Flexible Work Arrangement – if you never ask, it will never happen

I just read a great post on NYTimes.com about how one mom achieves more balance (and efficiency) by starting work later and leaving for home earlier.  You may say, “Wow, where do I find that fantasy job?” or “Does she also commute to work on a unicorn?”  As unrealistic as it may seem, there are moms (and dads) out there who actually work a reduced work schedule.  It doesn’t happen for everyone but I do have to say that it will never happen for you if you don’t ask.

My son was four when I finally worked up the courage to let someone know that I’d like to reduce my hours to spend more time at home.  The proposition of him starting kindergarten and not being to pick him up from school and help with homework was really getting me down.  Luckily for me, on my new manager’s first day she asked about my career goals.  I figured it was now or never so I blurted out, “I’d like to reduce my hours.”  It seemed so bold and gutsy and it played in slow motion over and over in my head after I walked out of her office.  Had I just committed career suicide?

Quite the opposite!  She had employees in the past who had reduced their hours and it worked out well for them and the company.  She asked me to write up a plan for the arrangement and we shared it with the HR Director.  It got approved.   Three years later, I’m still on reduced hours and I’ve gotten great bonuses and I’ve even been promoted.

I could write much more on this topic and plan to do so in future posts.  How to write the plan, what jobs work best with flex, what do if your company doesn’t offer flex, etc.  Here’s my recommendation to you if you’re considering it – especially if you’re stressing about it and at your breaking point – Just ask.  Go to work tomorrow, set up time with your boss and just ask.  For some great info on this topic also be sure to  visit WorkOptions.

What’s the worst that would happen?  They say “no”.  Aren’t you there right now anyway?  I do recommend that you search the web for details on flexible work arrangements and research your company’s offer before marching in to your manager’s office but don’t sit on this for another month worrying about it.  If you approach them as a partner in getting the work done and don’t come off as demanding, at least you’re opening up the conversation.

Stay tuned for more posts on flexible work because for those who are in the before, during and after of maternity leave I can imagine that this is a big concern.  Leave comments and let me know what type of resources you’d like to see on the topic.

Visit our affiliate Work Options for more tips for asking for a Flexible Work Arrangement


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