I had the same problem somewhat. I use to work part-time so I was home by 1pm everyday and had the weekends off. In June I started working full-time and I’m getting divorced. So I have no other choice but to leave them home. I do live close to work so I take my lunch hour to go home eat and let them out for about an hour. I keep being told they are just dogs they will be fine. But to me they are my children and I really feel guilty if I have to go to the store or something when I get home from work and have to crate them again. Finally now that it is August they are starting to get use to it.
As for leaving them outside it depends on where you live to be honest. I live in Lima, Ohio. I have to have insurance on my home for them, and if they are outside in a fenced in area it must be 6ft tall and a lock on the gate! I have a 4ft fence and no lock but Kira actually did jump the fence oneday when my ex husband went back inside. She hasn’t sense. Kira digs really bad you should see my yard its horrible. My only concern for you would be people walking by kids tormenting them or even adults. I personally wouldn’t do it even if I had a 6ft. fence. They will get use to being crated. I went and trusted mine for a couple of days loose in the house and the first day was great I was so impressed I praised them like crazy when I got home. Then the next time they stayed loose it was horrible. So they get crated anytime I leave. I try to exercise them every evening and they seem to be happy.