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StorkNet Home > Parenting Channel > Working Mothers Cubby

Finding the Perfect Work Solution for You
by Kim Green-Spangler
Do you love your job but,
  • You feel like you never see your family?
  • You want more than an hour together that is not filled with dinner, baths, teeth, homework or chores?
  • You want to see your children before you leave in the morning and when they get home from school?

Then you may need to consider an alternative work solution. There are several alternatives to the typical 40 hour work week or part-time job. The month of May is the Revise Your Work Schedule Month, a month dedicated to helping individuals identify the right work schedule for them. Job-Sharing

A full-time job is shared between two people on a part-time basis. With an alternating daily schedule (Mon, Wed. and Fri for one worker and Tues. and Thurs. for the other) or a split daily schedule with a 9am-1pm and 1pm-5pm shift (or some other agreed upon hourly configuration.) This arrangement typically works very well for both the employees and the employer. Employees enjoy the flexibility, while employers have taken a full-time position which generally comes with benefits and creates two part-time positions which do not require company paid benefits.

Staggered Hours

An employee's daily start and end times are staggered by 15 minute to 3 hour intervals, in order to accommodate traffic and parental/familial responsibilities. This option provides employers with coverage when they need it and employees with less stressful scenarios each day.

Compressed Work Weeks

An abbreviated work week takes place when an employee works three 12 hour work days with 2 additional days off, or four 10 hour work days with 1 additional day off each week. If spread over a two week period, employees work eight 9 hour days and one 8 hour day with an extra day off every other week. This is a great way to get a longer weekend or a day off during the week during business hours.

Flex-Time

A flexible schedule allows employees to select the shift that they would like to work, instead of starting and ending at a traditional time. The employers may apply ground rules for mandatory coverage hours, but a workplace may allow a flexible schedule to span all hours of operation. Flex-time provides employees with more control over their workday.

Tele-working (Telecommuting)

One of the most coveted types of schedule options is the tele-working or telecommuting option which is when employees are allowed to work from home using telephones and computers for a designated number of days each week. This option has traditionally resulted in improved productivity, lower costs for the employer and a better quality of life for the employee.

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Getting the Boss to Say Yes

Some jobs are better suited to alternative work solutions than others. For those that are conducive to this type of arrangement, the employee has to do their homework. Create a written proposal to present to your boss at a scheduled meeting. In the proposal discuss the benefits to the company for you working from home as well as specifics like the number of days, the methods that you will use to stay abreast of office happenings, and any other potential objections that may arise. It's important that employers feel that you have given your proposal thought, clearly outline how this will benefit them, and proactively attempt to solve any negative aspects of the proposed work solution. Another option (as a last resort) may be to ask your employer if a bonus or raise can be swapped for the opportunity to incorporate a different work schedule.

If all else fails, it might be a bit easier to find a position with a different company and negotiate for the best work solution for your unique situation from the beginning. It doesn't hurt to ask and you may receive an easy nod.

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