June 18, 2020

Starting A Job Search When You Want A Flexible Schedule

by Amy Stuntz

USA Today’s October 2019 article More Employers Offer Flexible Hours But Many Grapple With How To Make It Succeed has some interesting statistics on how valuable flexible schedules are to employees.

  • “A spring survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 57% of organizations offer flexible schedules, up from 52% in 2015.”
  • “A separate poll by Flex + Strategy revealed that 98% of companies provide some form of fluctuating hours based on a broad definition that could include letting employees leave occasionally to pick up kids at school or go to the doctor. At the other extreme are businesses that let workers choose their own hours.”

If you’re reading this blog thinking I WANT THAT!! then you’re not alone. The fact is many insurance organizations have great flexible schedule options. Others attempt but fall short in the way plans are structured, rolled out or frankly committed to.

Capstone is here to help. Flexible scheduling is a great reason to start a job search. You can find the perfect position, company and work/life balance.  Here’s how.  

Do Some Research

  1. Start with the company’s website. The Careers page will list information on benefits including flex hours & PTO before you see a list of job openings.
  2. Read reviews. Glassdoor is the perfect way to see public posts from current and former employees about what work/life balance really looks like within the company.
  3. If this is your first foray into a non-traditional schedule, make sure to talk with personal contacts, mentors and trusted friends about their experience working-from-home. Their insight might surprise you, challenge your ideas or reinforce your motivation.

Make Multiple Interview Inquiries

Be upfront with Human Resources. During the hiring process if a flex schedule is a deal breaker for you don’t waste the potential employer’s time by waiting until you have a written offer letter in front of you. Since you might interview with multiple people from a company, direct your questions about flexible hours to the right person. Human Resources is the go-to plan for information on company programs and policies.  

Be inquisitive with the Hiring Manager. Questions about a company’s culture and work environment should be directed to the hiring manager. If you’ve applied to a 100% work @ home position, ask the hiring manager if all his/her staff work on-site, is blended or will be fully remote like you. 

Ask no one but observe everything. Look for clues during an offer tour that displays how the company embraces flexibility. Which do you see more of- laptops & cell phones or desktop computers and landlines? 

You May Need to Negotiate Terms

There is no universal definition to flexible work schedules. You may want 100% work-from-home but end up settling for 3 days at home/2 days in the office. Here are some ideas you can take into a negotiation.  

  • A compressed schedule where you commit to longer hours over a shorter week.
  • Flexible summertime hours or every other Friday off
  • Pay for the cost to set up your own home office. This is especially important if you’re the first ‘pioneer’ of the work @ home movement for this company.
  • Take less in salary for 100% work at home. You can justify this with reduced costs associated with commutes, dress codes, lunches out, etc.

In the end, most companies view flexible work schedules (in all their forms) as a job perk not a mandated benefit like salary or health insurance. You should want as much flexibility as you can get, at your current employer or a new one. You can find out about all the types of ‘perks’ worth fighting for at my partner Scott’s What Can I Negotiate Besides Salary?

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