How to Find the Right Alternative Work Schedule for You

A generation ago, work in the US was structured to a 9-to-5 day, 40 hour work week and in an office. Lucky for working parents, who take up the majority of the US Labor force now, and advances in technology alternative work arrangements are becoming more popular. The biggest perk is that this flexibility helps you balance life and home responsibilities.

Each alternative work program comes with pluses and minuses. You'll need to consider your own needs, wants, and your childcare options, and you'll need to find the right fit. 

Working From Home or Telecommuting

Woman Wearing Headset
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When people think of workplace flexibility, they often assume you're talking about telecommuting. That may be because working from home has become one of the most widely adopted alternative work arrangements. It lets individuals skip the daily commute and enjoy focused work time away from the distractions of the office.

On the positive side, you can manage the occasional emergencies, like a sick child or burst pipe. On the downside, some people may believe you run the risk of being passed over for work because you're not visible, or just becoming isolated in your home office. With work from home jobs and virtual teams are growing more popular. So, this isn't always the case. To make an educated decision time to discover whether telecommuting is right for you

Shift Your Work Hours

Flexible Work Hours Could Be What You're Looking For
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A flexible work schedule or flex time could be what you need. Perhaps you come in early, to avoid morning rush hour, and leave soon enough to pick up the kids or attend a school event.

Or maybe you shift your schedule later, to arrive after a rush hour and leave once the evening commute has subsided. Some parents will tag team, with one working an early shift and the other a late one, to minimize childcare costs and maximize the kids' time with a parent.

Whichever alternative schedule you believe would fit your lifestyle check out these tips on how to make your schedule.

Start Working Part-Time Hours

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Do you think part-time hours could solve all your work-life balance problems? Indeed, when your work spills over into your family time, you might imagine that such an agreement with your employer would hold back the tide.

But a part-time schedule only works if your job responsibilities and duties shrink to fit the hours for which you're being paid. Consider the upsides and downsides of part-time work as well. So before you embark on a reduced hour negotiation, make sure you can restructure your position. You don't want to end up being paid for 30 hours a week and working the same old 40 hours

Consider a Compressed Work Week

What Is a Compressed Work Week and Is It Right For You
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Another popular alternate work arrangement is a compressed work week, in which you still put in 80 hours in a two week period, but make each day a bit longer so you can take one day off every week or every other week. Often, government employees have access to this alternative.

The benefit of this schedule is that you get a full day off, or two, to run errands, spend time with family or whatever else you choose. But you don't have to give up part of your salary, the way you do in a reduced hour schedule. The downside, of course, is the long, exhausting days.

Job Sharing

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For the most high-powered jobs, such as law, medicine, and business, the only solution to the work-life conflict is a job share. That's because your work responsibilities simply can't fit into a 35 hour work week; they often don't even fit into a 50 hour work week.

So for these career women (and men), a promising alternative work arrangement is a job share. It can be tricky to line up, but hugely freeing when it works well. You need the right partner, open lines of communication and a willing manager. But the challenge is worth it. Just imagine weekends and evenings free of work, without having to give up the career you love