The definition of flextime relates to jobs with fixed, expected work hours, whether 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or some variation thereof. If your employer and supervisor encourage flextime, you can come in late and leave late, or come in early and leave early, relative to your expected work hours. In many workplaces, you could work one 6 hour day -- leaving early for a pediatrician's appointment, for instance -- and make up those missing hours of work on subsequent days of the week.
Depending on your employer's policies, you may have to formally request flextime on specific days, either on a regular basis or occasionally. Or, perhaps, your organization's definition of flextime may mean coming in and leaving whenever you need, as long as you attend important meetings and complete all your work. More and more, it doesn't matter where and when you do your job, as long as you produce excellent results.
When you're taking advantage of flextime, it helps to have a good understanding of your own biorhythms to make sure you're not regularly cheating your employer -- and yourself -- by spending your most productive hours on non-work tasks. For instance, if you are sharpest and most productive from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. each morning, you shouldn't spend that precious block of time supervising kids' breakfasts and driving the carpool -- at least not every single day of the week! You can use flextime to drop the children at school once or twice a week, but reserve those golden hours for your career most of the week. You may find that you're getting so much done that you can leave even earlier for the carpool home from school.