Multi-functionality (Dis)Order – When You Need More Flexibility to Juggle Work and Life

If you don’t have enough flexibility to juggle your job and personal responsibilities, think about what your ideal situation would look like? Would it be possible to build more flexibility into your current job? Should you consider pursuing other jobs in the same or a related field? 

Although some jobs simply cannot be flexible based on the nature of the work, it usually isn’t all or nothing. There are many jobs– in almost every field – that lend themselves to flexibility in the work-place, whether that be full-time, part-time, or merely on an “as acceptable” basis.

More Flexibility in your Current Job

If you are seeking more flexibility in your current job, some things to consider include:

–  how will your employer benefit by providing you with more flexibility? (Note: Your employer probably doesn’t care how you’d benefit.)

– do you have teammates who would join forces with you and create a proposal for a pilot program to work part- or full-time from home?

– how will you measure your accountability to you, your teammates, and your boss?

– how much of your day-to-day work and communications can be handled through phone, email, and internet, and how much face time is required?

– how will you structure your typical day to be available during the hours when you are needed most?

– can you create a distraction-free place in your home where you can actually accomplish your work objectives?

– how much face-to-face interaction do you need?

Once you’ve answered these questions, put together a solid proposal touching on the above points. Anticipate any questions and negotiations, and make your pitch.

A New, More Flexible Job

If your current employer and/or position insists on your physical presence, consider whether you could find similar or related work with another employer. For example, teachers can now teach online, and there are many online opportunities for nurses in various industries. Although you can use free online job boards and listings to find more flexible opportunities, it can be cumbersome and misleading. If you are serious about finding more flexible work, consider subscribing to FlexJobs.com, which is reasonably priced and provides access to thousands of reliable, flexible job listings in various fields. You may also want to check out freelance opportunities.

Become an Advocate for the Flexible Workplace

Over the past couple of decades, the flexible work environment has been a pendulum – many companies and industries have embraced it, but, anecdotally, many have cut back on flexible arrangements with little to show for it. There are success stories, and there are failures, but they both provide us with learning opportunities.

Flexible work, while not for every job or everybody, is good for the employer because it can save real estate costs, boost productivity, and attract top talent. It is good for society because it can reduce the carbon footprint of commuting and foster stronger family and community networks.  And, finally, it is good for you because it will save you commuting, wardrobe, and other costs; free you up to prioritize where you need to be and when you need to be there; and, if you do it right, increase your ability to efficiently and effectively do your job.

If you’d like to do more to support the movement, check out One Million for Work Flexibility and join the many voices that speak out in favor of work-life balance. Better yet, speak up here about your flexible work story – good or bad. The more we get the message out there, the more flexible options we will all have.

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