Boston Globe

THE RISE OF THE BE-YOUR-OWN BOSS OFFICE

by Paula Vasan / March 6, 2015

Today’s workers demand a big say in where they do their jobs. That can actually be good for employers.

ONE MORNING last April, Dan Sally was tiptoeing around his Dedham home, trying not to wake his four children or his wife, who was struggling through a bad cold. It was only 4:15, long before sunrise, but Sally needed to get to his office particularly early to hop on an important call with customers in Europe. Just as he was slipping out the door, Sally heard his 3-year-old son whisper to him from the top of the stairs, “Please, don’t go.”

Plenty of working parents have faced similar heartbreaking moments when work has to come first. And plenty know what often comes next: a whispered apology, a quick exit, and overwhelming feelings of guilt. But that’s not what happened. Instead of heading into the office, Sally turned around, walked back inside, and tucked his son into bed. After the boy was asleep, he made his call, then spent the rest of the day working from home. No one in his office batted an eyelash.

For all the negative press, though, many forms of flexibility have been on the rise. By some accounts, as many as 30 million Americans now work from home at least once a week. According to a recent survey by the Families and Work Institute, 92 percent of employers allow some employees to decide when they take breaks, 81 percent allow them to change their starting and quitting times, and 67 percent allow at least occasional work from home. These figures were all higher in 2014 than they were in 2008. (It’s not all good news for workers: The ability to make flexible arrangements like job sharing and sabbaticals declined during that period.)

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The Boston Globe │March 6

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