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How to Have a Family-Friendly Work Schedule
Are you sick (literally) of the 8-5 crunch? Or maybe it’s the 7-6 with drive time included? Many years ago I worked for a staffing firm in Austin. It was a great company, solid people to work with, but the schedule was killing me. I left home each morning at 7:15am to endure 45 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic to be at the office by 8am sharp. Our day didn’t end until 5:30pm in which I tackled the dreadful drive home for another 45 minutes. I rarely had time to exercise, walk the dog or have a social or dating life. Twelve hours of my day was consumed with work.
I decided “enough is enough”. It was time to re-claim my so-called life so nobody would have to bury me at age 33. I walked into Mike’s office (the owner) and simply said, “Mike, I love your company and the staff. You run a tight ship here. I know I am a hard worker and a valuable employee. But I need to talk to you about something that is important to me. It is important for me to get adequate sleep every night, exercise every day and have time to myself. My 8-5:30 schedule isn’t allowing me to accomplish this. I have a proposal for you: Let me work 9-4 for the same pay. Give me one month to prove that I can be just as productive in a 7 hour day as I am in a 9 ½ hour day. If after a month you do not see positive results from me, then I will go back to my original schedule. Fair?”
Mike didn’t blink an eye. He let me implement my new schedule the very next day.
I cannot tell you how different my life was just being able to get one extra hour of sleep in the morning, and 1 ½ extra hours in the evening. I had much more energy, a better attitude, time to exercise, cook at home and have a life!
If you have children, that extra 7.5 hours per week in the evening you have to spend with your family is priceless.
Why do most people fear having this conversation with their boss? Fear of being fired? Well, if you are going to invest 8-14 hours per day to help a company make money, and if they don’t have enough respect for you to allow you to spend more time with your family or to live a happier life, then that is a big red flag that it is time for you to dust off your resume and find another company to work for anyways.
Step 2: After step 1 (working fewer hours) is successful, ask your boss to start working from home 2-3 days per week. After step 2 is successful, ask to work from home permanently.
Remember, you get nothing in this world if you don’t ask for it. Keep your life and family a priority. Don’t be a slave to your job or office. Work for companies who are supportive of this schedule. I do not know of one person who has ever been on their deathbed and said, “Gosh, I wish I had spent more time at work”.