Work flexibility helps a variety of people in a variety of ways. While studies show time and time again how having a flexible schedule or working from home makes employees more productive, it greatly helps those who are in a caregiving role, too. Jennifer Parris, career writer for FlexJobs, explains why flexible options help caregivers and how you can find flexible schedule jobs that fit your needs.
At some point in every person’s life, they are a caregiver. It may be a busy working parent trying to juggle a grueling work schedule with their daughter’s equally grueling soccer schedule. Or it could be a newly minted mom who wants to figure out a way to stay home with her baby a little longer but still contribute financially to her family’s budget, too.
Caregiving extends beyond children, though. Many of today’s employees are stuck in the Sandwich Generation, caring for aging parents as well as their own kids. Their parents may have many doctors’ appointments that require them to take off from work to accompany their parents. Disabled relatives needing assistance may also lean on family members who are holding down a 9-5, too.
It can be stressful and almost utterly impossible to juggle your workload when you are in a caregiver role. After all, when you have a traditional office job that requires your presence each and every day, you may find that you have to choose between taking care of your family’s medical needs in favor of supporting your family financially. And if you’ve ever been in that position, you know that it’s not where you want to find yourself.
But when employers offer their staffers work flexibility, the equation changes. No longer do you have to make those tough decisions between caring for family or keeping your job. Here’s why.
You don’t have to take off from work.
Let’s say that your father has a cardiologist appointment right smack dab in the middle of the day. It’s the only opening the doctor has for the next month, so you can’t move the appointment. If you have a flexible schedule, you can shift your workload around for the day without actually having to take the day off—or worse, getting a dock in pay.
You can stay on top of your schedule.
You took a day off from work to nurse your sick baby back to health. But when you got back to work (and the piles of paperwork waiting for you), it was you who started feeling sick. When your employer offers work flexibility, you can stick to your work schedule by working from home. You may not be able to accomplish everything you normally would, but you’ll certainly be able to do more than if you had to take the whole day off.
You can stay on friendly terms with your boss.
While your boss expects that you’re going to take days off now and then, it can get frustrating for him if you call in sick often. To him, that is lost productivity—and a breeding ground for bad feelings to start festering. Working from home allows you to stay on top of your workload, which can relieve any sort of stress or tension that might manifest if you keep using up all of your personal and vacay days.
How to Look for a Flexible Schedule Job
If you’re a caregiver and realize that working a flexible schedule job would be a perfect fit for your situation, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, some career fields more readily offer flexible schedule jobs. The top career fields for these job types include medical & health, sales, customer service, computer & IT, and education & training.
Next, try out these tips when searching for a job that offers a flexible schedule:
- Don’t discount your current employer. Many companies are adopting policies that help caregivers by offering more flexibility in their work schedules. Check with your human resources department to see if this is an option, or ask your manager for a meeting where you can explain your interest in flexible schedules and sell them on how this will make you a more productive, more engaged employee because you’ll have more control over when, where, and how you work.
- Use the right keywords in your search. In addition to flexible schedule, searching for keywords like alternative schedule, flexible hours, results-only work environment (or ROWE), flextime, and scheduling flexibility. Also, look for other types of flexibility like telecommuting options (the ability to work from home) or part-time schedules.
While every employee can benefit from work flexibility, there’s no denying that caregivers can truly enjoy all the advantages that it offers. From being able to earn a complete paycheck to boosting their productivity, having a flexible schedule simply makes sense. Companies that care for their employees’ need for work-life balance will ensure that they have the flex they need to take care of their jobs and their families.
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