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3 Potential Pitfalls of a Flexible Schedule and How to Deal With Them

Topics: Career Advice
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Working a flexible schedule isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. It helps to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

These days workers crave flexibility. This is especially true for millennials. In fact, 77 percent of millennials believe that a flexible schedule would make them more productive. It’s one of the most important factors to these younger workers who now make up a large share of the workforce. Many would even give up some of their pay and slow the pace of promotion in exchange for more flexibility.

However, despite all of the awesome benefits of working a flexible schedule, there are drawbacks that come with this type of arrangement too. Here are a few potential pitfalls of working a flexible schedule as well as some tips for combating their impact:

1. Working all the time

Here’s the thing about being able to work whenever you want – you often end up sort of working all the time. It’s hard to step away from your desk when it’s sitting in your living room with emails and assignments that keep rolling in at all hours. Pretty soon you find you’re working nights as well as weekends. Come to think of it, you haven’t taken a full day off in over three weeks!

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Some workers find that it helps to set a regular schedule and stick to a routine. Whether you opt for that level of rigidity or not, you should at least schedule some time off regularly. Then, be sure to actually stick to it. Deliberate rest is important – it replenishes you and helps you to work smarter not harder. It’s great to find ways to get more done in less time when you work a flexible schedule. Intentionally scheduling some down time is a great place to start.

2. Struggling with motivational issues

On the flip side of the self-scheduling coin, some workers find that it can be awfully hard to feel motivated when you set your own schedule. It can be a challenge to deliver a sustained effort and pace when there isn’t a manager or boss anywhere to be found. You might find it’s hard to put in the hours you’re expected to devote to work. Or, you could find that you aren’t reliably producing the quality of work that you would with more oversight.

If you’re struggling with motivational issues as a result of adjusting to a flexible work arrangement, know that you aren’t alone. It’s fairly common to have to wrestle a bit with this hurdle when adjusting to working a flexible schedule. However, you basically have only two choices here. First, you can work on improving your ability to self-start. Or you can go back to working more closely, and less flexibly, with others. Flexible scheduling simply isn’t for everyone. You’ll either need to find a way to stir up that intrinsic motivation, or you may want to consider heading back to the office.

3. Loneliness and less collaboration

Working all by yourself is one of the best things about working a flexible schedule, but it’s also one of the worst. Many find that it’s boring to be so independent most of the time. You might find that you miss connecting with your team more regularly and meeting face-to-face.

Traditional work arrangements naturally provide tons of opportunities to work with other people. When you work in some other alternative way, that isn’t always the case. But that certainly doesn’t mean that collaboration isn’t possible. All it means is that, like with rest and productivity, you have to be intentional about it.

Traditional work arrangements provide opportunities to work with other people. When you work in an alternative way, that isn’t always the case. That means is that, like with rest and productivity, you have to be intentional about it.Click To Tweet

You’ll need to go out of your way to schedule skype or lunch meetings with colleagues when you’re feeling the need to connect. It’s important that you devote time to this regularly, because connecting with others is important and you want to continue to develop your professional network too. Set a goal around how often you’d like to collaborate with others (maybe once a week or a couple times a month) and then go out of your way to make those connections happen. When you work flexibly, your schedule is in your hands.

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Do you work a flexible schedule? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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