The ideal work situation for me balances my needs with the needs of my employer. People's lives are driven by their careers, therefore finding the best work arrangement can have a major positive effect on your life. Available family time, work hours, and the ability to periodically take a good, long vacation all affect you overall happiness and the happiness of your family.
For me, flexible work hours are very important. In my profession as a software engineer, a great deal of the most productive times occur during the late night and early morning hours. During these non-standard hours I can work without being distracted by the world around me. The commute takes much less time as well, allowing me to spend that time in other, more profitable and enjoyable places.
Another important component of the ideal work schedule is the ability to work from home part of the time. Like flexible hours, working from home is more accepted in my profession than in most others. Working from home eliminates the commute and allows for more family time.
Some employers display an apparent distrust of employees, acting as though their employees need to be babysat. Perhaps they simply don't consider alternatives to the "standard" work schedule because that's the way they have always done it and see no reason to change. They operate under the assumption that all people are pressed out of the same mold: eight to five, Monday to Friday, week after week.
If an employer cares more about when and how I work than
what I produce, then maybe I should look elsewhere.
After all, it's my life.