December 16, 2003
Trying a Different Alternative Work Schedule
For the past 2.5 years I've been working an alternative schedule. It was part of the agreement with HR when I came to Tufts that I would work three long days in the office and be at home Wed and Fri, working a few hours, available for conference calls etc. It was important to establish a formal arrangement (as opposed to general flexibility).
1) I like to be with our two kids and want to be responsible for a chunk of their week (1 and 3 yrs)
2) Heidi wants to keep her career going (even if only part-time)
It worked pretty well. Everyone at the office got used to Wednesday and Friday being days to get things done as there were rarely meetings etc. I liked having days at home.
There were some drawbacks though:
1) It's hard to keep momentum going on a project if you don't have a good series of days to work on it. By Monday morning it was hard to get back into what I was working on Thursday (sometimes remember).
2) The days at home became more stressful than the days at work. Particularly when there was a pressing issue and I was trying to code/sysadmin while kids needed me.
3) Heidi got a promotion, becoming a decision-maker which put pressure to be in each day.
4) Being with the kids one day, and then not seeing them for two didn't really do a ton for our relationship.
We've decided to try a new approach. It took a bit of exploring to figure out what might be a better arrangement. In essense I'm now working the "late shift". Heidi gets up early and heads off to work. I get to hang with the kids, have breakfast, get some light administrative work done from the breakfast table. At 10:30 we go down to the train and I swap with Heidi, who's been in the office for 3+ hours. I'm in the office by ~11am and work until ~6pm (Tufts has a 35-hour work week).
The nice thing about this arrangement is that getting to work 11 isn't unusual for some of the team members, so I should be in the office before things really get going.
This is the first week of the arrangement, so am just starting to see if the theories work in practice.
Posted by mike at December 16, 2003 4:22 PM