3 Ways to Get More Flexibility at Work (reposted from Salary.com)

In my first article as a contributing writer to Salary.com, I discuss three common forms of workplace flexibility–compressed work weeks, telecommuting and flextime–as well as how to negotiate for increased flexibility at work. Click here for the full article or click on the screencap below What do you think about these forms of workplace flexibility? … Read more

Friday Humor: What People Think Telecommuters Do…

what people think i do telecommute
What People Think Telecommuters Do

This is my first attempt at a meme–feedback is appreciated. Have a great weekend!

Next week, I’ll run an article about 3 common forms of work flexibility and a Q&A with the author of a great new parenting book.

A Full-Time Telecommuter on Walking the Dog and Other Productivity Killers

How one full-time telecommuting dad avoids the distractions of home to stay productive.

A guest post by John Pearce of 14 Step Commute, which originally ran on his site on January 20th, 2014.

Guest blogger, John Pearce
Guest blogger, John Pearce

Absolutely, hands down, the best part of telecommuting is the freedom. I can come to work in whatever I want, work whenever I want (mostly), play whatever music I want, you get the drift.  However, for many, the freedom can be a killer when it comes to productivity.

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What You Should Know About Telecommuting: Part 1- The Benefits

Telecommuting has received a burst of media attention. It is increasingly clear that telecommuting is more varied, more common and more beneficial than commonly perceived. Here’s what research shows about the benefits of telecommuting for both employers and employees.

what people think i do telecommute

In this series of articles on telework, I will highlight the work of researchers, company best practices, and the experiences of  telecommuting employees. This first article focuses on the benefits of telecommuting as found in two recent reputable studies.

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Why So Many People Support Work Flexibility

Supporters of work flexibility share how it benefits them, their families and their employers.

1MFWF-website-badge

I am proud to be a part of One Million for Work Flexibility. I encourage you to check out their website and join in the movement.

When you sign up to voice your support, you are also asked to write in the reason for your support. Here is a random sampling of responses gathered from respondents to the 1MFWF website, split into a few categories:

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One Million for Work Flexibility

Here’s something we can do to raise our voices together in support of work flexibility!

Welcome Harvard Business Review Readers! Please take a look around this website, including the category links to the right and my writing at HBR and other outlets above. if you like what you see, you can follow this blog via facebook, twitter or email (see links to the right). Thanks for visiting!

As I noted last week, October is National Work and Family Month– an effort to raise awareness of the importance of work-family balance for employees and employers. I am happy to also be a part of a second advocacy push- One Million for Work Flexibility.

1MFWF-website-badge

One Million for Work Flexibility seeks to get, well, one million individuals and companies to voice their support for workplace flexibility. By uniting our voice, we will be better able to successfully advocate for changes to corporate and public policy.

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4 Factors Job Seeking Parents Should Keep in Mind

Job-seeking parents need to consider more than just pay and advancement opportunities when considering career opportunities. Here are 4 less obvious factors to keep in mind.

Help Wanted

When considering a potential job offer, we are often acutely aware of such factors as pay, opportunities for advancement and benefits like health insurance. These are important, but sometimes the less-obvious features of a job/employer can be the difference between a difficult situation and a job situation that suits you and your family.

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Workplace Flexibility and Flexible Careers: Expert Q&A with Jeremy Anderson of Flexjobs.com

Jeremy Anderson works fully from home for FlexJobs.com, a website that matches job seekers looking for telework opportunities with flexible employers. He was nice enough to talk with me about his career, the benefits of working from home, and the state of telework in the US.  

Jeremy Anderson is an expert on telework, and was nice enough to be interviewed for Fathers, Work and Family
Jeremy Anderson is an expert on telework, and was nice enough to be interviewed for Fathers, Work and Family

Can you briefly describe what FlexJobs.com does and how the company operates?

FlexJobs is a professional jobs service to help candidates find the best flexible jobs available, safely and easily. We find flexible jobs (jobs that offer telecommuting, flexible hours, flex schedules, FT, PT, freelance and contract), screen the jobs and companies, and then only post legitimate positions. FlexJobs itself is a purely virtual company. We have staff members from California to Colorado to Florida. We even have one FlexJobs staff member living in Germany!

So, seeing as you have an entirely virtual company with all work-from-homers distributed around the country, how does the company manage and coordinate itself?

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Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, Paternity Leave and a Step Forward

Marissa Mayer announced a progressive paternity leave policy at Yahoo! Especially considering recent Yahoo! decisions, these policies represent an important step forward for working dads everywhere.

Yahoo's paternity leave policy is a step forward (and somewhat makes up for Mayer's earlier telework decision)
Yahoo’s paternity leave policy is a step forward (and somewhat makes up for Mayer’s earlier telework decision)

Fair or not, when Yahoo! hired Marissa Mayer as their CEO, Mayer had to know that her status as a thirty-something first-of-her-generation new mother female CEO would attract a lot of attention, and that many would look past her impressive qualifications (degrees from Stanford, a staggeringly productive career and rise up the ranks at Google), and focus instead on the symbolic nature of her position- especially when it came to work and family considerations.

The early returns on that front, well let’s just say, were not so good.

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One Month Later: The Media’s Response to Yahoo’s Ban on Telework Completely Missed the Point

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to examine the media’s response to Yahoo’s ban on telework. Much analysis, by “journalists” and experts alike, missed the point entirely. I explain where so many went wrong.

Who'da thought she'd be the one setting back the cause of working parents?
Most analysis of yahoo’s ban on telework missed the point. The ban punishes the 98% of Yahoo employees who don’t fully work from home

I promise this is the last I’ll write about this issue unless there’s some new development

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban working from home for all employees was rightfully a hotly debated topic. Considering the steady rise of telework over the past decade, the increased attention to work-family issues, and Mayer’s high visibility as the first female CEO of her generation (who was hired while pregnant and recently build a posh nursery for her baby in her CEO suite), you had all the ingredients for a big story.

It is not surprising that many people had very strong feelings about this ban on telework, both pro (“working from home kills creativity”) and con (“betrayal of the sisterhood!”). I have become inured to “journalists” and advocates being unable to write accurate articles. When there’s a hot button issue, we very often get shouting, cherry-picked facts, provocative headlines and overstated conclusions. These are great for page views, but not for an informed readership.

Now that we’re a few weeks out, the time seems right to examine the media reaction to Yahoo’s ban on telework. (hint: almost everyone missed the point entirely)

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Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer and a Big Step Backwards

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! banned working from home. Why it was the wrong decision, and how it sends a dangerous signal.

Who'da thought she'd be the one setting back the cause of working parents?
Who’da thought she’d be the one setting back the cause of working parents?

(Welcome NPR listeners! If you like the article, please follow the blog via RSS, email, facebook or twitter)

I’ve long believed that businesses would become much more flexible and progressive when it comes to work-family issues when those of my generation rose to positions of leadership.

Current 40-somethings are the first to grow up with dual-career couples for parents, while mostly being in dual-career marriages in their own lives. This generation of leaders is also more diverse and gender-equal than any that came before. This perspective, I’ve always thought, would finally lead to widespread understanding that workplace flexibility is not just a nice thing to do, but is good business- keeping step with our changing world improves a company’s ability to better attract and retain top talent.

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Negotiating for Work Flexibility

Part 4 of a 4 Part Series- Putting it all together

Use my advice, and even the pointy-haired boss may approve your request (bless you, Scott Adams)
Use my advice, and even the pointy-haired boss may approve your request (bless you, Scott Adams)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a series of articles about negotiating with your supervisor for a more flexible work arrangement, in which you can get more control over where and when some of your work is accomplished.

Like any request or negotiation, the key is to see the situation from the other person’s side and then communicate so that you dispel most of their concerns and show them how they benefit from the arrangement (a la Fisher & Ury’s “Getting to Yes” or Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”).

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