Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible Work ArrangementsAre you familiar with all the types of flexible work arrangements? Have you thought about asking for one, either because you’re currently pregnant and thinking about your return to work after maternity leave, or because you’ve returned to your regular schedule after having your baby and want to try something different? We’ve put together a quick reference guide to the six common types of flexible work arrangements — and we also have some awesome upcoming posts from one of Kat’s friends who’s had a very successful career mainly with reduced hours / part-time work. (Ladies who have one of the other types of flexible work arrangements, would you consider guest posting or being interviewed? We’d love to hear from everyone!)

(Pictured: Boing!, originally uploaded to Flickr by GollyGforce.)   

The six main types of flexible work arrangements are:

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Open Thread: Work After Maternity Leave

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2017 update: We still stand by the advice below, but you may also want to check out our discussion on what to wear to work after maternity leave!

What are some of your best tips for adjusting upon returning to work after maternity leave? What do you wish you’d known, or what did you come to realize?

For my own $.02: Among my friends, the end of maternity leave has loomed large in all of our lives — but on a kind of sliding scale. Women who had to go back to work at 10 weeks (or even sooner) dreaded it terribly, while women with longer leaves — 6 months or more — typically felt much better about it and almost welcomed the end of their leave. A few bits of advice along those lines:

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Starting a Working Parents’ Group at the Office

working parents groupA few months ago, a friend and I were talking about how her huge company has a pretty strict face time requirement at the office. As a parent she felt it really limited her upward mobility at the company, and she felt somewhat like she didn’t have a voice in the matter. So we began pondering: how do you start a special interest group at your office to give people in a similar situation a voice? Do you think starting such a group puts a target on your back (as in, you want to work on Easy Street, not Real Life)? Do you think it’s better to band together with other working parents — or couch such a group’s interests in terms of “women’s interests” — or a more general work/life committee?

(Some offices even have work/life committees, of course — which sometimes leads to pretty comical comparisons of things like “making it a priority to go to a Katy Perry concert” vs. general parenting, or “Katy Perry concert” vs. labor and delivery. I swear I am not making that up, that was actually a comparison used in a law firm memo.)

Some tips for starting your own affinity group, such as one for working parents:

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Job and Career Changes After Baby: Did You Make Changes? How?

Career Changes After Baby | CorporetteMomsLadies, have you made career changes after having your baby? If so, how did your career, job, and general standard operating procedures change because of family? Did you effectively plan for the change before meeting your son or daughter, or did you change plans midstream? We talked once about planning your career for babies (back when I was pregnant with Jack!) but not really since, and I’m curious for your take.

Kate recently sent me a snapshot of a local article, quoting a pregnant television producer/host:

DeTar hopes to film Fringe Benefits past the second season and expressed interest in moving into other countries and writing a companion book for the show. With a child on the way, she doesn’t expect her aspirations or goals to change.

“I feel so thankful for the timing of all of it… maybe I’m being really naive, but I don’t see anything changing,” she says. “I… have the most supportive husband in the universe, and I don’t think he would let me not continue with the show.”

This is well-timed with other stuff I’ve been seeing recently — there was a recent article in Forbes about how a lot of women become freelancers, contractors, or entrepreneurs when they become mothers. And there was a great discussion (on this site and Corporette) on how to have a baby when both parents are working in BigLaw. SO, ladies, let’s hear it — how, if at all, has your Plan changed since having kids? Were there particular deciding factors (money, time, etc.), or was it a more general sense of “everything is different now“? For those of you who HAVE adhered to your Plan (since I’m assuming, cynically perhaps, that most of us have switched gears a bit) — how much focus did it take? Were there factors that were must-haves (double nannies, SAHD, etc)?

Pictured at top: Whychus Creek, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ian Sane

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Maternity Leave — and Staying Connected to the Office

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2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to stay connected to the office on maternity leave— links have also been updated below.

There was an interesting story over at Above the Law a few weeks ago, where a securities class-action lawyer in New Jersey was seeking unemployment benefits because she had quit her job after being berated by the managing partner. Why the reprimand? With her supervisor’s approval, she had interrupted a coworker’s maternity leave to seek help with a nationwide class action. (The NJ Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal after the lower court had denied her claim to the benefits.)

So, yay to the boss for protecting that mom’s maternity leave. But it’s an interesting topic with a lot of dimensions. How connected SHOULD you be on your maternity leave, and how should you keep in touch with your office? How available should your employer EXPECT you to be? If there’s a mismatch in expectations, what does it mean for your career prospects? This may be a case where understanding and managing expectations is the key. If your boss expects more than you’re willing to give, what are the best ways to scale back those expectations? If you want to work during your leave and be more involved/available than your employer predicts, should YOU reset your expectations?

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Pumping When You’re Traveling for Work

pumping traveling for workI am far from an expert on traveling for work — particularly while pumping. In fact, I’ve done it exactly twice: once with Jack (for a whirlwind trip to Seattle for a speaking engagement) and once with Harry (for a whirlwind trip to Chicago for an alumni conference). And: what a PITA. Both times, the pump took up almost my entire carry-on bag, and both times I was absolutely wracked with fear, as I boarded the plane, that I had forgotten some essential pump part at home. The first time I flew I was determined to save the breast milk I pumped — liquid gold! — and I traveled with a freezer bag, ice packs, and had all of the relevant TSA and airline printouts with me in my carry-ons. The second time I decided to dump it because, eh, the kid is fine with formula. (Both times I had started the weaning process, so we had already replaced a nursing session with a bottle of formula. I’ll admit that for the second time, I dropped from three feeds a day down to two in anticipation of the travel.)

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