative work schedules” if they don’t amplify our creativity and productivity?

When we participate in programs like compressed work schedules, we tend to get over-entitled, or even righteous, about our regular day off (especially when it’s by a federal holiday like President’s Day). Have you ever heard someone say something like “Oh, that holiday fell on my RDO so you KNOW I’ll be out Tuesday, and Friday was my compress – and then I’m due for a sick day so I’ll catch you in March?” Does it make you feel like you’ve utterly failed to compete in the department of PERKS (and recreation)?

You haven’t failed. The problem with our fictional (but not far-fetched) scenario is that alternative work schedules have often been used as a mechanism to avoid the office, and thus to avoid inboxes, colleagues, and ultimately, work. Imagine if we defended our right to use the latest collaboration technologies as vigorously as we did our regular day off. Or imagine if we demanded that poor performers be counseled as frequently and reliably as we update our vacation auto-response messages.

If we deal with the underlying issues affecting team performance, we’ll be less concerned about our need for days off — you can bet your timesheet on it!

Andy Lowenthal is a public sector strategy consultant. Follow him on Twitter.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Terrence (Terry) Hill

Andy – There is another alternative to the Compressed Work Schedule that you have issues with. That is a Flexible Work Schedule. Many agencies have implemented a “Maxi-Flex” schedule, which allows employees to vary the start/stop times daily, take mid-day breaks, accrue/use credit hours for crunch times, and work virtually any hours of the day (as long as they work during core hours, which can be as few as 2). This is not quite ROWE, but it’s a natural progression of the fixed Compressed Work Schedule that you describe. Here is the OPM handbook on the subject:


Andy Lowenthal

Thanks for the link, Terry. I am familiar with the Maxi-Flex option, though I’ve never known anyone who’s used (though I’m sure someone does, somewhere).

Overall, I place a high value on workplace flexibility. ROWE, for me, is the nirvana of productivity and mental health. The underlying premise of Maxi-Flex (that you can customize your office hours to fit your lifestyle) is a great one. I think one of the significant barriers is the judgment (or perceived judgment) that comes along with participating, if you’re lucky enough to have a supervisor that approves.

p.s. Great piece on Telework ROI. I know that measurement of productivity gains and retention benefits is no easy task. Kudos for taking this on.