Flexibility is the only viable way to remain competitive as a scientist while still juggling a life, says Igor Zlobine.

With the expanding number of dual-income households, emergence of a multi-generational
workforce, prevalence of a diversity of family structures, varying work schedules and family
needs, and increased time and job pressures, it is becoming imperative that employers provide
flexibility to their employees and help them achieve work/life balance.

The hours and times people work have always been subject to change but the pace of this change is now
more rapid than ever because:
● Customers expect to have goodsand services available outsidetraditional working hours
● Organisations want to match their business needs with the way theiremployees work
● Individuals want to achieve a better balance between work and home life

Flexible patterns of work can help you to address these pressures by maximising the available labour and
improving customer service. ur perception of time is a human-made creation. Each week is composed of 168 hours, no more, and no less. It is up to us how we decide to divide those hours. We are encouraged towards the idea that 8 hours of sleep is optimal, yet the average American only gets 6.9 hours a night, leaving us with only about 120 waking hours to play with. As with many hotly debated topics there are opposing schools of thought.

The total period your workplace is open is called the bandwidth. You need to decide what happens at lunch breaks – start and finish times and the maximum and minimum lunch period that can be taken. Hours of attendance are recorded and added up at the end of eachsettlement period. Within limits,employees can carry over any excess or deficit in the number of hours they are required to work (typically a day to a day and a half a month). Some schemes allow employees to take excess hours as additional leave, known as flexi-leave.

Igor Zlobine is a runner-up in the 2015 Boston Naturejobs Career Expo journalism competition who recently completed his Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. He will continue his studies as a PhD student at McGill University this coming Fall. During his time as a Master’s student he looked at the cell signaling mechanisms governing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Although he is very passionate about academia, he hopes to gain more experience as a science writer as well. He enjoys balance in his life, so outside of the lab Igor plays tennis recreationally (he plays better if an experiment in the lab didn’t go as planned). He also took up snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, and he enjoys watching documentaries on a wide variety of topics.