It’s the holy grail of being a working parent. Between incessant deadlines and ever-changing sports schedules, therein, amidst the chaos, lies what many say does not truly exist: work-life balance. Many strive for it, some do achieve it (albeit momentarily), but some never get to experience what it truly means: being able to have a career that you’re proud of, and to find time to enjoy your family, too. It is possible, to attain work-life balance, and one of the ways is through flexible work.
Understanding your flexible work options
Flexible work is real, and it’s here to stay. It exists in a variety of forms, many of which are offered by today’s top companies. For example, you could find a remote job in which you would work from your home office, either part-time or full-time. A flexible schedule might allow you to customize your workday according to your needs. Alternatively, you could opt to find a part-time job that would allow you to earn an extra pay check and still pick up your kids from school. Some employees enjoy working a compressed workweek, where they work extra hours some days in order to have other days off.
The benefits of flexible work options
Ask any working parent who has a job with flexible work options about its benefits, and they’ll most likely tell you that they’re too numerous to count. In addition to shortening (and in some cases, eliminating) your commute to work, those who work from home tend to be more productive than their in-office counterparts. Why? Without having to commute so often, they can use that time more effectively to work, freeing up extra hours during the day.
Having a flexible schedule also can mean a big savings for an employee by not having to shell out big bucks to commute, buy office-appropriate attire, or spend extra cash on incidentals that come with a full-time office job.
Apart from the savings of time and money, the biggest draw for having flexible work options is the increased time working parents have to be with their children. No longer do these employees have to choose between getting paid for the day or being able to attend their child’s writing celebration. When their children have activities they would like to be present for, parents can adjust their work schedules accordingly in order to complete their work-related tasks and attend their children’s functions, too.
Make flexibility work in your current job
While many companies offer work flexibility, some are still lagging behind. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a flexible schedule, though. If your current company doesn’t have a policy on work flexibility, you can (and should) propose a flex arrangement.
For example, make a list of all of your responsibilities, noting which ones can be done from a home office. Then schedule a meeting with your boss to ask to work from home, pointing out the parts of your job that lend themselves to a more flexible schedule. If your boss is reticent to let you work from home full-time, you may need to be flexible and ask to either work from home part-time or even have a compressed workweek on a trial basis until he gets used to the idea.
Find a new job that offers flexible work options
If your boss is, well, inflexible, it may be time for you to find a new company that understands the work-life balance needs of not only working parents, but workers everywhere. Most studies show the vast majority of companies either currently support or will soon support flexible work options, so start searching for a new job that will offer you more options for your work-life balance.
While “having it all” still might be a stretch, you can have better balance in your work and personal lives. Flexible work options go a long way to helping you with that. Try to create a more flexible environment in your current job, or branch out into a new role that supports work flexibility. You and your family will be happy you did!