MONEY

How to Unplug From Work

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Reclaim your nights, weekends, and vacations.

Bet you can’t remember the last time you worked a 35-hour week. Thanks to technology, “employees feel the need to do more, work harder, and put in longer hours to stay competitive,” says Texas A&M management professor Wendy Boswell, who studies work/life balance. Smartphone users spend five hours on work email each weekend, reports the Center for Creative Leadership. A poll by the employment website Glassdoor found that 61% of people have worked during a vacation.

Productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour workweek, found Stanford economics professor John Pencavel. So connecting less is good for you and your company—though your boss may need convincing. To unplug without zapping your career, try this two-pronged plan:

Reduce Your Regular Hours

• See where you stand. Is work taking over nights and weekends? Before you speak up, figure out whether you have cause to complain. Putting in extra hours might be a must for your field, level of seniority, or company culture. If not, it’s okay to try to shift your manager’s expectations.

• Share your schedule. Explain your obligations outside of work—you have to pick up kids from school, say, or you take a night class that keeps you off email. Knowing that, your boss will be more inclined to respect your personal time, says San Antonio productivity consultant Helene Segura.

• Speak up. If your boss keeps breaking the boundaries, address the issue head-on. But focus on her needs, not yours, says Segura. For instance, “I’ll do whatever it takes to reach our sales goals, but I’d like to talk about the amount of work coming in after hours.”

Make it clear that you’ll be available in a crisis. But agree on what constitutes an emergency and how you can be reached. Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From the Inside Out, advises having your boss call instead of email so that you’re not at the mercy of your in-box.

Give Yourself a Real Break

• Put everyone on guard. Time away from the office can help you recharge—so long as you plan in advance. That means reviewing what needs to be done before you go, making sure that happens, and reminding your boss and co-workers of your schedule.

• Name your own sub. Having a person cover for you will vastly reduce the number of emails you receive. Get that person onboard by promising to do the same.

• Send the right message. On your email auto-reply, state when you’ll be back and whom to contact until then. Don’t say you’ll “check email periodically,” says executive coach Libby Gill, or people might count on you to respond. Then put down the phone, pick up a piña colada, and toast your freedom.

MONEY Workplace

Goldman Sachs Bans Interns from Pulling All-Nighters at the Office

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The investment bank is putting an end to overnight work in an effort to improve interns' well-being.

Goldman Sachs has a message for its most junior employees: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here all night.

The investment bank is demanding its new summer interns be out of the office between midnight and 7am, Reuters reports. The new policy comes as financial industry, notorious for its grueling hours, tries to make banking a less stressful endeavor.

The 2013 death of a Bank of America intern in London, which may have been partially induced by fatigue, raised awareness of the finance world’s difficult working conditions and sparked reform efforts. Following the incident, Bank of America modified its policies to be more work-life friendly, and recommended analysts and associates “take a minimum of four weekend days off per month.”

Goldman, Credit Suisse, Citi Group, and other banks have made similar reforms, telling its junior bankers to take off Saturdays or weekends, and in Goldman’s case, forming a task force for quality of life issues.

Part of this reduction in hours is due to health concerns, but as the New York Times noted last year, it’s also driven by new competition from other industries, particularly technology firms, that offer the chance of riches and a personal life. This has lead more potential bankers to demand a (slightly) more livable schedule.

“My students, men and women, talk much more openly about an expectation of work-life balance,” Sonia Marciano, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, told the Times. “It’s a shift that seems pretty real and substantial.”

MONEY Workplace

9 Things No One Tells You About Work-Life Balance

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Henn Photography—Getty Images/Cultura RF

You don’t need kids to struggle with balance.

We’ve all heard the phrases “work-life balance” and “having it all” ad nauseam, but what we don’t hear are the unfiltered, unpretty truth from those in the trenches — what trying to create a balanced life actually looks and feels like.

So we asked professional women — CEOs, lawyers, divorced women, single moms, those who are childfree by choice — to share what they were surprised to learn about the notorious pursuit of “having it all.” Here’s what they said.

The Definition of “Balance” Changes

Work-life balance is not a static state that, once achieved, means you can maintain constant equilibrium. It’s always shifting. “What was ‘in balance’ for me 11 years ago before [my daughter’s] birth would throw me out of balance in today’s life,” says Aleasa M. Word, 45, a single mom of two (one of whom has special health needs), corporate employee, and part-time emotional intelligence coach.

“A decade ago, having to juggle two kids only two years apart alone with varying schedules and personal needs would have sent me into stress overload because I lacked the emotional flexibility that often comes with age and life experience,” Word says. “I learned balance is not making all things equal, but instead making them fit into your space in a way where you accept the shifts differently and learn to shift with them.”

Quiana Murray, a business consultant at OhSoBold.com with extensive experience in helping female entrepreneurs, echoes Word’s sentiment. “Everything does not have the same level of importance every day,” she explains. “Maybe today you need to put more time into your career so that tomorrow you can have the resources your family needs to have a better life.” The real key to balance, she says, is trying to determine what (or who) needs to be at the top of your list right now, today, and letting go of any judgment around that.

Work Can Be a “Break” — and Keep You Sane

For many working moms, work isn’t something they have to do, it’s an escape. Alison Podworski, 38, CEO of Alison May Public Relations and mom of three young girls, says that while her job is flexible, working in PR means working weeknights, weekends, and early mornings — but she loves it.

“Sometimes I would rather be at a press conference or in the office than with my kids,” she says. “I am sure some moms would hate me [for saying that] and tell me that I am not a good mother. But I’m putting it out there. It’s not that I don’t love them. I love my children more than anything in this world. But, for me, working is a break. There is no whining, crying, fighting, or drama. If any mother is going to say motherhood is blissful and wonderful all the time, I would like some of your happy pills.”

Empowerment mentor and author Jean Walker, 37, agrees. After her youngest daughter was born in 2005 — she and her husband have six children between them — she realized that she needed to go back to work in order to survive. “If I was home all the time, taking care of the kids, waiting on my husband to get home, I might seriously lose it,” she says. “I like being more than a wife and mother. I like having an ‘undercover superhero’ side to my life. Work allowed me just enough time to be gone, to miss my kids, and then pick up with all the family things in the evening.”

Put Yourself First

The idea of putting on your own oxygen mask first very much applies to finding balance, says Vicki Salemi, careers expert for Monster.com and one of the top career bloggers in the country, according to BlogHer.

“Women who seemed to achieve that golden work-life balance — or at least the vision of it — seemed to be ones who were less harried and had more of a sense of calmness because they focused on the foundation: themselves,” she explains. “They implemented self-care rituals like morning yoga classes. They were women on a mission, women with a plan, and that plan involved cutting themselves slack. This inner sense of peace and focus was able to carry through.”

Rebecca Rachmany, 47, is one of those women. As the CEO of girls’ entertainment startup Gangly Sister, an active mentor, and the mother of two teens, she’s constantly on the go — but that doesn’t stop her from exercising and devoting time to spirituality. “Sometimes women will ask me how I find time for meditation or the gym, and the answer is I don’t,” she says. “I am committed to my health first. I ‘find time’ for everything else. When I first had a baby, I put my emotional and physical needs to the side and I was miserable. As I got back to taking care of myself, my satisfaction increased.”

But You’re Always Aware of What You’re Not Doing

It’s no secret that there often is an undercurrent of guilt for women who have children and careers. Emma Davidson, 32, founder of Gecko Clothing and mother of three, says that while she thrives on the busy nature of her life, she’s always aware of what she’s missing out on. “Even when you are spending quality time with your children you are always conscious of the things you are not doing,” she explains. “When you are playing with the kids, you are not just ‘not’ working — you are not exercising, not doing the food shopping, you are not answering to problems [that] friends or family are having, not organizing some me time, not cleaning or cooking.”

Professional development coach Dr. Lesly Devereaux, 56, author of Breaking Codependency, taught her sons how to cook starting at age 10 because she realized there were days when she might not make it home in time to prepare dinner. The upside? “As the older boys matured and left home, they were self-sufficient,” she says.

Not being able to do it all can also be ego deflating, says Karen Satchell, 35, an officer at online payroll and HR services company Payce, Inc. and mother of a one-year-old. “Balance means fighting the shame and hiring a cleaning service once in a while because I don’t have the time or energy to clean my own house,” she says.

There’s Always a Cost

Yes, it takes a village to “have it all,” and the effect it has on those around you can’t be underestimated or underappreciated.

“Work-life balance requires a team of support at home and at work, but I think we have to be real about the fact that there is a price — and those who help out at home get very little of the same credit or respect that I got during my career,” says Lisa Stansbury, 57, who recently decided to work from home after 20 years of working in corporate health care administration, media, and marketing.

“My husband worked from home while my daughter was small and put his career on the back burner. After he passed away, when my daughter was 11, she paid the price by going home from school every day to an empty house until I got a nanny from the local university,” Stansbury says. “I’m more grateful now for the people in my life who allowed me to continue to work, and more aware of what it cost those around me.”

You Don’t Need Kids to Struggle With Balance

Working moms are usually the focus when we talk about work-life balance, but not surprisingly, single women and those without children also struggle to find balance. Sociologist Amy Blackstone, Ph.D., says that, as a childfree person, one thing she never realized is that most people assume that the “life” part of work-life balance means “children.”

“The idea that the childfree deserve balance just as much as their parent counterparts is overlooked by workplaces, policy makers, and, more generally, by most segments of our society,” she says. “One strategy I’ve used in my own life to combat this challenge is to be very deliberate about referring to my chosen home conglomeration as my family. For me, family consists of myself and my husband. Our need for time together and to nurture our relationship is just as important as the needs of parents to nurture their relationships with their own spouses and children.”

Those without children may also have additional “life” circumstances needing their attention. “I always thought because I did not have kids I would never have to deal with work-life balance at all,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, 49, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls. “But the truth is, you still have the aging parents issue and chances are, like for my husband and me, you’ll take on the majority of that if your siblings did have kids. Also, in my case at least, I took on more responsibility at work and in the community, which leaves me less free time.”

There’s Still a Nagging Desire for Perfection

“I secretly wish that I will be the one mom who can effortlessly balance it all even though I know [that] doesn’t exist,” says Amy Shah, MD, 37, who runs her own practice, has two kids, and operates a wellness business on the side. “We have pressure on us to do it all, and do it well,and look good while you do it. We may reject that publicly but we still operate under that framework,” she says.

Trying to shed these expectations is something Natasha Coleman, 36, full-time working mother of three kids (an 18-year-old son with autism and 11-year-old twins) and caretaker for her mother-in-law, believes is critical to overall well-being. “My biggest lesson learned is releasing yourself from wanting to be perfect,” she says. “In juggling all my roles I have learned that every day you have to fail somewhere. Just try not to make it the same place every time.”

It’s crucial to understand your own goals and resist playing the comparison game. “It’s critical to define success and balance for yourself,” says Sally Anne Giedrys of Whole Life Strategies Coaching. “The answers are different for each of us, in each season of life. We feel balanced when we know what we truly want in our lives, our days, our work, and choose to commit to those things.”

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Divorce lawyer Regina A. DeMeo, 42, has juggled being a single mom to her son while running her own law firm for the last 10 years by learning to embrace the power of the word “no.” “No, I cannot stay late for a client. No, I cannot go to every school function. No, I cannot take on another volunteer position. I had to stop being a people pleaser — it was the only way to survive,” she says.

As Vannessa Wade, 34, president of Connect the Dots PR and caretaker to her nieces and nephews, explains, “I bought into the myth that as a business owner I have to be on-call 24/7, when in reality I can set the standard on what works best for me and my situation.”

For her, boundaries include having cutoff times for when clients can contact her, plus time dedicated to exercise, friends, mentees, and family, and being selective about which events she attends. “I know I can’t do it all, but I can do what I can do and do it well without guilt and unnecessary stress,” she says. “I’ve become more vocal about what works for me rather than always appeasing the masses, and you know what? It works.”

Read next: Millennials Want Work-Life Balance Too. Here’s How They Can Get It

More From Daily Worth:

TIME Culture

The Art and Science of Doing Nothing

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Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

Also known as 'leisure'

Leisure or as some call it, the art and science of doing nothing. It’s something we all want yet rarely have.

Our modern workplace culture prides itself on filling every one of our minutes, even if it’s all for show. Yet leisure is necessary for insight, which is a key component in today’s knowledge economy.

Far from being the result of productive labour, for the knowledge worker, leisure is a necessary part of the labour. While it may seem non-productive, that is only looking at it from one angle.

In this excerpt, from The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen defines leisure as the “nonproductive consumption of time.”

The term leisure, as I use it, does not connote indolence or quiescence. What it connotes is nonproductive consumption of time. Time is consumed nonproductively (1) from a sense of the unworthiness of productive work, and (2) as an evidence of pecuniary ability to afford a life of idleness. But the whole of the life of the gentleman of leisure is not spent before the eyes of the spectators who are to be impressed with that spectacle of honorific leisure which in the ideal scheme makes up his life. For some part of the time his life is perforce withdrawn from the public eye, and of this portion which is spent in private the gentleman of leisure should, for the sake of his good name, be able to give a convincing account. He should find some means of putting in evidence the leisure that is not spent in the sight of the spectators. This can be done only indirectly, through the exhibition of some tangible, lasting results of the leisure so spent—in a manner analogous to the familiar exhibition of tangible, lasting products of the labor performed for the gentleman of leisure by handicraftsmen and servants in his employ.

The lasting evidence of productive labor is its material product—commonly some article of consumption. In the case of exploit it is similarly possible and usual to procure some tangible result that may serve for exhibition in the way of trophy or booty. At a later phase of the development it is customary to assume some badge or insignia of honor that will serve as a conventionally accepted mark of exploit, and which at the same time indicates the quantity or degree of exploit of which it is the symbol. As the population increases in density and as human relations grow more complex and numerous, all the details of life undergo a process of elaboration and selection; and in this process of elaboration the use of trophies develops into a system of rank, titles, degrees, and insignia, typical examples of which are heraldic devices, medals, and honorary decorations.

As seen from the economic point of view, leisure, considered as an employment, is closely allied in kind with the life of exploit, and the achievements which characterize a life of leisure, and which remain as its decorous criteria, have much in common with the trophies of exploit. But leisure in the narrower sense, as distinct from exploit and from any ostensibly productive employment of effort on objects which are of no intrinsic use, does not commonly leave a material product. The criteria of a past performance of leisure therefore commonly take the form of “immaterial” goods. Such immaterial evidences of past leisure are quasi-scholarly or quasi-artistic accomplishments and a knowledge of processes and incidents which do not conduce directly to the furtherance of human life. So, for instance, in our time there is the knowledge of the dead languages and the occult sciences, of correct spelling, of syntax and prosody, of the various forms of domestic music and other household arts, of the latest proprieties of dress, furniture, and equipage, of games, sports, and fancy bred animals such as dogs and racehorses. In all these branches of knowledge the initial motive from which their acquisition proceeded at the outset, and through which they first came into vogue, may have been something quite different from the wish to show that one’s time had not been spent in industrial employment, but unless these accomplishments had approved themselves as serviceable evidence of an un productive expenditure of time, they would not have survived and held their place as conventional accomplishments of the leisure class.

(h/t Lampham’s Quarterly)

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Careers

Is Work-Life Balance Even Possible?

We asked people on the streets of New York City how they manage to keep their home lives and work lives separate, if at all.

Balancing your time and energy between work and home is difficult; you’ve got that report due on Wednesday and your kids need help with their homework. We went to Times Square to ask people how they prioritize between their careers and their family. Some people said they clock out right at 5p.m. every day while some said they take work home with them every night. How do you manage your work-life balance?

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Best Jobs You Can Do In Your Pajamas

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Here's what kinds of jobs offer this perk

Whenever the topic of flexible work arrangements or work-life balance comes up, telecommuting is one of the first ideas that comes up. Fortunately for dedicated employees who just want a job where the commute doesn’t drive them to distraction, more companies today are coming around to the idea that telecommuting is a good option to offer, according to FlexJobs.com, a job search site that focuses on flexible positions, including ones that permit telecommuting.

And it’s not just worker bees who can reap the benefits. FlexJobs found that there are executive-level options for department heads, vice presidents and even C-level bosses who are sick of battling rush-hour traffic and compiled a list of 15 of the best. Not surprisingly, jobs in consulting and technology — where much of the work is conducted remotely anyway — turn up, but there are also jobs in healthcare, education and even the nonprofit sector that extend telecommuting benefits. Positions in sales, finance or HR also can provide opportunity for telecommuting.

“I think something that will surprise job candidates looking for executive-level telecommuting jobs is the number of large and well-known employers offering them,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. “Companies of all sizes hire for telecommuting jobs even at the highest levels of leadership,” she says.

For instance, there’s an academic employer looking for a director of research is happy to have a full-time telecommuter step into the role, and a big national firm is looking to fill a senior vice president of managed travel position that will require logging plenty of frequent-flier miles but can otherwise be performed from home.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that only low-level positions are eligible for telecommuting. “A typical telecommuter is 49 years old, college educated, and in a management or professional role,” FlexJobs says. One vice president of consulting gig wants candidates with 15 years experience — at minimum. A VP-level sales job requires 10 years of management experience, plus another decade focusing specifically on project management. And even though working from home means saving on gas, parking and/or public transportation tickets, these jobs don’t pay peanuts. FlexJobs says three-quarters of people who work from home pull down $65,000 a year or more.

Not only does letting people work from home let companies extend their talent search beyond driving distance of the office, but there’s a growing pile of research that suggests people are both happier and more productive when they have the option to lead conference calls in a bathrobe at least part of the time.

But if you think there might be perks to working in your PJs, you might need to make your case during an interview, Fell says. If a job ad says telecommuting is limited or available on a case-by-case basis, “The job candidate should prepare him or herself to make a case as to why they’re both an excellent fit for the job, and an excellent fit for telecommuting as well,” Fell says. And if you score a job where you’re trading in your briefcase for bunny slippers, the lack of face-to-face interaction also puts the onus on you to be proactive and straightforward in their communication style, she adds. “Job candidates who are interested in working remotely need to hone their communication skills [and] their ability to set goals for themselves and their teams.”

MONEY Workplace

These 5 Myths Keep Women From Starting Small Businesses

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Never sabotage your own success.

Deborah Sweeney owns a small business that helps launch other small businesses. She’s noticed an interesting trend in the last five years: Her clientele has changed from 10% women to 25%.

It would be more, says Sweeney, whose MyCorporation.com helps entrepreneurs deal with paperwork and legal hurdles, except for what she says are misconceptions that keep women out of the small-business world.

Women playing a bigger role in small businesses is no longer big news, of course. In 2014, there were roughly 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 8 million workers and recording nearly $1.4 trillion in sales that year, according to data from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

But Sweeney thinks more women would give entrepreneurship a shot if not for these five major myths:

1. It’s impossible for a woman to succeed as an entrepreneur.

When she tells people that she runs her own small business, Sweeney says, they assume she’s talking about something, well, small. They don’t imagine her being at the helm of a company that posts nearly $9 million in annual revenue.

“Oh, are you doing that out of your garage?” is a common question she’s asked, she says.

Some people just assume that when you’re a female small-business owner, you’re “making beaded necklaces or making nursing products for children,” she tells NerdWallet.

In Sweeney’s case, the false assumptions can be comically sexist.

Her husband, Tor, is also a small-business owner, and she says it’s not unusual for people to ask “if we work together at my business.”

People “have this mindset that I would not run it alone,” she says, “that I am a business owner, in essence, because I married a man who is a business owner. It’s funny.”

Coincidentally, Tor Sweeney’s company is called Dresses.com. It’s a clothing manufacturer that makes prom dresses and wedding dresses.

And yes, she says, people often also ask if she owns that company, not MyCorporation.com.

2. Women just aren’t as entrepreneurial as men.

“Women have a difficult time conceptualizing for themselves what entrepreneurship is about,” Sweeney says.

That’s because they don’t have enough role models, she says. Sweeney has met young women who say they want to be entrepreneurs but eventually pivot to another career, working for a company.

Sweeney notes that many of the women coming to MyCorporation.com are venturing into entrepreneurship for the first time, whereas many of the men are serial entrepreneurs who have used her company’s services multiple times.

3. Women don’t achieve as much success as entrepreneurs as they do in the corporate world.

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg sparked a national discussion in 2013 on how women can reach their goals in corporate America with the release of her best-selling book, “Lean In.”

“Many women who ‘lean in’ can be successful,” Sweeney says. “That’s what they want. I wanted more. I wanted not to have to hire a nanny to be with my kids. The way I could do that was to run my own business.”

Besides, she says, she simply was not happy in the corporate world. “You can be extremely successful, but I was going crazy,” she says. “You can forge your own path as an entrepreneurial woman,” and “compete on your own playing field.”

“I always say ‘reach up’ instead of ‘lean in,’” she says.

4. Running a small business is more time consuming than working in the corporate world.

Most people assume running your own business means working outrageously long hours. For female entrepreneurs, that has typically meant added pressure, given the traditional, if outdated, roles they’re often expected to play in the home.

But outrageous hours are another misconception, Sweeney says. She quit a corporate job six years ago to become an entrepreneur and says it “actually presents a fabulous opportunity” for achieving a better work-life balance.

For one thing, she stresses, “you’re not mandated by corporate America to work certain hours.”

5. Your children and family will suffer because of your small business.

Her work certainly keeps her busy, and she admits “you never stop thinking about your business when you’re a business owner.”

There are certain things she’s not able to do with and for her two sons. “We don’t do play dates in the afternoon,” she says.

But being a small-business owner has made her a more effective parent, she says.

“Some say, ‘I can never be an entrepreneur as a mom.’ And I say, ‘It has given me flexibility.’ You can find the right balance when you’re the master of your own destiny.”

Yes, her schedule can get hectic. “At 2 p.m., I run and pick my kids up and take them to work with me,” she says.

But that’s been good for her children, she says. When they’re with their friends, she says, “I hear them talk, ‘There’s my mom’s office and she has 30 employees.’”

“There’s something about engaging your family in your career,” Sweeney says. “They see an example of work ethic and believe in it.”

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MONEY work life balance

Millennials Want Work-Life Balance Too. Here’s How They Can Get It

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Don't be afraid to ask.

We all want a life more that’s more balanced between work and fun. But millennials, more than any other age group, are the unhappiest when they don’t get it.

Nearly one-third of millennials say managing their work, family, and personal responsibilities has become more difficult in the past five years. And nearly half—47%—are working more hours, compared with 38% of Generation X and 28% of baby boom workers, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young’s Global Generation Research.

More than other generations, millennials want flexibility in terms of where and how they work and are the most willing to take a pay cut, pass up a promotion, or even relocate to manage work-life demands better, according to the survey.

But employers don’t make it easy. Nearly one in six young workers surveyed by EY say they suffer negative consequences for choosing a flexible schedule.

Why should employers care about millennials want? This group—age 18 to 34—now officially outnumber Generation X as the most populous group in the workforce and are on track to surpass baby boomers soon. As employers try to attract and retain the best and the brightest, knowing what’s important to them is, well, important. Turnover among millennials tends to be higher than other work cohorts, and high turnover is costly to companies.

The E&Y survey further illuminates why this generation is more adamant about wanting flexibility. Millennials are hitting the time of their lives when they marry, buy homes, and have kids at the same time the demands of work are escalating.

“Earlier generations were probably too afraid to ask for flexibility. The mindset was that work comes first,” says Rose Ernst, national director of G10 Associates program, which works with companies to hire and retain college graduates and Generation Y workers. But many millennials grew up with parents who got laid off or whose careers suffered during recessions despite putting in long hours in the office. Meanwhile, technology has evolved so it’s easier to work from anywhere.

The dynamic on the home front has also changed. Millennials are almost twice as likely (78%) to have a spouse or partner working at least full time, compared with 73% of Gen Xers and 47% of baby boomers.

Until more millennials advance in their careers and become managers, the reality is that an older generation of workers still sets the standard for where and how work is done at many organizations. Here’s how to ask your boss for a flexible schedule and make it work without hurting your career.

  • Be up front. If you’re interviewing for a job, don’t wait until late in the game to ask about the possibility of a flexible work schedule, says Ernst. Research the company before you interview to find out what the culture is like in terms of nontraditional work arrangements. Clearly some jobs are going to be more adaptable than others. If you’re a human resources person focused on recruiting and meeting with job candidates, you may be able to do some work from home or after hours. If you’re managing a large team of people who work in one location, it’ll be more difficult to work remotely.
  • Be reasonable about why you’re asking. If you want to leave at 4 p.m. twice a week to take a class relevant to work, or if you need a few weeks off every February for volunteer work in Costa Rica, that’s going to be perceived differently than asking to leave early because you play in a softball league on Thursday nights.
  • Have a plan. If you’re already on staff and want to move to a flexible schedule, such as job sharing or telecommuting, prepare a proposal on how you’ll get your work done.
  • Don’t be a flake. It’s obvious but critical to be reliable. You’re much more vulnerable to being judged as a slacker when people can’t see you working. Always be reachable, deliver work on time or early, and make it a point to check in regularly.
  • Give and take. Volunteer for projects when you can or offer to help out colleagues on deadline, especially if others are making accommodations for your work schedule.

It remains to be seen how quickly work norms are changing. But there is power in numbers. “The millennials are a huge cohort of workers who value flexibility more than previous generations,” Ernst says. “That gives them leverage to change how we work.”

TIME Parenting

All In is Lean In for Dads

Josh Levs' book is a call to arms for working dads

Men should lean in just as much as women—they should just do it in a different direction.

That’s the gist of Josh Levs’ All In, a manifesto of work and life for men that aims to be for working fathers what Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In was to working mothers: a cogent analysis of the systemic problems in work culture that make it so difficult to be a parent. Levs says he consulted with Sandberg while he was writing the book.

Josh Levs is a CNN reporter who made headlines in 2013 when he filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Time Warner because he said their paid leave policy discriminated against biological dads. At the time, Time Warner offered 10 weeks of paid leave to biological mothers, and to parents of both genders who adopted or had a child through surrogacy, but biological fathers only got two weeks. Levs challenged this rule and won, and went on to become an advocate for better workplace policies for dads as well as moms.

Levs’ central argument is that American culture—especially American workplace culture—doesn’t allow parents of either gender to spend enough time with their children. There’s been a lot of discussion about how tricky that problem is for women, but few have dug deep into what it means for men. “There’s this basic mentality about what men and women are that has held back our policies,” he says. “Our structure is based on the assumption the woman will stay home and men will work, so why would you need paid maternity leave? The women will stay home! Why would you need paternity leave? They’ll work!”

Clearly, that assumptions aren’t true anymore, but Levs argues that workplace policies have not kept up with the changing times. “Our policies didn’t grow up, our policies are stuck in the past,” he says.

The book is a “call to action,” Levs says, not only for long-demanded workplace policies like paid maternity leave, but also for widespread paternity leave and greater flexibility for all working parents. He repeatedly notes that the United States is one of the only nations in the world without paid maternity leave, and that many other industrialized nations have paternity leave on top of that.

Changing American workplace policies isn’t just a question of accommodating parents, its a question of looking out for children, Levs argues. He says that paid leave shouldn’t be considered a luxury—he says it’s no different from “absolute basics” like public schools or medical care for kids. “Another absolute basic is making sure what when a child leaves the womb, its parents, or one of its parents at least, hopefully both, have time to stay home and not hand the child over to strangers and rush back to work,” he says.

“That’s not left or right, that’s not a battle over taxes, its just doing what’s right for kids,” he says. “And whats right for a society’s kids is always best for a society.”

Levs isn’t just calling for better workplace policies, he’s also asking men—and women—to re-examine what it means to be a dad. He argues that the antiquated expectations of a worker-bee dad and a stay-at-home mom have left modern fathers feeling shut out at home in the way some mothers feel shut out at work, even as fathers are increasingly aware of the importance of active parenthood. That’s creating an identity crisis for the American dad. “We are carving out a new role for fathers in America,” he says. “That’s a challenge and an opportunity. There are opportunities that men have now that our fathers didn’t have. So that gives us a chance to define a new meaning of manliness.”

“We’re all in this together, pushing forward for a new meaning for fatherhood.”

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