It’s December. Are you dropping your little ones off at daycare in the dark? Do you find it distressing?
You know the scene: your kids are in a sleepy stupor as you start their day before sunrise. You rue the routine, but what choice does a full-time working parent have?
Maybe you’re unaware of all your options. Here’s a sample of flexible work schedules to consider requesting:
Flextime: This arrangement allows you a flexible starting and quitting time within management-set limits. For example, if your normal work hours are from 8 – 5, a flextime schedule might allow you to work from 9 to 6.
Flextime works especially well when you’re tag-teaming the daycare drop-off and pick-up routine; if your spouse or someone else is picking up your child, there’s less pressure on you to dash away from the office at the end of the day.
Flextime is so popular, widely-used and easily implemented that a formal proposal is usually unnecessary to win approval.
Could These Flexible Work Options Work for You?
Shortened Workday – Version 1: Can your trim workday at the front end by 30 minutes or an hour? You’d still be working at least 35 hours a week, which by some employers’ definition, is considered “full-time” with regard to benefits. Check with your employer’s HR department to see if that’s the case.
Shortened Workday – Version 2: If you can afford a 30 to 32-hour workweek, negotiate to trim your workday by an hour or so on both ends.
That’s what one of my customers did. An executive for a small marketing communications firm, Beth used to wake her school-aged daughter at 5:45 am so she could be at morning daycare (before school started) in time for Beth to be at her desk by 8 am; pick-up after work was at 6 pm. Not anymore.
Beth trimmed her workday at both ends. Later, she reported to me that she and her family now have more time to cook, read and relax.
“Are You Crazy?! Shorter Work Hours?”
As a professional—and probably an overworked one—talk about 30, 35 or 40 hours may sound unrealistic when you’re putting in 45+ hours a week.
In that case, telecommuting is your ticket out of driving to daycare in the dark. By negotiating a flextime (see above) + telecommuting combo, you can retain full-time+ hours and continue to get the work done.
Working from home two or three days out of the five-day workweek allows many professionals to get ahead of their workload. Likewise, your business case proposal will include the well-documented fact that employees who work remotely have double-digit productivity increases.
The next time you’re driving to the daycare in the dark, think about which work-life scheduling solution would make your life better.
Then make your case and ask for it.