Are you a baby boomer, looking at work responsibilities in relation to retirement? Are you a new graduate interested in a career that allows balance in your life? Are you an employer wanting to achieve a stronger bottom line while retaining the best employees?

More workers are making choices that contribute to greater professional and personal success. On the flip side, businesses are examining innovative ways to increase production and satisfy employees.

Flextime as a benefit has been growing in popularity within companies for more than 20 years. Having the freedom to schedule work around personal matters is considered a win-win situation by both employees and employers. New workers and seasoned professionals alike expect organizations to provide flextime options, and the most successful companies view it as a primary criterion for worker satisfaction. When the job offer is extended and the benefits package is presented, having flextime as an option can be the factor that seals the deal.

Telecommuting also is increasing in acceptance as traditional hierarchical corporate structures evolve into forms that are more organic. Some jobs are more conducive than others to independent work away from the traditional office setting, but workers in a growing number of fields find that they can produce better results if they work from home one to three days a week. High gas prices make this an even greater benefit.

To approach your employer about a flextime or telecommuting option, consider these steps:

Assess your organization’s flex culture

  • Talk with people in human resources
  • Consider upper management’s commitment to flex options
  • See if there are policies/procedures in place and a history regarding flextime and telecommuting

Identify work elements that cannot be changed

  • Clarify that these elements will remain unchanged

Determine where and when

  • What types of flexible work arrangement(s) are you interested in proposing?
  • How long do you plan to work this arrangement? Will it be short-term or a permanent adjustment?
  • What hours and days are you proposing to work away from the office and from what location?

List responsibilities that can be accomplished away from the office

  • Prime candidates are tasks that require uninterrupted time for accuracy or completion
  • Focus on ways to sustain or enhance the organization’s business objectives

List what equipment or services you will need to work from home

  • The fewer on this list, the better
  • Determine how you will deal with technical problems

Specify how you would handle emergencies and important in-house or client meetings

  • What backup plans do you have for child care or other outside responsibilities?
  • Can you be flexible about when you work away from the office?

Determine how your work away from the office will be recorded and evaluated

  • How often will you meet with your supervisor to discuss your performance?