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by Louise Deverell-Smith

How To Ask For Flexible Working

When you’re in full time work, asking for flexible working to suit your life balance can seem daunting, especially if you’re leading the path or flying the solo flag for the cause.

What’s worth always remembering though is that you are fully within your rights to ask for flexible working as long as you’ve been employed in your current role for 26 weeks.

The onus is also on your employer to fully understand what flexible working is, the parameters and what they offer as a business. If they don’t know, you need to make sure they find out and talk to them when they do.

Here are few tips on mentioning the F word:

Really know what you’re asking for.

Go in with a structured plan and stick to it. For example, if you’re wanting to condense your hours to have a Friday off, work out exactly what this looks like. Do you take 30minutes lunch break instead of an hour each day, for example. What are the new hours you are proposing? 

Are you looking to share a role with someone else in a similar position? If so, get your proposal straight in terms of hours, salary, commitment and work load so that you can present it to your employer in a solution-focused way. 

Managing worries

When some employers hear the words ‘flexible working’, they automatically associate that with reduced productivity, time out the office and an impact on their commercial outcome. 

All of this as we know isn’t accurate but in order to manage these worries, try and pre-empt them and have solutions ready for your employer.

Reassure them that even if your hours are less, the output won’t be (put it in a spreadsheet if necessary), that you time in the office will be nothing but productive and that you are dedicated to your role and the company. 

The people in charge want to feel reassured and don’t want to ever regret the decision to allow for flexible working. If – hopefully – this practice is already happening in your workplace and it’s working well, reference it and praise them for championing this way of working. 

Point out the benefits

There’s no harm in massaging their ego slightly and saying that you are proud to work for an organization that is championing flexible working and that you are banging their drum in your circles as a forward-thinking employer. 

Do your research and reference other leading business examples from all over the world where flexible working is succeeding and ensure you point out that they are part of this leading worldwide need and expectation.

Remember why you’re asking for it

Always keep the reason you’re asking for flexible working at the forefront of your mind. It might be to help with childcare, to save costs or to just give you a better work/life balance – whatever it is, know that this is the overriding reason you are in that office, having that conversation. And keep strong! You’ve got this! 

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