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By Juliana Aldous | Saturday, August 15, 2015

No More 9 to 5: Making a Flexible Schedule Work For You

flexible schedule

For my first office job I was required to wear a skirt or a dress and panty hose. I also had to get in my car every morning at exactly 7:45 a.m. and fight traffic on a California freeway to make it in time to punch the clock by exactly 8:30 a.m.

I wasn’t allowed to leave the office without a good reason and had to take time off for appointments. After a half-hour lunch and two mandated breaks, I could punch out at 5:00 p.m.

I often think back to that job as a quaint story to tell the kids: “Yes, really! I couldn’t wear open-toed shoes! I had an alarm clock! People took smoking breaks!”

The traditional 9-to-5 workday is an outdated concept these days, according to a new survey by CareerBuilder. The survey of 1,000+ workers in tech, financial services, sales, and professional and business services showed that half of workers check or respond to email outside of work. A fair amount of us are thinking about work before we go to bed and first thing when we get up in the morning.

But most of us see that flexibility as a choice and not an obligation. I’ll gladly check email after hours if it means I can also check a traffic app and then choose to work a couple hours from home in order to bypass that pile-up on the freeway. I’ll gladly send work emails at 7 p.m. if it means I can leave at 2:00 to attend a school event for my child. And I’ll gladly set up that conference call at 6 a.m. from time to time to meet with someone in another country—because 9 to 5 is especially outdated when it comes to working in a global economy.

Here are a few tips to make a flexible schedule work for you:

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