Six Ways to
Your home life,
finances and career goals will help you determine which work
option is best for you at this phase of your life. Here is an
overview of the most common full-time and part-time flexible
work arrangements to consider.
by Pat Katepoo
Choosing a Full-Time
Flexible Work Option
In general, proposing
a full-time flexible arrangement is an easier "sell"
than a part-time one, especially with unenlightened bosses or
with employers who lack policies promoting flexibility.
options which maintain your full-time income include flextime,
telecommuting and compressed work week. Here's a quick overview
of full-time work options:
1 - Flextime
Flextime is the
most popular flexible work option available and usually the easiest
to get approved. It would allow you a flexible starting and quitting
time within management-set limits. For example, if your normal
work hours are from 8 - 5, a flextime schedule might allow you
to work from 6:30 to 3:30, 9 to 6, or whatever start/stop time
worked best for you, while still being workable for your employer.
If your employer doesn't already offer flextime, this should
be the easiest option to propose.
Choose the flextime
option if you want to preserve your visibility on the job by
your daily presence, yet could use the restructured "extra"
time provided in the morning or afternoon.
2 - Telecommuting
would allow you to work at home during part of your scheduled
hours. Typically, telecommuters come into the office two or three
days a week to attend meetings and stay visible and in touch.
It may or may not involve computers, although computers are a
common element of telecommuting.
If at least part
of your job responsibilities are conducive to it, choose the
telecommuting or work-from-home option if cutting the time, costs
and stress of commuting will bring the greatest flexibility payoffs.
3 - Compressed
work week has you working 40 hours in fewer than five days. The
most widely used set-up is 10 hour days for four days a week.
Another arrangement is called 5-4/9. This is a week of five nine-hour
days followed by a week of four nine-hour days, and would give
you a day off every other week. Consider arranging the 5-4/9
option during the summer months or during the winter holidays.
That may be a good way to get your employer to give it a trial
Choose this option
if you need that additional day off, have the stamina to consistently
work nine and 10-hour days, and if outside scheduling commitments
and arrangements (e.g., child care) can fit into this non-traditional
employer has flexible work policies or not, a well-thought-out,
written proposal to your immediate supervisor is a crucial step
to getting approval. It's up to you to develop the "business
case" which shows how your employer will benefit and have
its needs met under your new arrangement. Your boss will want
assurance that it can work; spelling out the details on paper
goes a long way to giving that assurance. This approach is the
most effective, time-proven way to a proposed new work arrangement
Choosing a Part-time
Flexible Work Option
1 - Part-Time
Would you say you have
an over-scheduled lifestyle? Choosing a part-time work option
can be just the ticket to a "downshifted" pace, while
still remaining active and visible in your career. Consider the
2 - Shortened
Are you often
tired with little time for yourself after you've taken care of
everyone else's needs? If so, a shortened work day of five, six
or seven hours can help make the difference between stress and
sanity as you juggle your work and personal lives. With fewer
hours on the job, you may find yourself with more energy to get
the job done.
3 - Shortened
If you'd like
a full day off during the week to be with your young children,
an elderly family member, work on your home business, or just
get some personal time, a shortened work week may be your best
option. A four day work week can be an affordable option that
works well in most professional positions.
4 - Job Sharing
than four days a week and you may be unable to meet your job
duties -- unless you job share. A job sharing arrangement is
a form of part-time work where two people share the responsibilities
of one full-time position. For professionals or managers and
others in high level career paths, job sharing is an attractive
work option for keeping on the career track while still allowing
more time outside of work.
job to be less-than-full-time generally requires thoughtful and
thorough planning. Your boss/employer will want assurance of
how the work will get done with your new arrangement. Be sure
to cover all the bases in your proposal in order enhance your
chances of getting approval for a new, part-time work schedule.
If your employer
does not have a part-time or job-sharing policy, be encouraged
by the fact that many such arrangements are set up informally
between a valued employee and his or her boss.
Policy or not,
a well-thought-out, written proposal to your immediate supervisor
is a crucial step to getting approval. It's up to you to develop
the "business case" which shows how your employer will
benefit and have its needs met under your new arrangement. Your
boss will want assurance that it can work; spelling out the details
on paper goes a long way to giving that assurance. This approach
is the most effective, time-proven way to a proposed new work
- © 1998 Pat Katepoo, all rights reserved. For reprint permission
Katepoo at [email protected]. Need
a short-cut? If
you would like a short-cut way to develop your flexible work
plan and proposal, consider Flex Success, an EP Report that is an inexpensive proposal blueprint
sent by e-mail. It walks you through the proposal steps in a
systematic manner. Once filled out, you'll have a detailed, customized
plan to help you gain your boss's approval for your new work
arrangement. You can order your copy any time, day or night, and get
started right away towards that more balanced lifestyle!