All it takes is a quick google to find hella statistics on how providing workplace flexibility can attract better talent, decrease turnover, increase productivity and more. Shoutout to our elder generations for finally realizing the way to our millennial hearts is not by providing office kegs and beanbag chairs, but through enabling work-life balance (among other things, but that’s not the point of today’s post).

Work around rush hour(s)

If your office doesn’t have an enforced arrival time of 8:00:00 a.m. CST then why put yourself through the stress of morning traffic? Americans spend an average of 42 hours a year sitting in traffic – and I know y’all have better ways to make use of that time. I love planning my commute using Waze, which helps me navigate around the hellhole highways of Dallas without taking years off my life.

Attend workout classes that aren’t at the crack of dawn

Unless you’re into that kind of thing, of course. With my current job, I get one work from home day a week and my favorite way to take advantage of that is by going to workout classes between 7:00-8:00 a.m. On most days of the week, these classes start too late for me to attend, get cleaned up and commute to the office . By making the most of my WFH days, I can have my cake and eat it too. I get a little extra sleep, make it to a workout, shower and put my pajamas back on all before it’s time to get my work day started.

Make “being proactive” a priority

When working full time, it may seem like the concept of getting ahead isn’t possible after a 40-hour work week. Thankfully, workplace flexibility can make this a little easier. If you’re not locked into an 8-hour work day and have the option to work longer or shorter days, as long as your job gets done, this tip is for you.

Get ahead while at the office the first half of the week, and work a little longer each day to ensure you’re on top of your ish. Then, use the last 1-2 days of the work week to get a jump start on your personal to-dos. Instead of trying to do all the things in one day and exhausting yourself, set your priorities for the week and have a list of non-urgent tasks in your back pocket (like getting your oil changed before your next service is 2,000 miles past due-). You’ll be able to hit some of these toward the end of the week – after you give work your all (plus some) at the beginning.

Invest in yourself and your passions

Whether this means scheduling your dentist appointment that’s four months overdue or using your lunch break to take advantage of a massage deal you saw on Groupon, having a flexible workplace means you can invest more time into your wellbeing. Taking care of yourself today means a healthier, happier you for your company. Everybody wins!

Having a sense of fulfillment and purpose is also essential to being an overall healthy individual. In a typical culture-driven workplace, it’s common to receive benefits such as summer hours, work from home days and general in-office flexibility. One of the best ways to make use of these perks is to invest in your passion. Use your extra time on occasional Friday afternoons to volunteer for a cause that inspires you. Or, if you’re like me, you can utilize a flexible workplace to foster dogs and cats for your local animal shelter. There are countless organizations across the U.S. that could use an extra set of hands. Besides doing some good for your community, volunteering can decrease your risk for depression and enhance your mental health. I dare you to find one negative effect of volunteering. You can’t. It’s worth it.

Being present

Generous PTO benefits are typically part of a flexible workplace, which means you can avoid choosing work over your family, friends and loved ones. Go out of town for your friend’s wedding next spring, travel with your BFFs for a once-in-a-lifetime girls’ weekend and make it back to the suburbs for your child’s school talent show. Being part of an understanding and flexible work environment means you can live in the now and say “yes” to more personal events.

Does your company promote workplace flexibility? Share your tips for making the most of your free time in the comments below!

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I’m Alexis and I'm fluent in English and memes. When I'm not on the 9-5 grind as an account coordinator I usually think about working out, but end up at the nearest happy hour instead. I graduated with a degree in strategic communications and am always looking for ways to improve as a newly professional #millennial. Once I settle down, my goal is to establish a career that is flexible so I can double as foster mom for my local animal shelter. Until then, I'll be taking weekend trips and going the extra mile for a good Insta.