Alternative work arrangements can help ease the balancing act between your job, family and/or school responsibilities. If you have been wrestling with transportation issues, such as a long commute and the skyrocketing costs of fuel eating at your budget, this arrangement may help alleviate some of the stress. The key to creating the opportunity with your employer involves strategic planning and thoughtful negotiations.

In Pictures: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

Types of Arrangements
First, consider the type of arrangement that's ideal not just for your needs, but also for your employer's productivity goal. The most common types of flexible arrangements are flextime, a compressed work week, job sharing, telecommuting or reduced time.

If you prefer not to change your daily work hours, flextime may be the option for you. This plan gives you the chance to rearrange your schedule in order to avoid problems, such as traffic jams or missing your child's Parent Teacher's Association meeting. You can either come in earlier or stay later. This also allows you to tinker with your lunch hours. For example, you might work 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and cut your lunch hour by 30 minutes. (For more, see Commute Smart: Save Time, Money And The Earth.)

Rather have a longer weekend? A compressed schedule allows you to tack on another day of rest and enjoyment. Most people typically will have a four-day week with 10-hour days.

If your workload is an issue, job sharing allows you to split the responsibilities of a full-time job with another worker. You can fashion it so that the days are divided in half or the week may be split, such as working Monday to Wednesday and having someone else complete the work week.

Drivers with inadequate skills might be encouragement for you to consider telecommuting. This alternative allows you to skip the hustle and bustle of the commute for the ease of walking a couple of feet to your home office either every day or some days.

You could also reduce your time so that you're working less than 40 hours a week, but the challenge is keeping your benefits such as health, vacation, and sick leave intact. (Starting a new job is stressful but you don't need to sweat about setting up a benefits package. Learn more in Employee Benefits: How To Know What To Choose.)

Preparing for the Transition
Before you approach your employer, do the research. Find supporting examples and statistics that show how the arrangement can work. Some benefits you can highlight are:

  • Increased morale, productivity and energy
  • Better employee retention
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • More interest from job candidates
  • Better accessibility for clients and business contacts in different time zones

Identify the areas where the arrangement can pose a problem, such as failure of communication and not being included in the planning of company activities. Prepare solutions to alleviate these concerns.

Job-seekers should identify and investigate companies offering a flexible arrangement and generally wait until they are hired to discuss an understanding. (Learn more in the Top 2010 Job Hunting Tips.)

Approaching the Boss
Once you've done the research, try testing it out. For instance, take a day off and conduct some work responsibilities at home. Keep a log of your progress to show how much you were able to accomplish. This test drive will help support your research when you present your formal proposal to your boss. Discuss having a trail period lasting a few months and make sure to schedule regular reviews to help determine any quirks.

Keep It Flexible
Flexible arrangements alleviate the whirlwind of the occasional stress related to the responsibilities of being a student and/or parent. In order to achieve this arrangement, determine what best fits your schedule, research and practice before you start negotiating with your boss and make sure to check in with your employer to alleviate any possible issues that may arise once you received the go-ahead. (To learn more, check out the Top 4 At-Home Financial Jobs.)

Check out last week's business highlights in Water Cooler Finance: My iPad Beats Your Toyota.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Top Factors Preventing Workers From Being Promoted

    Many employees blame office politics when they fail to get promoted, but they may be sabotaging their own careers with these behaviors.
  2. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Corporate Finance

    Read an in-depth review and comparison of a career in investment banking and a career in corporate finance, with advice about which one to choose.
  3. Personal Finance

    Insider's Guide To The Top U.S. Business Schools

    The best business school for you depends on your skills, career goals and interests. We help future MBA's make a more informed choice.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    START-UP NY: How a Tax-Free Zone Would Work

    START-UP NY is an initiative designed to attract companies to New York State by giving them 10 years of tax breaks. Sounds good, but is it a success?
  5. Personal Finance

    10 Habits of Successful People

    10 of the most-often cited habits of people who have enjoyed success in business and in life.
  6. Economics

    Explaining Silo Mentality

    A silo mentality occurs when certain departments in an organization do not share information or knowledge with other departments.
  7. Savings

    5 Ways To Be Irreplaceable At Work

    Companies most value five certain behaviors, and the employees who exhibit them establish themselves as essential to an organization.
  8. Economics

    What Does a Relationship Manager Do?

    A firm’s relationship manager works to maintain positive relationships with its customers and partner firms.
  9. Personal Finance

    10 Tips for Strategic Networking

    Learn the rules of networking so you can operate like a pro. After all, maintaining a strong network is essential in today's job environment.
  10. Investing

    Measuring Job Satisfaction in the Millennial Age?

    Generation Y embodies the trend towards meshing office life with play, and is creating a new and unique work/life balance.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  2. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  3. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  4. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  5. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
  6. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's costs of production by assessing the input costs of each step ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!