June 15, 2016

A working mom's transition to summer

Recitals, class parties, teachers' gifts...the end of the school year is such a crazy time. And then...boom it's all over.

As a working mother, I always feel strange on the last day of school. I feel like I was just buying back to school supplies and signing emergency contact forms. For a while, it feels like the year is dragging on as I manage the daily logistics of getting kids to school and to sports practice. And then suddenly, I’m going to end of the year awards ceremonies and getting everyone ready for summer camp.

To me, the end of the school year signifies the passage of time even more than ringing in the New Year. All of a sudden we realize that while we were juggling work and life, our children were growing another year older and wiser and maturing in a way we love and hate at the same time.

Now, we get a few months to slow things down and enjoy our children, our work and our home lives at a slower pace. We get to add more leisure into our schedules and worry less about logistics.

What I love most about the month of June is what lies ahead. The summer stretches before us and days last longer. I’m not ready yet to reflect on the last school year or plan ahead for the next one. I’m in a state of chill, ready to enjoy a let up in traffic, and see vacation photos on my Facebook feed. There is something so satisfying about knowing I can take a bike ride after dinner or dress a little more casual for the office.

Summer is a great time to reclaim work life balance.  To fully embrace summer, here are some suggestions for making the transition:

  • Get in the habit of spending time with your family while unplugging and staying in the present. Is there a new walking trail nearby to discover? Get out there and explore, but don’t dare bring your cell along.
  • Plan a weekend escape. Getting away doesn’t need to be stressful or heavy on the budget. Is there a nearby tourist attraction you would love to visit? I'm headed to Epcot this weekend.
  • Set a rule to always leave your workplace by 5 p.m. on Fridays. In the summer, Friday nights can be a great time to wrap up the week and leave work behind. Is there a Friday night ritual you can establish? Maybe a Friday night pizza picnic in a nearby park?
  • Consider some self care. Is there a spa you’ve been itching to try? In the summer, spas offer promotional packages and gyms are less crowded than usual. You may be able to stretch your lunch break a bit to get in a good workout. This is a great time of year to focus on your wellbeing.
  • Reconnect with a friend. Is there a friend you've been meaning to get together with but have been too busy? The slower pace of summer is a great time to make plans. Getting together with a friend is like a vitamin boost. Pick up that phone and make a date.

 We have so much to look forward to in the next few months. Enjoy!

June 02, 2016

Letter to Mom at Graduation

Just last year, I was one of the thousands of parents of a child who was graduating from high school and moving on to the next phase. Having worked so hard for so many years to maintain work life balance, the transition felt strange -- and difficult. If you're experiencing that right now, know that you are not alone.

Today, my guest blogger is Raffi Bilek, a former teenager and current parent of school-age children.  He is a family counselor and director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, where he offers parenting workshops and counseling to parents, teens, and families. He loves his mom and wrote a letter to her from a teenage perspective. I enjoyed reading it and thought you would too.

 

Me & Mom

(Raffi and his mom, 15 years ago)

 

Hi Mom,

Thanks for coming to this meeting.  I know you’re really busy with other projects but I’m glad we were able to take time out for this.

I figure the best way to do this is just be direct.  Mom, I’m downsizing.  Now that my corporation, Me, Inc., has been around nearly a decade and a half, it’s really become clear that we don’t need the complex management system we’ve had all this time.  You and Dad have been great managers, no doubt, but at this point, it’s really overkill.  In the past you’ve taken on a lot of different assignments around here, which have obviously shifted with the company’s needs over time, and just aren’t so relevant anymore.

Feeding and changing was a big one when we were just a tiny startup. Remember those days? Novice mistakes and setbacks, long hours, few days off if any… you sure put in a lot of time and effort, and I definitely want to appreciate what you did for the company back then, Mom.

Then there was scheduling and logistics for many years around playdates, school, baseball practice, dentist appointments.  You’ve certainly survived a lot of conflicts between the staff of Me, Inc., and your upper management team. And let’s not forget your expert direction of Me, Inc.’s Food Services Unit, your leadership in running the infirmary, and your clever efficiency improvements in areas ranging from Tantrum Weatherization to Homework Completion to Household Budgeting.

Yep, you’ve worn many hats around here.  But the point is, it’s just becoming less and less necessary.  As the founder and president of Me, Inc., I see the need for your skills dropping off as we move ahead into the bright future of adolescence.  So, like I said, I’m downsizing. I’m afraid that, effective immediately, you and Dad are no longer managers at Me, Inc.

I know this comes as kind of a shock to you, but in truth, the signs have been all over the place for some time now.  You’ve gotten a bit behind the times and have failed to notice the shifting winds that started in the pre-teen years.  You sometimes treat me like a startup instead of the burgeoning corporation that I am, and it has kind of gotten in the way of progress.

Look, it’s not as bad as it seems.  After all, this is really what you’ve always wanted – an independent, growing business that isn’t tied to your every move, that can function and even expand even when you’re not at the office.  I’m sure you’ve had retirement in the back of your mind all along (even if you thought it was in the distant future).

And, just as importantly, please note that I said we no longer need your skills.  But the truth is – and the guys in the back room will kill me if they ever heard me saying this - Me., Inc. really still needs you.  We need what you have to offer – your knowledge, your years of experience, and not least your moral support.

So, think of this as a door opening, not a door closing.  Take some time off to come to terms with being laid off.  I know it isn’t easy.  But when you’re ready to shift roles, I’ll tell you what – Me, Inc. really needs a good consultant or two.  We need someone who can help guide the company from the sidelines while taking a much more hands-off approach.  Someone who knows the company inside and out.  Someone who really cares about the company’s growth and success. 

I think you’ll be great for the job.

Raffi

 

 

May 23, 2016

Where to find flexible childcare

When my children were younger, I worked four days a week and had Fridays off. It was not easy to find childcare for four days. But times have changed and daycare appears to be getting a little more flexible. I'm not saying it's completely flexible, but we're moving in the right direction. 

In my column in today's Miami Herald, I address the new direction of child care. Below is an abbreviated version but you can click here to see the full article. 

 

BYH00 Balance News rk
(Pamela Guilarte, left, and her mother, Maria Sayreat the Fun Club in South Miami. Photo by 
Roberto Koltun) 

 

 

 

 

From nannies on demand to daycare or after-school care on demand, alternatives to full-time childcare are providing parents options to fit their new ways of working.

Drop in care: One of the most-popular options is drop-in care, where childcare is available by reservation, or at the last minute as a service offered by full-time day care and early-learning centers. Parents can pre-buy preschool hours and use them as needed. Costs vary but start at about $10 an hour, plus a one-time registration fee.

Earlier this month, Suzanne Santos, a mother of three, found herself using this alternative. Santos, a real estate agent in South Miami, had a photo shoot set up for one of her new property listings and needed childcare for her 2-year-old daughter for the afternoon when the nanny called in sick. So, Santos bought a package of drop-in childcare hours at The Fun Club in South Miami that she will use as needed over the next month.

Pamela Guilarte began drop-in care as the owner of Fun Club in South Miami and just sold the preschool to Orange Blossom Learning Center. Now, she plans to license the format she used locally to preschools around the country. She and her mother, Maria Sayre, have developed software that allows parents to log onto a website, purchase a package of hours and sign up for preschool/childcare as needed, or several days a week. Preschool owners are able to use the software to track parent usage and send out renewal notices.

Guilarte says drop-in care has gained traction in the past few years, particularly with young parents. “Millennial parents are savvy and because of the way they are working, they don’t want to pay a monthly fee,” she says. “They are hand-selecting the top preschools in their area where they can pay by the hour or the day.”

While it would seem challenging for owners to staff for drop-in care, Guilarte says it serves as supplemental income for childcare centers that already offer full-time care. Parents still need to ensure that a drop-in center is licensed and operates under the same regulations that apply to day-care facilities. “When I opened the Fun Club seven years ago, if I said we offer drop-in care, people had no idea what that was. Now, people know what it is and have started to use it,” she says.

Drop-in childcare has a sizable potential market: People working nontraditional shifts or flexible hours make up 35 percent of the workforce.

While convenient, most drop-in care centers want some prior notice. Tiniciti Early Childhood Center requires 24 hours notice for drop-in care at its two Miami locations. It also offers parents flexibility in how they use day care during regular hours. Michael Taylor, who operates his iPrint company from Pipeline Brickell’s shared workspace, works a loose schedule and typically starts his workday around 11 a.m. after he drops his daughter Ella off at Tiniciti Brickell. Because the center offers alternatives to full-time care, Taylor uses it mostly in the afternoons but has the option of picking Ella up as late as 8 p.m. if needed. “There are so many young business people on Brickell that certain schools have no choice but to offer flexibility and adjust with times,” Taylor says.

Existing daycare centers: Even the large national providers are catering to parents’ working habits. KinderCare Learning Centers has 1,600 locations across the country, including some on-site corporate centers. At some locations, it has extended hours, offered drop-in care or catered to parents with unpredictable schedules. In South Florida, KinderCare and its Cambridge Preschools has 22 locations, some that offer a daily rate or a monthly half-day fee, says Yvonne Wolliston, KinderCare regional director for the South. “We’re sensitive to moms who want flexibility and are working with them,” Wolliston says.

Family childcare centers: Some family childcare centers have adapted, too. Maricarmen Macias has operated a childcare center from her Chicago home for more than a decade. By welcoming children as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m., she has attracted parents who put in nontraditional hours, some of them single mothers. For example, Macias says she accommodates a single mother who works a different schedule each week at a dollar store: “By being flexible, we are giving a mom the chance to have a job and be the main provider for her family.”

Websites: Another flexible option parents are using are websites like Care.com that offer a version of childcare on demand and nanny-sharing. Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor at Care.com, says parents use her website to build a bank of babysitters to hire as needed. “If you have five quality babysitters in your contacts, you can say, ‘I am picking up a gig this week and need someone for 20 hours, who can help me?’ ” Bugbee says.

Afterschool programs: For parents with older children, after-school programs also are evolving to accommodate a change in the communities’ needs. Jodi Grant, executive director of Afterschool Alliance — a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy organization to ensure quality after-school programs — says she has seen more alternative programs for parents who don’t need five-days-a-week after-care for their elementary, middle or high school children. From enrichment activities to onsite after-school care, “the need for flexibility is great and the programs are getting better.” Check your local YMCA or Community Centers for flexible after-school programs. 
 

What are your experiences with childcare and flexibility? Do you find it challenging to find child care to fit your needs?

May 18, 2016

How to make your own work life balance rules

Lifework
A few nights ago, I reached on my nightstand for my iPad to shoot off an email before I went to sleep. By doing that, I completely broke my own rule about using mobile devices into my bedroom. I made the rule because I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary, a place I go to wind down, de-stress and restore my strength. When I think about work in my bedroom, I feel like I have nowhere to escape, no sense of work life balance.

Have you ever made a work life balance rule for yourself? Was it something like.... I'm not going to stay at the office past 6 p.m.! I'm not going to work on Saturdays! I'm not going to talk about work during dinner!

If you haven't, maybe it's time. What change big or small would make a difference in your life?

What do you feel you need more of in your life -- time with your family, a good night sleep, weekend down time?

Now, make a rule that will improve that aspect of your life. Put it in positive terms such as....I am going to leave my office by 6 to enjoy more evening time with my kids.

Enforcing your rule is the crucial piece. So, how are you going to go about making work life balance changes that stick?

First, you need to have your rule visible. Put a reminder somewhere where you are going to see it at the time you most need it.  In my example, I should have a sticky note on the cover of my iPad that reminds me not to bring it into my bedroom. For you, that reminder may be an alarm on your phone that alerts you to leave the office at 6, or maybe a sticky note near the dinner table reminding you to discuss uplifting, non-work topics during your meal.

Next, enlist help. Encourage a co-worker or your spouse to remind you of your new rule. I told my husband to remind me of my no tech use in the bedroom rule in case I slip up.

Use technology to your advantage. There are ways to turn off your alerts outside of work hours or auto-responders that say "I may not respond to this email prior to Monday."

Lastly, don't give up. Things happen that could cause you to break your rule every now and then. If you break your rule, like I did, tell yourself it's a temporary setback and you are going to do better. You want to aim for big-picture, long-term improvement to your work life balance.

Having some set rules for balancing your life can help you prioritize and prepare for curveballs that come your way. Try your best to limit the exceptions and follow the work-life balance rules you have set for yourself. Once you find this happy balance of work and personal time you will be more fulfilled in your career and a much more happier friend and family member.

 

May 12, 2016

How to Spring Clean Your Life

Spring clean your life


Exciting news! I was interviewed by Nicole Blades on BlogHer for a piece on How to Spring Clean Your Life (For Real)

Below is the piece that ran as a Blog Her Original Post:

Even if the weather in your region isn't acting like it, this is legit spring! One of the things that goes along with the season is cleaning, like, major, deep-rooted cleaning. But that clean-up plan extends beyond the kitchen cabinets and your underwear drawer.

That's why Cindy Goodman is here to help you spring clean your life.

Cindy’s nationally syndicated column, "Work Life Balancing Act" helps her readers with the daily work life balance struggle to find career and personal fulfillment — from tips on productivity to flexibility in the workplace. The column appears weekly in the Miami Herald, Star-Telegram, The Charlotte Observer and dozens of McClatchy newspapers. She is also a member of Hilton Garden Inn’s Bright Minds team, a group of influential women who offer time-saving tips and inspiration to empower the on-the-go business woman.

As a mother of three and also a veteran journalist, Cindy brings her personal experience to the work/life balancing act. She's here to help, folks. Take notes!

BlogHer: When we talk about "spring cleaning" our lives, it may seem a little daunting. Where do we start? What’s the best way to approach de-cluttering one's life? Is it about breaking things down into categories? Do we approach it similar to how we clean our closets: Keep, Donate, Discard?

Cindy Goodman: When it's time for spring cleaning a good place to start is your calendar. What is on your calendar that zaps your time and energy and creates stress? Is it too many networking events, too many kids’ activities, too many late nights at the office? What can you do to make your calendar look different? What can you delegate or where can you scale back to create more time for travel, or a new hobby, or hanging out with friends, those things that will put a smile on your face? De-cluttering your calendar and your to-do list will make a big difference in your stress level.

BlogHer: How might we go about "spring cleaning" our relationships? Is that even a thing? Can we detox our friendships/relationships?

CG: Look at the people in your life who are innovative, creative, inspiring, talented, supportive, and spend more time with them. When you give them more of your time, you will have less time for people who dwell on the negative. This might be one of the most important things we do to better balance our lives.

BlogHer: If we only have time and mind energy to tackle one thing in a Life De-Clutter Project, what should it be?

CG: Declutter the one thing you encounter every day that makes you feel disorganized. For example, every day I would park in my driveway and walk through my cluttered garage. It puts me in a bad mood walking into my home. Last spring, I decided to focus on straightening it out and tossing what I hadn’t used in a long time. By decluttering that one place, it changed my entire outlook every single day.

Most of us have one messy place we encounter daily and it makes us feel guilty and disorganized — it may be our underwear drawer, the backseat of our car, our desk drawer, our utensils drawer. Find your "one place" and tackle it. It will change your outlook!

BlogHer: Specifically talking to mothers, who are already juggling far too many things, what are some practical, actionable tips they can use to de-clutter their busy lives and move closer toward guilt-free work-life balance?

CG: There are three tips I try to follow:

1) Find your workplace soulmate, a superwoman you can count on to help you prioritize or rescue you in a pinch. One thing that I found interesting was on a recent survey Hilton Garden Inn put out that revealed 85 percent of employed women would be more likely to ask a fellow woman for help to get something done quickly at work. We need to continue to support each other!

2) Toss the gadgets that you never use and consider those that would be helpful. I have an electric rice cooker I will NEVER use. For a busy mom like me, it just doesn’t make my life any easier. We all have those kinds of things in our homes. But there are simple, inexpensive gadgets that would make our lives easier (most of them are invented by other moms). The Hilton Garden Inn survey I referenced earlier said that self-cleaning carpets (34 percent), self-folding laundry (34 percent ) and 3-D printers for meals (18 percent) are the top three gadgets busy women wish they would have. Someone should get on that!

3) Lastly, refuse to feel guilty. Clear out those things in your home that make you feel bad about what you haven’t gotten around to doing. I just tossed an unused photo album. I will never take the time to print photos and fill the album. If I really want to make an album I can create a digital one online. If you will never make muffins, toss the muffin pan. It’s okay. I give you permission to do it.

BlogHer: Once we’re done with the "life spring clean,” how can we keep it all organized and maintain the progress? How do we avoid slipping back into the life clutter all over again?

CG: Focus on that "one place" you want to keep organized and how great it feels to see it decluttered. That should be motivation to avoid slipping back into disorganization!

______________

Nicole Blades is a novelist and freelance journalist who writes about family, identity and culture. 

May 10, 2016

When your spouse travels for work

My husband is traveling for business a few days. 

A couple of years ago, I would have dreaded that he would be away from home. It would have meant I would have had to put the kids to bed, wake them up, get them ready, pack lunches and do all the cooking and cleaning -- by myself. 

But now, things are different. I have only one child left at home, a teenager who is pretty self sufficient. Now, my husband's business travel means I don't have to make dinner. Last night, my son and I had leftovers. And, because my husband is away, we didn't even bother doing the dishes. They're still sitting in the sink. My son isn't about to complain.

What's more, I stayed up last night until way past midnight enjoying all the television shows I love to watch and he doesn't. I watched almost the entire season of HBO Girls. Again. 

Of course, I miss my husband and look forward to his return, but sometimes, alone time is just what a busy working parent needs. A recent Hilton Garden Inn survey found that 67 percent of women whom they surveyed confessed to wanting their significant others to go away on business trips so they could have time to themselves. 

Sometimes, my night to myself may include plowing through the stack of unread magazines I have on my nightstand or devouring a good book. I have had women who travel for work confess to me that they sometimes look forward to the night in the hotel room alone for the same reasons as I do -- to get some alone time. I find complete, uninterrupted immersion in entertainment of my choice extremely relaxing.

So how do you spend time to yourself when either you or your significant other travels? Do you have a go-to routine that you look forward to?

(Share your answer on my Facebook page for a chance to win a weekend getaway!)

 

 

May 06, 2016

Lessons from Mom

When I was young, my mother wore red as often as possible. She had a red car and a red front door. Red was her favorite color. Now as a mother myself, I realize there was much more to her color choice.

My mother was a single mother of three who worked as a teacher and spent most of her time around children. She balanced work and family long before there were modern conveniences like online shopping and virtual assistants.

I knew other mothers stayed home, but even though my mother worked, she was always there to pick me up from school or a dance and take me to weekend activities. If I was sick and couldn't go to school, I stayed home alone. If I wanted my clothes clean for school, I washed them. If I wanted lunch, I packed it. She made the working mother thing seem easy.

From growing up with a single, working mother, I learned a few lessons that serve me well today.

  1. Make your kids help. I make my kids do dishes, help with cooking, make their beds…all the things my mom made me do. It teaches them responsibility and takes some of the household chores off my plate.
  2. Be organized. My mother, a teacher, shopped during the summer for Christmas, birthdays, and emergencies. She had gifts in her closet at all times so we were never caught off guard should an invitation come our way.
  3. Savor Sunday night. Sunday nights were quiet time in our house. My mother paid the bills and planned dinners for the week. We did homework, read books and went to bed early. It helped to start the week from a place of peace.
  4. Insist on family dinners. We had all kinds of activities during the week but we knew to be home for dinner. Today, I credit that family time with how close I am with my siblings.
  5. Consider school as important as work. As my mother headed to her workplace, she told us our jobs were to go to school and do well. We took that responsibility seriously and today I tell my children the same thing.
  6. Only spend what you have. My mother only had a Sears credit card. That’s it. Everywhere else she paid cash. Money was tight but mom would not let us buy a thing unless we had the cash to pay for it. Otherwise, we would do without. I try to abide by the same rule and have stayed out of debt.
  7. Don't feel guilty for "me time". On Saturday night, my mother would go out and we would have a sitter until my older sister could babysit. It was my mother's time to do whatever she wanted as a woman, rather than a mom. Taking time for herself was how my mom kept her sanity and how I now keep mine.

While my mom still loves the color red, she doesn’t wear it as often today. She no longer needs to convince herself that she has power and determination to survive as a single mom. She has done her job well as a mother, grandmother and role model.

Happy Mother's Day to my mother and all of the other moms out there. You rock!

 

IMG_0633 (1)
My mother and stepfather both in red

 

 

 

May 04, 2016

What makes a state the worst for a working mother?

Source: WalletHub

 

 

 

Yesterday, I drove past the bus stop and noticed a mother with young triplets trying to get her family onto the public bus. I wondered what her life was like -- how difficult it is to support her family and she manages on a daily basis to get her family where they need to go. Is our public transportation accommodating? Is Florida's child care affordable? Is housing affordable?

With Mother’s Day approaching, and single moms with young children constituting nearly three-quarters of all working women, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms.

So, what makes a state one of the worst for working mothers? Expensive child care, lousy paychecks, too few pediatricians, lack of advancement opportunities, crappy parental leave, and a huge wage gap.  And that's just the beginning of it!

In order to identify the best and worst states for working moms, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Child Care, 2) Professional Opportunities and 3) Work-Life Balance.

From there, WalletHub’s analysts compared the attractiveness of each of the states to a working mother by using 13 key metrics such as median women’s salary, female unemployment rate, day-care quality, and the pay gap.

Vermont had the highest overall score. Nevada had the lowest.

 

Here's how my state (Florida) scored. (It's the 12th Worst State for Working Mothers):
 
Life as a Working Mom in Florida (1=Best; 25=Avg.) 

  • 24th – Day-Care Quality
  • 51st – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Women’s Salary)
  • 30th – Access to Pediatric Services
  • 18th – Gender Pay Gap (Women’s Earnings as % of Men’s)
  • 19th – Ratio of Female Executives to Male Executives
  • 34th – Median Women’s Salary (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 34th – Female Unemployment Rate
  • 23rd – Parental Leave Policy
  • 39th – Length of Average Woman’s Workday
  • 20th – % of Single-Mom Families in Poverty

 

If you live in New York, then rejoice because you live in the best state for working mothers for daycare quality.

If you live in Washington D.C., there's good news for you, too. You live in the area with the highest percentage of pediatricians and the highest percent of female executives. 

Moms in Virginia have something to celebrate as well. You live in the state with the highest median women's salary, adjusted for cost of living: $45,452.

Let's hope states that ranked low make some improvements in the next year. We owe it to the nation's working mothers and the children they are raising!

For the full report, visit WalletHub

 

 

April 29, 2016

Why Meternity Leave is Ridiculous

Looks like author Meghann Foye sparked a conversation — and a controversy — with the release of her new novel "Meternity."

Meghann thinks people without kids should get an extended break from work, just like their co-workers who go on maternity or paternity leave. She speaks from experience. Years ago, Foye took her own self-financed meternity leave to kick start her writing career. I understand where Meghann is coming from. Burnout is a big problem in this country and childless workers are at risk because the perception is they are available all the time.  Everyone deserves "me time" which is why many workplaces have vacation days and Paid Time Off. .

But Americans aren't even taking the paid vacation time coming to them. Every year they leave tons of paid vacation days unused out of fear for their jobs, or too big a workload or all kinds of other reasons.  So are people going to take three months off unpaid for meternity leave? Let's be real, they most certainly are not.

If you have the desire and some savings, whether you are a parent or a single employee, you can take meternity leave any time you want. It's called quitting your job, regrouping and forging a new path that gives you the work life balance you seek. In that sense, meternity leave already is available to all workers.

On the flip side, what's going on in this country with maternity leave is pitiful.

Right now, 1 out of 4 mothers only takes two weeks off to have a kid, despite the toll on their bodies and the sleepless nights. Why? They can't afford to take more than that because our nation has no national policy on paid parental leave. Let's focus on getting that first. Let's help parents get the time they need to bond with their newborn, establish a routine and get ready for the balancing act that lies ahead. That will make a difference in our communities and for our families.  

What are your thoughts on meternity leave? Is it an insult to new parents? If you could afford it, would you take it?

 

April 28, 2016

How to get your boss to let you work from home

                                                      Work from home

 

 

Is working from home a big deal at your organization? Is getting permission like asking your parent to borrow the car keys and drive across country?

Well, it shouldn't be big deal but many bosses just haven't realized it yet.

If you want to work from home (at least some of the time), company culture will factor into whether you get the OK  to do it. 

In many workplaces, you can coax your boss to let you work from home --  some or all of the time -- if you approach it the right way. Here are some strategies I recommend:

Point out the benefit: Often the best way to approach the topic with your boss is to point out the benefit to him or her in having you spend less time commuting and more time being productive. Without a commute, it may be possible to make more early morning phone calls or have quiet time to be more creative in how you approach solutions. If the arrangement benefits your boss, it's a win-win and you're more likely to get approval.

Establish trust: If you've proven yourself a responsible worker, working from home one day a week, or as needed should be no big deal. If you haven't proven yourself, spend a few weeks going the extra mile and make your boss fully aware of how dependable you are.

Arrange childcare: If you're a working parent, you will need to assure your boss that you have childcare under control. It's impossible to supervise a child and get work done. You know this and your boss does too.

Establish a communication system: A recent poll shows 90 percent of the workforce has an interest in working from home some of the time. However, a boss fears that he will need you and won't be able to track you down.  So, if you want to sway your boss to let you work from home every Thursday or some other arrangement, you need to explain upfront how you plan to communicate your whereabouts and your results. 

Present it as a trial: Often, it's easier to roll something out as a pilot or trial run. It allows your boss to give the okay under the radar. Both you and your boss can decide if it works and whether any adjustments need to be made or higher ups need to approve the arrangement.

Be available outside of office hours. Today work is a give and take between you and your employer. If you want to work from home, you will need to show that you give flexibility in return. It may mean taking your boss' call at 8 p.m. or  responding to an email on a Saturday. Let your boss know upfront that you will give your all to make this arrangement work out.

As the interest in teleworking soars, more companies are creating work from home policies to promote work life balance. But they’re also realizing it takes much more than a policy to make newer, flexible ways of working acceptable. (See my Miami Herald article on this topic)

Slowly, but definitively, more employers are getting on board and creating a culture that makes working from home acceptable. The culture encourages upfront conversations about expectations of the employee and it encourages managers at all levels to be more outcomes-focused. 

So, if you're considering asking to work at home some of the time, go for it. Your chances of getting the green light are getting better and better!