It’s May. How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Still trying to keep up your exercise routine? Striving for more flexibility or a better work-life balance? Even if motivation is what is standing in your way, I bet you can list at least 5-10 resources for working toward your exercise goal. But where will you turn for guidance on how to find a better work-life fit? Today’s employees overwhelmingly want flexibility, yet there is a scarcity of resources and collective knowledge about how to attain it.
The advantages of flexible work are plentiful regardless of life circumstances, but particularly suit parents of young children or those caring for aging or ill family members. Pursuing flexibility can be an intimidating and isolating experience; but there are more resources today than ever before, and the movement is growing at a rapid pace. If you are wishing for a more flexible arrangement and don’t know how to get there, here are some places to start.
Familiarize yourself with the options:
Read 1 Million for Work Flexibility’s “6 Different Ways to Flex”
Learn how to negotiate for flexibility:
Read Maria Shriver’s NBC News feature, How to Negotiate Workplace Flexibility
Review 1 Million for Work Flexibility’s How to Guide: How to Ask for Flexibility
Read Fairygodboss’ 7-Step Guide for Negotiating for a Flexible Work Schedule
Look for flexible jobs:
These websites promote flexible work, especially for mothers:
Fairygodboss, an online community striving to improve the workplace for all women by creating transparency about company policies and culture, recently launched a work-life balance guide to help job seekers get the inside scoop on companies’ flexibility policies. The site also includes links to research and company reviews submitted by employees.
The Mom Project: A digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women with world-class companies for rewarding career opportunities.
Apresgroup.com: Offers content for women returning or transitioning within the workforce, tools to successfully navigate transitions, career coaches and a diverse job market of full-time, part-time and project-based positions.
FlexJobs.com: Extensive content and a robust flexible job search site
Corpsteam.com: Recruitment platform with job listings by companies that understand the importance of work-life satisfaction
Delegate Solutions: Provides strategic support services to busy entrepreneurs and executives by delegating project-based work to a staff of employees who work remotely with flexible schedules.
Werk: An online talent exchange that pairs skilled women with career-building flexible work opportunities from top companies.
Hiremymom.com: Connecting talented at-home professionals in virtually every career field with businesses & entrepreneurs looking to outsource
The Second Shift: Matches people with companies who have flexible, project-based assignments.
Maybrooks: A career resource for moms, featuring flexible postings
Flex Professionals: Resources and job listings for meaningful, part-time jobs in Washington DC, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Boston
Bidvine: Similar to the U.S. based TaskRabbit but based in the U.K., Bidvine allows you to work in the capacity you want (perhaps that's event photography, or on-demand business services)
Find resources to help you re-launch after a career break:
iRelaunch offers conferences, boot camps, networking, webinars, success stories, job links and other resources for people looking to return from a career break.
Connect Work Thrive hosts conferences for those in career transition and offers one on one career coaching, image consulting, online webinars, regular networking opportunities, job links, and daily curated content to keep abreast of career trends.
Path Forward empowers women and men to restart their careers after time off for caregiving by offering “returnships.”
Reach Hire enables accomplished women to successfully re-enter the workforce by offering professional skills refresh training, coaching and peer support, with placement in paid project assignments at leading companies.
Mothercoders is a non-profit that helps moms on-ramp to careers in technology, offering networking, a tech orientation program, and on-site childcare for moms
Talent Reconnect connects business school alumni who are looking to return to work with progressive companies offering returnships in the San Francisco Bay Area
Maven: Global marketplace for “microconsulting” – matching people for small projects based on their expertise.
Become an entrepreneur:
The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources for mom entrepreneurs around the globe.
Nextspace provides workspace for parents combined with a carespace for children
Young Women Social Entrepreneurs is a values-based learning community to support the next generation of women change-makers
Women Startup Lab – Learning labs, community events and networking for start up founders
Explore job sharing:
The Flex Frontier’s “Job Sharing” section explains how job sharing works.
Link In with Work Muse to learn more about job sharing and how it works from job share teams and their managers at the Work Muse Job Share Case Study Project. Work Muse can help prepare professionals to job share with the right partner and establish best practices and policies that protect the share arrangement, including benefits and salary.
Find tools to help you manage it all:
Tap into the “sharing economy” to find a variety of services that can help you manage the daily responsibilities of working and caring for family:
Caregiver Action Network: a caregiver community and resource providing family caregivers with practical help, support and information to reduce their day-to-day stress.
The Family Caregiver Alliance supports and sustains the important work of families nationwide caring for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.
Care.com: Find senior caregivers, pet care, special needs care, child care, etc.
Work It Mom: An online community and resource for working moms to connect, share ideas, suggestions, and advice about juggling work and family and find resources for living on a budget to making quick family dinners.
Thumbtack.com: For finding and hiring local professionals to get jobs done
TaskRabbit.com: Connects you with others in your neighborhood to get tasks done
Sous Kitchen: Delivers ready-to-cook meals
Blue Apron: Delivers all the ingredients that you need to make a delicious meal in exactly the right proportions.
Munchery: Delivers fully cooked meals served in oven and microwave-safe containers for easy heating.
The stigma around flexible work arrangements continues to be pervasive and prevents many of us from advocating for what we need or even taking advantage of some of the beneficial policies our employers offer. There is an increasing demand for support, strategies and services (for both employees and employers) that can increase the flexibility of work. So take advantage of the list above and go fulfill your work-life resolutions!
Vicki Harrison is the mother of two young daughters and the creator of The Flex Frontier, a website/blog promoting work flexibility and strategies for a better blend of work-life-family. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and returned to the paid workforce full-time after five years as a stay-at-home mom.
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