This post is by Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning, innovative career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. All this week, WealthySingleMommy is partnering with FlexJobs to bring you “Flexible Work Week.”
Most moms dream about raising a family and working from home. The idea of avoiding a long, or traffic-ridden commute, spending more time with their kids, and having a greater sense of control and flexibility is tempting for any mom.
We spoke with Tonya Lain, vice president of leading human resources firm, and advocate for flexible work arrangements, Adecco. Here are three tips for approaching your boss about creating a flexible work arrangement that benefits all parties:
- Do your research. In many cases, women don’t have an idea of how they are going to talk about a flexible work arrangement with their manager. The first step is to research your company’s policies on flexible working arrangements in the employee handbook. If it is clear that working remotely is not an option due to travel demands or frequent meetings, brainstorm other options. Also, consult with other moms in the company who have successfully negotiated a more flexible work schedule to develop a proposal based on what’s been done before.
- Consider all involved parties. Think carefully about what arrangement would produce the best results for you and your employer, whether it’s working from home three days a week or coming in later in the morning to be able to take your kids to school. Be honest with yourself about the balance you need in your professional and personal life. Solidifying a schedule that both parties can benefit from will increase the chances of getting your boss’s approval. A written plan will eliminate any confusion before you arriving late at the office late or miss meetings.
- Align your request with business needs. Align your strategy with what you contribute to the organization. Shift the focus to productivity, and how much more effective and efficient you can be on the job. Be strategic in choosing which days you’ll work from home. For example, bring up the hours potentially lost in a long commute, or how working from home will allow you to be available more hours during the week. Construct a formal plan highlighting these advantages.
You will also want to invest in a fully equipped work home office, which might include a dedicated business phone line, high-speed internet, and designated work-only space.
And if negotiating flexible work options with your current employer doesn’t work, it’s time to start looking for a new flexible or telecommuting job! You can start with the free Guide to the Best Flexible Companies, a database with over 25,000 researched and vetted companies that offer flexible work options.
What has your experience been with negotiating flexible work options like telecommuting, flexible scheduling, or a part-time scheduling arrangement? Please share your challenges and tips in the comments!
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