Which work option is best for you?
by Pat Katepoo
Your home life, finances, and career goals will help you determine
which work option is best for you at this phase of your life. Here
is an overview of the most common full-time and part-time flexible
work arrangements to consider.
Full-time flexible work arrangements
In general, proposing a full-time flexible arrangement is an easier
"sell" than a part-time one, especially with unenlightened bosses
or with employers who lack policies promoting flexibility.
Flexible work options which maintain your full-time income
include flextime, telecommuting and compressed workweek.
Here's a quick overview of full-time work options:
Flextime is the most popular flexible work option available and
usually the easiest to get approved. It would allow 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 6:30 to 3:30, 9 to 6, or
whatever start/stop time worked best for you, while still being
workable for your employer.
Choose the flextime option if you want to preserve your visibility
on the job by your daily presence, yet could use the restructured
"extra" time provided in the morning or afternoon.
Telecommuting would allow you to work at home during part of
your scheduled hours. Typically, telecommuters come into the
office two or three days a week to attend meetings and stay
visible and in touch.
If at least part of your job responsibilities are conducive to it,
choose the telecommuting or work-from-home option if cutting the
time, costs and stress of commuting will bring the greatest
The compressed workweek has you working 40 hours in fewer
than five days. The most widely used set-up is 10 hour days for
four days a week.
Choose this option if you need that additional day off, have the
stamina to consistently work 10-hour days, and if outside
scheduling commitments and arrangements (e.g., child care) can
fit into this non-traditional schedule.
Part-time flexible work arrangements
Would you say you have an over-scheduled lifestyle? Choosing a
part-time work option can be just the ticket to a "downshifted"
pace, while still remaining active and visible in your career.
Consider the following options.
Are you often tired with little time for yourself after you've taken
care of everyone else's needs? If so, a shortened work day of five,
six or seven hours can help make the difference between stress
and sanity as you juggle your work and personal lives.
With fewer hours on the job, you may find yourself with more
energy to get the job done.
If you'd like a full day off during the week to be with your young
child(ren), a shortened workweek may be your best option. A four
day workweek can be an affordable option that works well in most
professional positions. Anything less than four days a week and
you may be unable to meet your job duties--unless you job share.
A job sharing arrangement is a form of part-time work where two
people share the responsibilities of one full-time position.
For professionals or managers and others in high level career
paths, job sharing is an attractive work option for keeping on the
career track while still allowing more time outside of work.
Redesigning your job to be less-than-full-time generally requires
thoughtful and thorough planning. Your boss/employer will want
assurance of how the work will get done with your new
Careful consideration of your priorities in your personal, financial
and professional life will help guide your choice of the best work
option for you.
Worksheet for deciding what work option is best for you
Discover your personal reasons for pursuing a flexible work arrangement
Pat Katepoo is founder of WorkOptions.com and the developer of
the electronic workbook, Flex Success: A Proposal Blueprint &
Planning Guide for Getting a Family-Friendly Work Schedule.