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Make Room for Mom: An Alternative Work Schedule

woman-file-cabinet.pngOne of the main reasons single moms seek a flexible or alternative work schedule (also called variable work hours) is so they can have more freedom, flexibility, and time with their children. They want a lifestyle with less restrictions and more free time. Alternative and flexible work arrangements are ways to structure work in other than the traditional 5-day per week, 8-hour per day pattern.

Alternative Work Arrangements are anything other than five (5) consecutive equal length work days in a seven (7) day work week. Some examples are:

4/10 work schedule - An employee works four 10-hour days.
9/80 work schedule - An employee works five 9-hour days one week, and three 9-hour, and one 8-hour days the following week, with every other Friday off.

Flexible Work Arrangements have the following characteristics:

A fixed, core block of work time during which the employee is always at work.
A daily work start time that can vary within a specified range.
A daily work end-time that must be adjusted each day in accordance with that day's start time.

Job sharing is when two people share the same position in a company, each working a part of the week.

Does your employer offer a flexible or alternative work schedule? If so perhaps you can request to work remotely from home on Fridays, this way you can schedule time with your children. You may also want to inquire about telecommuting options. Given our current economy, many companies are willing to accommodate a more flexible work schedule for employees to help reduce corporate expenses.

If your company doesn't offer alternative work options, don't let that stop you from requesting it. You could be the first to forge a flexible work arrangement at your company, but you won't get anything unless you ask.

The best approach to take when asking your boss for a more flexible work arrangement is to make it a win-win by keeping your company's interests in mind. Think about how your request could benefit the company. Could reducing your hours help cut costs in a department facing budget constraints? Could shifting your schedule so that you come in earlier or stay later than usual allow your company to extend the hours that it provides service to clients? Could working from home reduce corporate expenses? Could allowing someone else to take over some of your responsibilities provide a developmental opportunity to a less experienced coworker?

When deciding which option is best for you, remember your goal and keep your personal situation in mind. Can you afford to job share and reduce your hours? Can you realistically get work done and take care of the kids? The option you choose may not be easy to juggle at first. But, given some time and adjusting, you'll make more room for you.

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