Looking for ways to make your work situation more flexible? Kathy Kane, Freehold, NJ-based president of K2 Work/Life Solutions suggests these four steps:
Evaluate yourself. Examine your work style, your motivation for working, your personal and financial needs and how they fit with your childcare or family situation, and what you're capable of doing. Ask yourself questions like: Can I live without the social interaction of an office? Do I need the presence of others to motivate me to get work done?
Evaluate your job. What are the components? What do you contribute to the company? How do you get your work done? How can you do it in new ways?
Come up with options. Can you telecommute? Can you work part time? Can you implement a compressed schedule? Be creative -- combine a few options. Maybe you'd work part time but telecommute for one day, or maybe you'd work a compressed schedule but during different hours. Find solutions that meet both your and your employer's needs -- and come up with a few alternatives to increase your chances of getting what you want.
Create a proposal. Whether or not your company has a formal proposal policy in place, when you speak with your boss, make it clear that you take full responsibility for yourself and that getting your job done is your top priority. It's also critical to remember that you're suggesting a business deal -- not asking for a favor. "People who asked for flexibility at work used to go crawling in on their knees," says Kane. "But you should not think of this as asking for something extra. Technology makes flex time possible. It's just the way life is now."