FAMILY : Thanks but No Thanks

Despite a steady increase in the number of flexible work-schedule options available in major corporations, only a small fraction of workers take advantage of them, a study has found.

Fewer than 2% of employees use such programs as telecommuting, job sharing and part-time scheduling even when they are offered, according to a study by Work / Family Directions, a Boston consulting firm.

The low usage was attributed to resistance by managers, employee fear of retribution or negative career impact, and a general perception that flexible schedules are incompatible with an efficient work environment.

"Most employees are reluctant to take advantage of flexible work options because managers often are not supportive and they fear they'll put their careers at risk," said Charles Rodgers, president of Rodgers and Associates, the research arm of Work / Family Directions.

The study was based on surveys conducted at 80 leading American corporations representing a total work force of 2.4 million employees.

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