Saturday, April 28, 2007


The new slogan for Flexible Workforce Solutions has been unveiled and added to our web page. DON'T MISS: Life was inspired by my three year old son who I leave at daycare while I go to work at a job with traditional hours. Each morning as I say goodbye, I tell him, "I love you and I'll miss you" leaving him with a kiss and hug. Each morning I think, I don't want to miss you.

What things do you miss as a result of your traditional work schedule? Dinner as a family. Time with your spouse. Pets. Exercise. Hobbies. Sleep. While balancing multiple roles in life, it can be difficult to find enough time in the day to do the things that keep us healthy and happy. Doctors for years have advised us to exercise and get adequate sleep. Just a half hour a day of exercise and eight hours of sleep at night can drastically improve one's health. But how many of us get less exercise or sleep than suggested? Hobbies and relationships require a time commitment often precluded by the traditional work schedule. Pets suffer when left at home all day. And families suffer without time spent together.

Stop missing those things in your life that make you a healthier, happier human being. Commit instead to a flexible work schedule and find enough time for the things you love.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Proposing a More Flexible Work Schedule to your Employer

Persuading your boss to allow you to work a more flexible schedule may be just as easy as asking for it; but you have to be convincing and accommodating when you ask. Your manager is most likely to approve your request for a more flexible work schedule if you present a clear, professional, and feasible written proposal.

Providing your boss with all the relevant details will be the first vital step to securing your new schedule. Be clear about what you are hoping to accomplish and what you both have to gain. Give your boss incentive to go along with your proposal by laying out the benefits to the company. Most bosses may need to be reminded of the profitability of flexible work schedules including reduced overhead and increased productivity. Detail what tasks need to be done, who will be responsible for what duties, and how the work will get done. Lay out exactly when and where you will work. Will you be sending completed work across your company network from a home office? Will you be splitting responsibilities with someone in the office? Can you prove to your boss that you have an acceptable work environment at your home office? Have you established deadlines for existing projects to be completed? Do you have a contingency plan for when you are not available?

Delivery of your proposal can be just as important as what is contained within the proposal itself. Do a little research to determine the best time of day to approach your boss to present and discuss your proposal. It is sometimes best to schedule a meeting when both you and your boss are available and prepared for discussion. Additionally, read your employee handbook and find out if there are existing policies that deal with flexible scheduling. You can use the vernacular of the handbook to make your proposal more appealing to your employer. Beyond written policy, find out if there is any precedent set by other employees working flexible schedules. You can then cite the success of existing work arrangements.

Make your pitch in person, delivering a hard copy of your written proposal. It is also a good idea to email your proposal, leaving an e-paper trail of your efforts. You should be willing to compromise in order to make your proposed schedule work best for your employer and you. Before meeting with your boss, consider other scheduling options that would work within your responsibilities without sacrificing too much of the balance you were hoping to achieve.

Do your research. Write your proposal. Breathe. Now..."Ask and it will be given to you."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Working Parent's Reaction to Virginia Tech Shootings

Many of our readers are working parents dealing with the daily stress of managing work and family responsibilities. When we hear about horrific events, such as those that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus on Monday, our daily juggling act begins to seem so futile. We are so lucky for the moments we share with family and the opportunity to provide well for them.

If your job leaves you feeling like there is little time in the day to spend with your children, slow down for an evening and find out how they are reacting to violence in the news. Events like Monday's may leave children feeling insecure about their own safety. Additionally, school aged children may feel concern for their own safety while at school. Click here for advice from the National Association of School Psychologists on how to talk to your school-aged child about violence.

While it may seem nearly impossible to explain to young children that sometimes bad people do bad things for inconceivable reasons, what children need is a rational framework to understand the world's events. Listen to your children's concerns and watch for erratic or depressive behavior. Assure your child that you do everything in your control to ensure their constant safety. And above all, never let yourself be so busy that you miss an opportunity to show your child how much you love them.

Leave a comment below to let me know how you and your children are dealing with the Virginia Tech shootings.

Our prayers go out to all those affected by the events of Monday, April 16th.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Evolution of the Workplace

Fifty years ago, men worked 40 hours a week outside the home while women stayed home to nurture and raise their children. Nine to five meant work started at nine and ended at five, including a lunch break. Meetings occurred during business hours and weekends were left for yard work and games of catch with the family. However, in the modern workplace, nine to five has become eight to five to allow for a one hour unpaid lunch break. Forty hours a week of face time is now expected of employees without regard to their family situation. The idea of a traditional work week has become convoluted by a changing economy and social structure where the qualified workforce is dwindling and dual-income families are the norm...

Read about my experiences juggling family and career objectives at

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Not Enough Time with the Kids?

Do you feel guilty at the end of the day that you don't spend enough time with your children? Read this incredible article about a study done in the UK that estimates working parents spend less than 20 minutes per day giving their children their complete and undivided attention.

19 minutes - how long working parents give their children

I strongly believe that we are all given the same 24 hours in a day, it is therefore our responsibility to prioritize our schedules to allow time for all the things important to us personally. This truth does not necessarily make it easy, however, to accomplish a balanced life. Here are a few easy ways to spend more time with your kids without constantly looking at the clock and your to do list:
  • Eat dinner together: Studies show that families who eat dinner together are healthier and happier, families have closer relationships and share similar values. Take advantage of this time to listen to your child talk about their day and plan activities you will do together in coming days.
  • Enlist their help of your kids (but make it fun): If your to do list is a million items long, take advantage of this time to teach your children a lesson in the responsibilities of running a healthy household and a happy family. Gardening, cooking, and organizing can all be made fun to keep kids involved and entertained while you get a few things done.
  • Include your kids: If you find yourself bringing your work home and rushing off to meetings, try not to cut your kids out. This is another opportunity to teach your children about the responsibilities you take on while balancing multiple roles. Including your children (even just taking several minutes to explain what you are working on) will allow them to understand the many things that are important to you.
  • Get ready for tomorrow, together: Help your kids prepare for tomorrow by putting homework in backpacks by the door, laying out clothes for tomorrow, and packing lunches. This will buy you a few more minutes together and streamline your morning routine.
  • Don't rush them off to bed: Unwind as a family after a long day. Help younger children get ready for bed, read a few stories, then talk quietly with them after they are all tucked in. Share a cup of decaf tea with an older child, stealing another moment to talk about their day.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Family Friendly Companies in Maryland and DC

Each year, Working Mother Magazine publishes a list of the 100 Best Companies for working mothers. Four local companies with incredible family-friendly benefits made this year's list:

Arnold and Porter LLP is a law firm in Washington, DC with 6 women on its board of directors. Flexible schedule options include daily flex time, compressed workweek, or telecommuting with the use of a company supplied blackberry and laptop. Maternity leave is comprised of 12 weeks at 100% pay for primary caregivers and six weeks for secondary care givers.

Covington & Burling LLP is another law firm in Washington, DC whose employees' careers will never suffer for working part-time schedules. In addition to 12 weeks maternity leave, new moms can phase back into their full-time schedule for up to 10 months. Working parents can meet monthly for lunch through the Work-Family Balance Group.

Discovery Communications, Inc., located in Silver Spring, Maryland, has a liberal flex-time policy allowing parents to set their own hours or telecommute. Discovery's offices are kid friendly and offer resources for finding reliable child care. Working aothers can draw support from one another through the in-house networking group Discovery Moms.

Fannie Mae is a mortgage company located in Washington, DC with a family-friendly corporate environment. Part-time employees are eligible for medical benefits after just 20 hours per week. In addition, the on-site daycare is subsidized and provides care for children up to 12 years of age. The company offers paid maternity and paternity leave to new parents. Elder care and adoption resources are also supplied to employees.

Click here to see Working Mother Magazine's entire list of 100 Best Companies.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work

Inevitably, we all spend time away from our families in order to get some work done. Whether you're constantly in search of quiet time to work in a home office or commuting to work each day, it is important to teach our children how to achieve balance in their own lives amongst the various roles that pull us in every direction.

A birthchild of the women's movement, take Our Daughters to Work Day was founded 15 years ago to introduce young women to successful female mentors in the workplace. This celebration has encouraged so many of our daughters to explore the career opportunities now available to all women. In the spirit of leaving no child out, the celebration has evolved to include our sons with a continued emphasis on exploration of career opportunities and "Revolutionizing the Workplace" by finding new ways to create balance among conflicting roles.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day falls this year on April 26th (always the fourth Thursday in April). Children are encouraged to go into our nations workplaces and see just what Mom and Dad, or Aunt, or neighbor, do when they are away from home, what steps they took to achieve their goals in life, and how they handle the challenges of multiple roles.

If you do not have a elementary or middle school aged child, consider offering to take a child you know to work with you and serve as their mentor throughout their years of career exploration. If you have a younger child, consider bringing them into work for a shorter glimpse into your life away from home. Talk to your HR department about participation in this year's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and be sure to participate in this wonderful opportunity to teach a valuable lesson of balance to the next generation.

Visit the Daughters and Sons to Work national web page for information and activities.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Cost of Working 9-5

Maintaining a two-income family may increase you annual income, but getting to work each day for a traditional workweek may be costing you money. Consider your weekly budget for:
  • childcare (daycare, preschool, before and after care, etc.)
  • transportation (gas for commuting to and from work, maintenance on your car, etc.)
  • convenience spending (frozen entrĂ©es or meals from the drive-through, dry cleaning, etc.)
  • self-indulgences (extended vacations or occasional treats...because you work so hard)
The cost of childcare can be remedied by an alternative schedule that works around your children's schedule. Could you work a condensed work week, alternating days with your spouse so that someone is always at home with your kids? Or could you work in your home office before and after school hours?

The cost of transportation can be reduced or eliminated by telecommuting or working a contract position that requires less hours and time between assignments.

The stress of a traditional schedule fosters convenience spending and self-indulgences when we feel like there just are not enough hours in a day to eat breakfast, make lunch, or sit down to a healthy dinner. We begin to feel like we work so hard and see so little of our families, that we deserve a longer vacation, that membership to the family gym, or a few trips to the ice cream parlor.

What a tired workforce needs, is not more hours in the day but a flexible, more family friendly schedule.
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Flexible Workforce Solutions
State College, PA