There are various reasons why an increasing number of people are considering flexiwork. In my case, I wanted to spend more quality time with my baby.
After my maternity leave had ended, I had gone back to work full-time, but I found that when I got home from work in the evening, my baby was often already asleep. That left me with only weekends to bond with my baby. I was also sad that I would very likely miss the various baby milestones while I was away at work.
So I came up with a win-win proposal: if I worked 3 days a week, my employer would still see me for a majority of the work week (ie. 3 out of 5 days); as for me, I'd get to spend a majority of my calendar week with my baby (ie. 4 out of 7 days). My husband was supportive of this idea. We felt that the benefits of more hands-on parenting would be worth any potential pay cut – we saw it as "paying" a bit more each month for better quality childcare.
The hurdle was to convince my boss that such a part-time arrangement was workable. Since my workplace environment was already quite family-friendly, with many colleagues being parents themselves, my reason for converting to part-time was met with understanding. However, my boss was concerned that if my co-workers needed to go on leave, or were sick, then our (small) department would become understaffed.
After pondering and discussing this with my co-workers, I offered to plan a monthly timetable beforehand, in which at least two people in our department would be in the office to handle urgent matters on any given day. I also offered to remain contactable by phone (and to configure my smartphone to receive office emails) just in case any unexpected emergency arose. I tried to see things from my boss' viewpoint (that any lapse in service to our clients would irreparably damage the company's reputation), and took extra care to reassure her that the department's quality of work would not be compromised. In requesting a conversion to part-time work, I understood that I was seeking a favour from my employer and colleagues, so I went the extra mile to see to the necessary details.
Ultimately, when I look back and see how much improved my family life has become as a result of flexiwork, I feel it is definitely worth all the extra effort.
If you are considering a switch to flexiwork, I encourage you to brainstorm and discuss with everyone involved. Have a positive attitude and stay committed to making the arrangement work. Truly, I believe everyone stands to gain from planning our jobs around our lives – and not the other way round.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia Ng is a part-time executive in a client services firm, and full-time slave to her little prince. Whatever free time she has is spent squeezing the Internet for all its worth: shopping online, staying in touch with friends via Facebook, and looking up the lyrics to "I'm a Little Teapot". Olivia is a guest writer for FlexiWerkz. To contact her, please write to email@example.com.
Do note that though FlexiWerkz encourages Featured Writers to express their ideas, these should not be interpreted as FlexiWerkz's own views.