Dolly Parton may have had it right when she recorded the song in 1980, but the days of juggling it all in a 9am-5pm world are numbered.

Newsweek has a great article about how the down economy is actually helping change the culture of corporate America, by encouraging more flexible workdays:

Now, one in five Americans works mostly nonstandard hours—nights, weekends, or rotating shifts. Experts believe that statistic will balloon in coming years as the Great Recession accelerates a cultural shift in the corporate world, allowing more employees to tailor their work schedules to preference, position, and personal life.

One explanation for this shift has to do with changes in industry, as the economy becomes “less reliant on manufacturing and more dependent on so-called knowledge-based industries,” that don’t require rigid shift schedules.

But another explanation – not mentioned directly in the article – but discussed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their book Womenomics is that more “employers are introducing alternative work schedules, furloughs, unpaid vacation time, and reduced schedules specifically in response to the economic situation.  These firms see flexibility as a way to keep up morale and avoid mass layoffs.”

The fact is men and women value time and flexibility, often as much as money.

Certainly, professional women often have more choices – and more flexibility – than other women.  But as we talk about at IWF, this is why women – and men – benefit when we allow employers and employees to enter freely into contracts that suit both parties’ needs.

Too often we’re eager to regulate the workplace to make it more “fair.” But in reality gender-based discrimination legislation and other burdensome regulations actually end up making the cost of employment higher and reducing flexibility.  And that’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it…