WEST GERMANY: Pick Your Hours

German workers have a well-earned reputation for zeal and discipline, but even they hate the time clock. Recognizing that, a growing number of employers, including the national airline Lufthansa, are giving some of their employees freedom to punch in, within broad limits, any time they choose in the morning and punch out when they please in the afternoon, as long as they continue to put in a required number of hours each month.

The system, called Gleitende Arbeitszeit (staggered work time) was begun four years ago by the aircraft and electronics firm of Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm, mostly because company bosses saw no...

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