I went through this same process years ago. I was pregnant with my first child and decided that I really wanted to work part time. Was I nervous? Yes! But, did all work out well. You bet! He’s in college now so it’s been a few years but I still remember the moments leading up to my conversation followed by the exhilaration of the positive response I got. It was so validating. I felt valuable! And I was excited to find a way to balance work I loved with family time.
What flexible work arrangement would help you balance your work and family obligations along with your focus on impact? What would you like to do with your current role? Set some goals. Do your research.
There are many different options available today and they are far more prevalent now than when I asked for my new arrangement! I say all that to say, there is hope!
Here are some to consider:
- Flexible Schedule: longer hours for less days, changing up your start time to earlier or later so you can get some life or impact activities out of the way before or after work.
- Work From Home, also sometimes known as telecommuting. You still need to devote the hours but can save those commute minutes towards impact.
- Job Sharing: with the right partner this flex work option can be amazing for employees and employers. Fill a full time job seamlessly with two people for a wider range of skills and built-in coverage for vacations or other time off.
- Part Time
If you want to go part time, how will that impact your take home pay? Remember, there are variables other than paid hours that you need to consider. Will your dry cleaning bill go down? What will happen to your transportation costs?
Once you know what you are looking for, start putting together a presentation and formal written proposal (if you think you will need it).
Start by anticipating what the issues will be for your boss. Make a list and address each item in writing prior to the meeting. Be very specific. These items will become your proposal. I would not reference having children at home in the proposal. You can, however, talk about your desire to balance your rewarding career with your outside responsibilities and pursuits.
Here are some topics to keep in mind when thinking about potential issues.
Purpose: retention, increased productivity, decreased burn-out, increased effectiveness
Schedule: Outline the days you plan to work from home and what hours and/or what your total schedule will be (full or part time). If job sharing, who will work what hours?
Communication: How will your co-workers and customers contact you while you are working from home? How will you communicate the change? How will you access email and digital information from home? If you will work part time, will you be available for emergencies? Or, if you will job share, how will you and your partner communicate to provide seamless full time work?
Physical Set-up: What will your home office set up be? Will you have a separate room away from home and family distractions? Do you have the office equipment required?
Evaluation: Set a timeframe during which you and your boss can re-evaluate whether or not the new schedule is working. 3-6 months with time scheduled for interim evaluation with opportunity to discuss any problems and resolve them. Indicate that either party can terminate the arrangement at the end of the trial period.
Job Duties: Make a list of the job duties that can be performed seamlessly from home. Provide details of how it will be transparent to customers where applicable. Or, if you will go part time or job share, how will work be redistributed?
Conclusion: List examples of any departments in your organization who already allow telecommuting, part time, job share, flex time. Indicate that you feel that you have the same work ethic, etc…and are committed to making this a success. Discuss that many organizations are now using this kind of work arrangement for recruitment and retention of high quality employees. Discuss the decreased stress and added productivity that will result from working from home (think of examples of distractions at work that will not be present at home)