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Tips for Moms Negotiating Work Schedules

There’s no doubt about it: happier employees produce higher-quality work. That’s why so many companies are willing to negotiate schedules with moms returning to work. But even if your employer is open to the idea of flexible scheduling, it takes time, patience, and open lines of communication with your employer to find the schedule that works best for everyone involved.

Why negotiating your work schedule is a good idea

According to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, forty-four percent of working moms would take a pay cut if it meant they had more time to spend with their kids. Thirty-two percent of working moms spend less than three hours per day with their kids, and a quarter of them reported missing at least three significant events in their child’s life in the past year. Is it any wonder that almost half of all working mothers would leave their job if their spouse or significant other made enough to money to allow them to do so?

Points to ponder for moms returning to work

Before you make that leap back into the workforce, consider what your ideal situation would be, then look at the reality of what is available in the job market. Can you negotiate flexible hours in your potential job and find a happy medium? Here are a few tips:

  • Look at the atmosphere of the company. If flexible work schedules are the norm, you can breathe a sigh of relief. If not, you will have to present your employer with a very clear plan that assures them the work will get done, even if you don’t adhere to the traditional schedule.
  • Consider a wide variety of options. Flexible schedules can mean telecommuting, working a compressed week (ten hours per day for four days instead of the traditional eight hours per day for five days), or simply reducing your hours. If your employer is open to the idea, ask them to help you brainstorm unique ideas that could benefit everyone.
  • Prove yourself. Show your boss that you can work with little or no supervision, that you are a self-starter, and that you can be trusted to do your job to the best of your ability, even when you are understandably distracted by a sick child or other issue at home. Building trust and a sterling record can be a good bargaining chip for negotiation.
  • Write a clear proposal. Make it clear, in writing, why a flexible schedule is good for everyone involved. Point out why the situation is a “win” for the company, and always be specific — point out the potential for money saved, explain how your schedule will work, and spell out any concessions concerning benefits if you feel it might help your cause.
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Is your employer still on the fence? Ask for a trial run of your proposal for a flexible schedule. If you can show equal or greater productivity during the trial run, your negotiating power just got a big boost. With time, patience, and plenty of discussion, moms returning to work can negotiate a schedule that makes everyone happy.

 

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