Dear Pat: Besides my full-time accounting job, I have a 3-year-old son in pre-school and am working towards my MBA online. Also, my husband and I are building a photography business on the side. I need more hours in the day to juggle it all, but proposing part-time work hours at my job is not yet an affordable step right now. What are my options? ~ Ready for Meltdown
Dear Ready: Let me suggest the next best thing to part-time: telecommuting.
Telecommuting has you working standard hours over five days a week so you keep your full-time income. But the commute to your job becomes part time, allowing you to capture several hours a week for outside responsibilities.
As an initial “ask,” I suggest you ask for two days a week of telecommuting—three, at most—to boost your chances of approval.
That means cutting out several time-draining commutes a week, not to mention fewer trips to the gas station and dry cleaners. How many recaptured hours is that for you?
When presenting your proposal, position the benefits of your new work-from-home arrangement to your employer.
For example, employees who work from a remote location often see a double-digit rise in productivity. With virtually no socializing and many other interruptions removed, you can look forward to greater concentration, less time wasted, better work flow, and more productive work output in fewer hours.
That’s the business case that appeals to your manager.
Another possibility: ask your manager for permission to devote a few office hours per week to your MBA program activities as part of your professional development.
Otherwise, could you scale back the pace of your studies for a semester or two? Does your budget or budding photography business all you to trim 10% of your job income so you can propose taking every other Friday off?
Do you and your husband need to reevaluate the time table for growing your photography business? Are there ways he can shoulder more of the load of household responsibilities? Have you asked for his help lately?
For now, make a complete list of other options for building margin into your life, pick two viable ones and aim to implement them in the weeks ahead.