Flex time: Where to find it, how to get it

August 25th, 2007

I’m writing a series of articles affectionately dubbed “Take This Job and Love It” for the salary site PayScale.com. The first one’s on how to find and negotiate a flexible day job. Here’s an excerpt:

You can’t open the business section these days without seeing a story on companies that let employees work when and where they want. It’s good for morale, great for the bottom line, and with any luck, the wave of the future. All well and good for the country’s millions of flextime and telecommuting workers. But what if you, too, want to be there when your kids get home from school or would love Fridays off to pursue your side business? How do you find the flex-friendly companies, and while we’re at it, how do you convince your current employer to cut you a piece of the flexibility pie?

Targeting flex-friendly employers
It doesn’t matter how open-minded your employer is — your job can’t be done off company premises or outside “normal” business hours, you don’t stand a chance of nabbing a piece of the flexibility pie. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume a little flexibility wouldn’t compromise your getting the job done. So how do you spot a flex-friendly employer?

Read the headlines. Obviously, if a company you have your eye on makes the Working Mother Top 100 annual list, it’s cause to celebrate. Ditto for companies that prominently feature press releases and media coverage singing the praises of their work/life balance programs. “Employers who have something to brag about usually do,” says Pat Katepoo of WorkOptions.com, who’s been consulting hopeful flex workers for 14 years. But don’t stop at corporate propaganda. Pay attention to the local headlines and see what dirt a Google search turns up, too.

Get references. Use your personal network, professional memberships, and social networking sites such as LinkedIn to track down current employees of your target companies and see what information you can glean. Katepoo also suggests contacting your local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and asking what companies in your neck of the woods offer flex packages — and how their employees rate them.

Check the company culture. Once you’re on site for a job interview, play detective. Unless you get a job offer, avoid asking the hiring manager about company hours and the possibility of flex work. Instead, see how many cars remain in the company parking lot after 6 p.m. and how many of your potential co-workers have pictures of their kids on their desks. After the interview, ask to talk to some of your potential colleagues. Sniff out who has a flexible arrangement and how it’s going for them.

You can read the entire article here.

Entry Filed under: Balance,Popular articles,Working moms

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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