Flexibility, which comes with your own schedule, definitely brings many advantages, from improving work-life balance to finding your new passion and launching a side business. However, while many of you have probably thought about that, people often refuse to organize such a schedule because they think it doesn’t fit their company’s corporate culture or position or are simply afraid to make a bad impression on the employer.
So consider the suggested 10 tips below, as they will help you get your desired schedule and increase your credibility in the eyes of your employer.
1. Figure Out What You Really Want
A flexible schedule is a general concept that can be interpreted differently. Candidates often ask for flexible hours, but everyone understands it in their own way: the possibility to have lunch at any time during the working day, the opportunity to leave the workplace for personal matters and work it out in the evening or on the weekend; working from home once a week; working four days a week instead of five; or shifting the traditional 9-to-5 to something that works, etc. Have you ever thought if you need to work from home some days or shift the traditional working hours to those more appropriate for you?
2. Do Your Research
Flexible scheduling opportunities might already be available within your company, although you might not know it. So check your company policies and ask your manager or colleagues to find the options before making a formal request.
3. Try to Fill Your Boss’ Shoes
Make sure that your work results will not be affected due to the new schedule. It might be critical for some professionals to work directly in the office or for a specific period of time. Additionally, when it comes to specific industries (such as IT), teamwork often helps to resolve issues much faster. Consider whether you have the ability to work as efficiently in a flexible schedule.
4. Try to Predict Questions
You should start by considering the questions:
- How will a flexible schedule make you more efficient?
- How do you see your work in the new environment?
- When will you be available, and how should your colleges connect you?
- How are you going to report your results?
- What meetings are you going to attend in person?
Answers are best written as points or short speeches. You may even create presentation materials to show how serious your approach is.
5. Find the Right Time
There are two options for discussing flexible hours:
- Before accepting a job offer;
- After you have already worked for a while at the company.
Let’s be honest; it is not the best idea to change the rules when you have worked in the company only for a few months. It does not look professional. So if you did not discuss flexible options at the beginning, you should wait at least six months from your start date to discuss changes (unless something critical happened). Raise this issue at a regular career meeting, if possible, so that you can discuss the results and the strategy for the next period. The timing may be different for you, but only when you have shown good results and your boss understands your value to the company.
6. Ask Your College
Ask your colleagues with flexible schedules to share their negotiation experience. If there is nobody in your company, ask those trying to discuss it or find friends from other companies in your sphere and ask them. It could help you determine the most difficult issues in the organization, discuss flexible working hours, and prepare.
7. Set Up a Meeting
Determine the right person to discuss the flexible schedule (in most cases, this will be your boss) and schedule a time for both of you to discuss your needs. Do not forget to indicate the topic of the conversation in the invitation to the meeting.
I suggest discussing such requests in person so that you can build a constructive dialogue rather than simply getting a response without being able to clarify details or alternatives.
8. Focus on the Benefits to the Company
Clearly outline the benefits your new schedule will have for the company. Will the flex schedule allow you to take on additional responsibilities/ faster respond to customer requests/be more attentive to details/ etc.? If it is a win-win offer, the conversation becomes more comfortable, and your boss will be more receptive and willing to indulge you. To ensure there is no reason to say “No,” address the possible hindrances and suggest viable ways to overcome them. It will also show your boss that you care about the business’s overall success, not just your personal comfort.
9. Ask to Do a Trial Period
Suggesting a trial period is the best way to get your boss’ approval. It will make your employer feel confident that he can get things back if something goes wrong. The trial period may last from a few weeks to a few months. During this period, you must do your best to show that the flex schedule has been a great decision. It is important to keep track of your work. In the beginning, making detailed reports about your activities and results in each working day may be crucial to avoid misunderstandings.
Remember that it is also a good time to understand if it works in your case. Do not be afraid to return to the standard schedule if you see things go wrong and it turns out too heavy to manage the workload this way.
10. Be Ready to Compromise
Your supervisor may delay your request, no matter how credible your points are. Always be ready to discuss other options, and do not give up. Ask why your offer was denied and how you can prove that you deserve a chance. It may be a good idea to return to this conversation later, for example, on the next annual assessment. If you are sure you have done everything right and flexible working hours are critical, it may be a good reason to quit your job in this company and look for new opportunities.
If this is the case, use global search engines like Indeed.com, where millions of job openings are published, to explore new opportunities. You can put flexible working hours like a keyword to make your search more effective. Please note that the flexible schedule is more typical for copywriters, designers, photographers, jobs in the beauty industry, auditors and tax consultants, etc.
Remember that moving into a flexible schedule should not mean that you put the work in the last place. It should help your life become more convenient and enjoyable and be a win-win solution for you and your employer.
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