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7 Flexible Work Arrangements to Consider

7 Flexible Work Arrangements to Consider

Tory Johnson | Women for Hire

Flextime is an accommodation, not an entitlement. Slackers and clock-watchers won’t get the benefit of the doubt. Good workers are more likely to have requests approved.

So your first step is asking yourself if your performance is truly outstanding. If not, focus on improving it before asking for a special accommodation.

Condensed work week: If your standard week is 40 hours – typically broken into 5 days, 8 hours per day – could you perform your position in 4 days at 10 hours per day? Even if this isn’t possible every single week, you might convince your boss to consider it even just once or twice a month, which would give you a free weekday to tend to personal and family needs.

Telecommuting: Instead of reporting for duty to your employer’s offices all five days a week, can your position be performed from your home one or two days a week? This would require you to have – or your employer to provide – whatever equipment and supplies are needed for your job, including dedicated phone line, computer, high speed Internet access, and so forth. This eliminates a commute and typically leads to increased productivity among already-motivated employees.

If you’re easily distracted or you don’t have dedicated space in which to work from, this might not be a viable option. Many employers won’t allow this type of arrangement if you’re using it in lieu of baby-sitting services. They want to ensure that you’re putting in your full hours even from home.

Vacation by the hour: Even though it’s more difficult to keep track of time used, some employers are starting to allow workers to use their allotted vacation time by the hour instead of by the day. This enables working parents to attend school functions or doctor’s appointments without missing a full day of work. The benefit to employers is better productivity – more work gets done if an employee is present for part of the day than not at all. In other cases, employers sometimes allow staffers to convert unused sick days into vacation days.

Alternative work schedule The federal government and many private employers allow some employees to select arrival and departure times that suit their personal needs within the working day. For example, some people might want to avoid a heavy commute, while others may benefit from seeing their kids off to school in the morning. These employees are still putting in the same number of hours in the office as their peers, but they’re not necessarily the traditional 9 to 5 hours.

Access to concierge services: Many employers recognize that life happens while we’re at work and they’re offering benefits that help the rank and file to better manage career and home simultaneously. Among the concierge services offered: dinner-to-go via their on-site cafeterias – to help parents who work a bit later avoid the rat-race of getting home to cook for their families, help with dog walking, routine car maintenance, a fill-in at home who can wait for the cable guy to show up, and other tasks that would normally take you away from work during the week or away from family on the weekend.

Part-time work: Some women would gladly accept reduced pay and benefits to receive a reduced work schedule. Many companies will honor this arrangement for high achievers because it’s more cost-effective than losing them altogether. Some employers recognize that you already have the knowledge and training, which would enable you to achieve the same (or better) results on a part-time basis as someone else could on a full-time basis without the same training.

Job sharing: This is perhaps the most difficult of all scenarios to secure because it requires the moon and stars to align in ways that aren’t always realistic. Even though some job-sharing relationships work successfully, the jury is still out on the overall effectiveness of such arrangements.

This article was originally published on

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