Article by: Lakshmi Vijaykumar , Senior Research Consultant – AVTAR Group.
The term flexible has been flexed enough in the recent past and in fact, it flexes our mind nerves leaving us in a flux. That sounded a bit weird, right? To make matters simple, today flexible careers are a global phenomenon.
Top leaders at board rooms are realizing the need to tap a talent pool out of the stereotypical corporate spheres and are showing their deep rooted willingness to embrace professionals who are intentional about pursuing their careers. The employment landscape has changed significantly in the last few years and its evolving further.
The term “Flexi-timing” for working professionals has been added to the corporate lexicon. By definition, it means, providing flexible work timing to those intentional about their careers yet cant step into a fixed corporate hours like a 9am -5pm job. It is well established that women professionals in particular jump off the corporate ladder at the altar of motherhood. What we women want is to be there for our children while that doesn’t hamper our monthly financial necessities. Till a few years back, one was either in full time professional career or was a full time “stay-at-home-mom”. Thanks to the changing corporate dynamics and with rapid technological advancements, flexible work arrangements are becoming increasingly popular and companies are addressing the flexibility aspirations of this talent base.
Corporates have set the tone for intentional professionals to set up flexible career options. The time is ripe for you to break the stereotype and explore your identity beyond just a mother/wife/carer, etc. As you embark upon the flexible career path, you must be saddled with millions of questions in your minds. Here are some useful points that will help you dance swiftly on the shifting career carpets.
The Flexible Options
There are several non-traditional, flexible work arrangements that companies provide to their employees. Flextime, Telecommuting, Remote work, Partial work partial pay, compressed work schedule, staggered work hours, job sharing, work from home, shift-swapping are some of the popular options that are in the offing across industry sectors. In the current corporate context, one should carefully pick and choose the industry that will best suit your career aspirations, financial requirements coupled with the priority to be with the growing child.
Benefits of Flexible Careers
There are plenty of advantages of flexible work timings that work well for both employers and employees. As a young mother, you may choose flexi time to avoid long commute to work, and spend that quality time with your child and be more productive in what you do from home. Or, you may even want to pursue your favorite hobby with the extra time that you have with you which you saved on travel and other mundane activities.
Don’t settle for too less
After overcoming the dilemma of restarting a career after a break, women tend to underrate themselves and often they are seen settling down for less. You may have spent decades building your sales career to lead a large team but in a bid re-prioritize work and life around children, chances of you settling down for something like a classroom assistant are high. Facing the double whammy of being a technology whiz at workplace while knowing that the children are missing their mother at home does not come easy for all working mothers. Choose your flexible career that not only gives you the option of micro managing your child’s requirements and classroom diaries but as well fulfills your professional qualifications.
Routine is the key
Treat your day as a work at day. So get dressed if not a work suit, but something formal and plonk yourself at an office desk at a set time in the morning so that your work schedule remains under your control. Do not work from bed. Find a quiet corner in your house or a local café with least distractions and gives you peace while you are at work. Make sure you have all the ingredients to make your day appear work like in place.
Set achievable goals or targets
When you are working flexi or part time you will be measured not for the number of hours that you have put in at work, but the quality and quantity of work which means you need to set realistic work goals. Make sure what is expected of you and deliver the same in the given deadline to you. You will be judged against your contribution and not that the hours that you clock.
Stay in loop
Not being physically present in office premises does not mean that you stay away from the happenings at work. Keep yourself in the loop with peers, colleagues and boss. Make yourself available to your office team at the hours and mark your presence at important events and occasions at work. Schedule regular video calls/chats and be prompt in replying to emails/text messages. If you feel a reply to a particular email or a text message might trigger a misunderstanding, schedule a phone call or a video call to avoid any misjudgment.
Not literally of course. When you choose to work flexible that doesn’t essentially mean that you work only out of home. Keep your mind open to attend meetings/conferences/workshops at timings suitable to colleagues. While it is good to prioritize yourself, but don’t under estimate your colleagues’ time. Do not get inflexible while you work on flexible timing.