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Juggle work, Personal Life with the Right Employer

Juggle work, Personal Life with the Right Employer

By Katrina Katsarelis, special for USATODAY.com

April 29, 2009

Your presentation for the company bigwigs is tomorrow. It’s also your day to pick up the kids from school. Wouldn’t it be perfect if you could take a break from the office, drop off the carpool and put the finishing touches on your work project from home without a frown from your boss? If you work for a family-friendly employer, you can.

Juggling family and work responsibilities can be taxing. But more companies are implementing work/life programs designed to entice and retain valued employees who struggle with this balance.

Employers offer various options, including flex time, part-time, telecommuting, cafeteria benefits, paid maternity leave, compressed workweeks, childcare, financial assistance and job sharing.

Finding more time for family is the biggest struggle. “The consistent thing people want is control over their time,” says Pat Katepoo, a Honolulu-based work/life advisor who helps clients negotiate work/life balance arrangements.

If you need more time, approach your supervisor or HR department with a well thought-out plan for telecommuting, flexible hours, a four-day workweek or part-time schedule. “It’s so much easier to approach your current employer to restructure your job because they know you, you’ve established your value, and hopefully they don’t want to see you go,” Katepoo says.

Many companies will try to accommodate your needs related to schedule flexibility. But benefits-related policies such as paid maternity leave or childcare financial assistance are usually non-negotiable.


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?