Flexible working hours are becoming more popular and desirable among employees, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flexible working hours allow you to adjust your work schedule to suit your personal needs, preferences, and lifestyle. For example, you may want to work part-time, compressed, or staggered hours from home.
But how do you ask for flexible working hours from your employer? What are the benefits and challenges of flexible working arrangements? And what are your rights and responsibilities as a flexible worker?
This article will answer these questions and provide some tips and best practices for asking for flexible working hours. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Table of Contents
1. Do Your Research
Before you approach your employer with your request, make sure you have done your homework. Find out if your company has a policy or a procedure for flexible working requests. Check if any legal or contractual requirements apply to your situation. Look for examples of other employees who have successfully negotiated flexible working hours in your company or industry.
2. Identify Your Reasons and Goals
Next, you must clarify why you want to work flexibly and what you hope to achieve. Are you seeking more work-life balance, better productivity, less stress, or more autonomy? How will flexible working hours benefit you, your employer, and your team? Be prepared to explain and justify your reasons and goals clearly and convincingly.
3. Choose the Best Option for You
You can choose from different types of flexible working hours, depending on your needs and preferences. Some of the most common ones are:
- Working from home: You work remotely from your home or another location of your choice.
- Part-time: You work fewer hours than a full-time employee, usually on a fixed schedule.
- Compressed hours: You work the same number of hours as a full-time employee but on fewer days.
- Staggered hours: You have different start and finish times than the standard working hours.
- Flexitime: You can choose your start and finish times as long as you work a certain number of core hours.
Consider which option suits you best and how it will affect your work performance, communication, collaboration, and availability.
4. Prepare a Proposal
Once you have decided on the flexible working hours you want, you must prepare a formal proposal for your employer. Your proposal should include:
- The type of flexible working hours you are requesting and the start date.
- The reasons and goals behind your request and how they align with the company’s objectives and values.
- The benefits and challenges of your proposed arrangement for you, your employer, and your team.
- The solutions and strategies you have in mind to overcome any potential challenges or drawbacks.
- The metrics and indicators you will use to measure and demonstrate your productivity, performance, and results.
Your proposal should be clear, concise, professional, and persuasive. You can use online templates or examples to help you structure and format your proposal.
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5. Schedule a Meeting with your Manager
After you have prepared your proposal, you need to schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss it. Choose a time when both of you are available, relaxed, and focused. Avoid busy or stressful periods or times when there are urgent deadlines or issues.
During the meeting, present your proposal confidently and respectfully. Explain why you want to work flexibly and how it will benefit both parties. Address any questions or concerns your manager may have and provide evidence or examples to support your arguments. Listen to their feedback and suggestions and be open to compromise or negotiation.
6. Follow Up in Writing
After the meeting, send a follow-up email to your manager to thank them for their time and consideration. Summarize the main points of your discussion and the outcome of your request. If your request was approved, confirm the details of your flexible working arrangement, such as the start date, the schedule, the expectations, and the review process. If your request was denied or postponed, ask for the reasons behind the decision and what steps you can take to improve your chances in the future.
7. Adjust to Your New Arrangement
Once you start working flexibly, you must adjust to your new arrangement and ensure it works well for everyone involved. Here are some tips to help you succeed as a flexible worker:
- Communicate effectively with your manager, colleagues, and clients. Keep them updated on your progress, achievements, challenges, and availability. Use various communication tools and channels like email, phone, video, and instant messaging.
- Manage your time efficiently and prioritize your tasks. Set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and stick to them. Use online tools or apps to help you plan, organize, and track your work.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Establish a clear boundary between your work and personal life and respect it. Create a comfortable and productive work environment at home or wherever you work. Take regular breaks and avoid distractions or interruptions.
- Seek feedback and support. Ask for feedback from your manager and colleagues on your performance and results. Seek support from your employer, co-workers, or professional networks if you face difficulties or challenges. Be open to learning and improving your skills and competencies.
8. Review and Evaluate your Arrangement
Finally, you need to review and evaluate your flexible working arrangement on a regular basis. Check if it meets your needs and expectations and if it delivers the desired outcomes. Assess the benefits and challenges of your arrangement and identify any areas for improvement or change. Discuss your findings and feedback with your manager and agree on any necessary adjustments or modifications.
The Bottom Line
Flexible working hours can be a great way to achieve more work-life balance, productivity, satisfaction, and happiness. However, they also require careful planning, preparation, communication, and management. By following these steps, you can ask for flexible working hours from your employer professionally and effectively and make the most of your new arrangement.