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Local workers and employers find work-life balance in flexible scheduling

The days of the standard job with a 40-hours-per-week schedule from an office are waning. In the U.S., 3.9 million people have a job that allows them to work from home at least half of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics data. That number is rising each year, with telecommuting jobs growing by 115 percent from 2005 to 2015.

From full-time freelancers to people working traditional schedules with some from-home hours, an estimated 2.9 percent of the U.S. workforce has a flexible schedule. The benefits of flexible scheduling are many and range from tangible financial boosts to intangible work-life balance improvements.

Consider this: Full-time telecommuters save an average of $4,000 on commuting costs per year. Part-time telecommuters save an average of $2,677 on commuting costs per year. Remote workers also report loving their jobs 87 percent more than in-office peers.

The benefits for the worker are many — but employers see gains, too. A study commissioned by software company PGi found that businesses could save as much as $10,000 per employee per year when items like real estate, janitorial services, utilities and office supplies are taken into account.

Locally, jobs with flexible options abound, from small businesses to large global organizations.

Bob Duffy is senior vice president of human resources and administration at Harris Corporation, which employs 6,400 people in Florida — 6,000 of which reside in Brevard County. The company leaves flexible scheduling and from-home work determinations up to the individual departments and teams, but encourages a company culture that fosters work-life balance.

“Employees who can successfully maintain a work-life balance that fits their personal lifestyle tend to be more productive, creative, loyal and motivated,” Duffy said. “This ultimately enhances Harris’ ability to innovate and better serve our customers, so it’s a win-win for all.”

Meet some Space Coast residents who share how working flexible schedules has positively impacted their ability to balance their lives.

Anne Mitchell
Industry: Engineering
Lives in Suntree
Works for Harris in Melbourne, FL

“I have been on a reduced work week schedule for about 12 years. As a mom and professional, I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I am not missing out or feeling guilty about not being there for my kids because of work and I continue my working career as a productive employee at my program and company. I work 30 hours per week. When necessary, I have the ability to work from home. I am able to pick up my kids from school, get a head start on homework, and be able to enjoy my family in the late afternoons/evenings. Additionally, I am very fortunate to have great bosses and work on a program that allows me to be able to work from home if the kids are sick or have appointments.”

Shawn Burns
Industry: Contract Manufacturing
Lives in Suntree
Works for company in Baltimore, MD

“Since I don’t have the one-hour commute into the office, I fill up my gas tank once a month versus three times per week. It eliminates the need for ‘work clothes.’ I’m much more productive in my sweats and T-shirts. I find that working in an office is easier for distractions and taking focus off of work. I am able to keep up on household chores. I don’t have to spend my Saturdays doing laundry — now it is quick to throw it in and keep up with it during my workday. I’m also able to enjoy dinner with my family at 6:30 p.m. every night. That almost never happened when I worked in the office.”

Joel Davila
Industry: Information Technology
Lives in Viera
Works for company in Melbourne, FL

“The concept of being tied to a physical office/location is not as important as getting the work accomplished. Although I usually report into the office on most days, having the flexibility of working from home at times allows me to do things like having lunch with my kids at school and attending school functions, especially since the school is within walking distance to our house. The flexibility also allows me to drop my kids off at school in the morning and pick them up if I happen to be working from home that day, or if I must leave early for any other reasons, I can usually make up the time after hours. For me, I value the flexibility mostly as it pertains to my growing family and being able to be there for them when needed.”

Katie Wilson
Industry: Recipe Testing
Lives in West Melbourne
Freelance, most clients located in Seattle and Orlando

“I get to work from home and decide which projects I do or don't want to take on. I also basically get paid to make dinner or share food with friends, which is pretty cool. We are a homeschool family, so this allows us to continue homeschooling. I can take a vacation any time I want, without worrying about having to ask for time off. I just say ‘no’ to projects with deadlines close to our family vacations. Since it's only part-time work, I'm less exhausted than I was working 40 hours a week outside of my home.”

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