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Your Start-Up Life: How to Get Flexibility at Work?

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Thursdays at the Huffington Post, Rana Florida, CEO of The Creative Class Group, shares her conversations with successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders about how they manage their businesses, their relationships, their careers, and more. She also answers readers' questions about how they can optimize their lives. Send your questions about work, life, or relationships to rana@creativeclass.com

Hi Rana,

I spend an hour and a half commuting to work each way, just stuck in traffic. I have two small children and trying to juggle the increasing demands of work with the kids is impossible with the commute. I've been with the company for five years and I like my job. I've tried to convince my employer to offer flexible hours or let me work from home but he is an old fashioned CEO who doesn't believe his team will actually work if we're not under his watchful eye. If I could free up three hours every day I'd get more work done, spend more time with my kids, and relieve a ton of stress. What supporting information do you have which will help me sway his mind?

Kelley
Los Angeles, CA

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Photo credit: Flickr user songgold

Hi Kelley,

As someone who spent hours stuck in traffic on the Beltway when I lived in D.C., I feel your frustration! The drive brought me to tears on a daily basis, and I too had an old fashioned boss who thought the only way to work was to be chained to a desk in close proximity to the evil boss.

When I became CEO of a company, I vowed I would never do this to our team. Instead of having an office where everyone has to report to their desk at 8 a.m., we've focused on growing a team that has the skills and knowledge to get the job done. It is obvious that not all jobs can be performed remotely for instance, physical labor and service jobs. But our team members are located around the globe, from Australia to Detroit, from D.C. to Boston and they are free to come and go, to work whenever and wherever they want. As long as they are managing their workload and the clients are happy, so are we.

Feel free to let your boss know that a new study released by the Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and American Cancer Society has confirmed what many have long suspected: that lengthy car commutes are terrible for your health.

In a blog post entitled "The World's Worst Commutes," my husband and author Richard Florida noted, "Commuting is among life's least enjoyable activities, according to research by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and others." He goes on to say that it's expensive too. The annual Urban Mobility Report calculates that commuting costs America an estimated $90 billion dollars per year in terms of lost productivity and wasted energy.

If your boss doesn't care about your health or the waste in productivity, perhaps he'll care about the health of the environment. The Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities boasts about the positive impact telecommuting has on both the environment and workers' productivity.

With all this ammunition, I don't see how your boss could refuse to allow you to work from home for a few days a week, at least on a trial basis. Outfit his computer with Skype or Facetime and be prepared to be responsive via email, conference calls, and Go ToMeeting. Perhaps, knowing he can check up on you anytime, he will let you turn it into a permanent arrangement. Failing that, he might be open to shifting your hours slightly. Instead of working 8 to 5, how about 6:30 to 3:30 so you can avoid rush hour? Of course you would have to hold up your end of the bargain too. But once he sees how much more productive you are and how much less stressed out, I think he'll realize that it's a win win arrangement for everyone.