One of the qualities of a cool workplace is a flexible work schedule, according to Bob Nelson, a worker engagement expert. In an article that ran in early December in Crain's Detroit Business, Nelson said businesses that are genuinely committed to providing flexible work policies attract and retain employees - and produce better results in the marketplace.
This message couldn't come at a better time, especially since - I've said it before and I'll say it again - over 70 percent of American families with children include a mom that works.
Flex work options make life easier on both working moms AND dads, since it becomes easier to share responsibilities such as managing a sick child who needs to stay home, or taking a child to an orthodontist appointment in the middle of the work day.
If you are still struggling to find a balance and would benefit from a flexible schedule that allows you to better manage both work and family responsibilities, here are a few things you can do to make your workplace "cooler."
1. If you have one, enlist the help of the Human Resources department. HR staffers are in the business of making sure employees are happy and engaged in their work. If they believe that flexible work schedules make good employees more committed to their jobs, they are more likely to help develop strategies for approaching your own management team with flexible work options.
2. Put together a detailed proposal for the flex option(s) you are considering, i.e. part-time, telecommute, job-share, or flexible start and end times. Ask yourself all the questions your employer is likely to ask you. For instance, how will you continue to support business goals if you are working from home two days a week? Do you have the software required to be a home-based employee? Can your employer contact you on your days off?
3. Recruit fellow employees who are also interested in flexible schedules and approach your employer as a team.
4. Make sure you are doing good work so that your employer is more likely to approve a flexible schedule.
5. Develop good communication with co-workers so they are more likely to support your proposed schedule. If approved, include your new schedule in your e-mail signature and voicemail message.
6. If you already have flexible work schedule, consider this a real benefit. Continue to demonstrate your commitment with loyalty and smart work.
7. Finally, make it work. Once others see that flexible schedules can be successful, the culture continues to evolve in support of working moms and dads, and anyone who has an interest in balancing their commitment to their employer with interests outside of work. In the spirit of the holiday season, that includes just about everyone!
For more on workplace flexibility:
For tips on working from home:
To read the Crain's Detroit Business article: