If you're considering a part-time, freelance, or telecommute job, reflect on how it'll affect your relationship. It could have no reflection on your marriage or partnership, or it could affect it greatly—for better or worse.
FlexJobs recently conducted a survey on how people felt a flexible job would affect romance and relationships. Nearly all (95 percent) felt flexibility would have a positive effect on their personal lives. How? Many felt they'd have more time for:
- Date nights
- Taking care of themselves
- Being more attentive to significant other
Half of respondents felt a flexible role would reduce their stress—likely due to eliminating that grueling commute and cutting out the time wasted with office gossip.
Making Room for Change in Your Relationship
If you do take on a flexible work situation, make sure to discuss how it will affect your household and relationship with your partner. If you'll be working from home, make it clear that you have limits on getting housework done during working hours, and that your partner shouldn't expect you to be available to run errands during that time.
If your schedule will affect your family, work together to find a solution so that you can be available for your children as much as possible, and ask the entire family to respect the hours you work. For example, if you're available to pick up the kids after school and take them to soccer, but need to get work done during the dinner hour, ask your partner to help out with feeding the kids. Make sure everyone knows not to disturb you while working. It's tempting with Mom or Dad at home to just pop in with a quick question, but that can derail you from being productive.
Acknowledge if something's not working. Generally as a couple you should try to make things work in a flexible work situation, but if it's causing too much stress for you to continue in this role from home, look at other options. You could work from a coffee shop, use flex work space, or even go back to the office if it keeps the peace at home.
Pitching to Your Partner
If you've got a hard sell to convince your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend on you working flexible hours, focus on the benefits for him or her, as well as for you as a couple. If the job will free you up during the day, you could offer to do the grocery shopping or errand-running during that time. If it opens you up to more time for dates, set a regular time to have dinner together. In general, your partner wants to see more of you, not less, so assure him or her that you value your time together and will make it a priority.
In FlexJobs's survey, 77 percent were more interested in flexible work providing work/life balance—more so than helping them in the romance department, being more available to their children, or improving their health. If this is where your focus is—in finding better balance, express that to your partner so he or she understands where you're coming from. It's hard to turn down a partner that's pleading the case of being happier and finding more time to commit to both work and personal life.
Just keep an eye on your relationship to ensure that your flexible work option isn't doing more harm than good.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.