Simara James is a mother of two, mindfulness coach and consultant, author, podcast host and flexible work expert looking to improve the lives of women across the globe by sharing tips to creating more balance and design a live that's full of fulfillment. 

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Different Remote Work Schedule Structures


The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you and your employer agree to structure your remote work schedule. Once you take all of the necessary ingredients (The percentage of your work that can be completed remotely, company policies, state policies, employer and employee preferences) the schedule you determine can be completely customized to maximize the benefits for everyone. Here are some examples of possible arrangements.

Some Days Office, Some Days Home

This is by far my favorite arrangement. It allows for more structure when considering your personal obligations and gives you a full break from the hustle and bustle associated with commuting to the office. My second remote work arrangement allowed me to work from home on Wednesday's and Friday's. I found that having that break from commuting right in the middle of the week helped relieve a great deal of stress. At the time, I worked for a company that had an expectation that exempt employees would work at least a few extra hours per week. At that time my commute was costing me 3 hours per day round trip and the time savings allowed me to contribute more hours to my team and be more available and compete with employees who had shorter commutes.

Half Days or some other percentage

This schedule allows you to negotiate a certain number of hours you work in office per day vs remote hours. The percentage that you propose will become clear once you evaluate your work duties and the amount of interaction you need to have with your team members. One of my remote work schedules allowed me to work 5 hours in the office (including a lunch break) and 4 hours from home each evening. This meant that I could be available (At least before a certain time) for in-person meetings, which were a huge part of my job at that particular company. It also meant that I could save an hour per day on my commute, which was about 25 minutes with no traffic and 1.5 hours during rush hour. I still had the morning rush hour to deal with, but that quick commute in the evenings improved my quality of life dramatically.

This schedule also allowed me to leave in time to pick my daughter up from school on my way home. After several years on this schedule, if a team member preferred to have a meeting with me in person, they understood that it would need to be during certain hours and if I had to attend meetings in the afternoon, I could attend virtually.

Travel Time and Home Time

This schedule involves agreeing to travel (usually extensively) and work the rest of your time from home. This works well for employees who have to spend a lot of time on-site with customers or weeks at a time traveling. One of my clients who was having trouble finding work in his home town, was able to land a job in another state and now has an arrangement for which he travels to his employers home office Monday through Friday and the company flies him home to be with his family on weekends. Once he is acclimated with his position he will transition to full time remote work from home. Because both he and his employer were open to flexible arrangements, they were able to gain talent that they wouldn't have otherwise found and he was able to gain employment (and free trips to California every week) that he would have otherwise missed out on.

Extra Hours to accumulate Off Days

One option that's become quite popular is to set up a schedule that allows you to work extra hours a certain number of days per week to accumulate days where you don't work at all. Many companies have a standard option for a 9/80 schedule which means you work 9 hours per day instead of 8 and every other week you get a day off. Another way to do this is to work those extra hours from home in the evenings to accumulate time off on regularly scheduled days.

100% Telecommute

There is of course the option to work 100% from home. Once you evaluate your job duties you may be able to create a proposal that will make your employer comfortable with a 100% telecommute option with contingency plans for when you are needed in the office. I have personally never had a desire to work completely from home because of the disconnection I feel from my team, but if you work mainly with customers and your role doesn't require a lot of face time with team members, this is a great option.

Considerations

Some things to consider are the importance of staying connected. I like to spend at least part of my time in the office to take advantage of things like coffee room conversations, impromptu happy hours, etc...

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