Tips for Negotiating a Flexible Work Arrangement

You may find that a more flexible work arrangement with your employer may be exactly what is needed in your life to create a healthier work/life balance right now. Once you are ready to make the transition from the traditional nine to five schedules into a more flexible working schedule, the next step is to discuss it with your employer. While many businesses have embraced flexible working hours for their employees, there are some that may still be wary about adopting these flexible work schedules.

We have created four tips to help prepare you for a conversation with your employer about making the transition into a more flexible schedule:

Lay out the benefits to your employer

Changing your work schedule will certainly benefit you and your work/ life balance but what you need to make clear for your employer is how it will benefit them and the company. Take the time before your meeting to write a clear case outlining the various ways in which providing you with this flexible work option that the company will benefit.

Make the approach from the point of view of your employer. Point out what’s in it for them. Set out the productivity benefits by quoting relevant research and case studies. Point to how a distributed team network can reduce costs and increase profits. Demonstrate how a remote working policy can benefit  the long term benefits of employee wellbeing and in turn corporate culture. Mention how a remote friendly company can attract top talent in the business.

Research For Success

Do your research on decision makers within your organisation. Have they published any blog posts? Are they on any external boards or committees? Have they been involved in the publication of any papers or reports? Are they active on Social Media? This will help to provide an insight into their thinking and to discover whether they have leanings towards what you are proposing.

You could also take a look at your employee handbook which will have given you when you were hired. This will outline the basic rules and regulations the company has regarding work arrangements. If you have not received an employee handbook then you will have received a work contract. Either of these should give you guidelines on where your company stands regarding a change to work hours and could be a good place to start.

Use The Feedback

After putting forward your case for an enhanced remote working ask first for your employers views on what you are proposing and listen carefully to the response. Make sure that your request is balanced and based on their feedback. Be reasonable. If the answer is no then resolve to accept that and perhaps revisit the issue another time. If it’s a “maybe later” response then agree to accept that but ask if you could prepare some ideas that might address your employers specific concerns.

Getting feedback will provide invaluable insight that you may not have considered previously. Perhaps your employers hesitation is based not on absenteeism but on data protection, client confidentiality,  or health and safety concerns. You won’t know until you ask and finding out will present and opportunity to address concerns. Be proactive in addressing concerns. You could even offer to draft initial guidelines. Think outside the box.

Ask for a trial period

If your initial approach is well received, you could suggest an initial trial period to see how it works in practice. A starting point might be two days a month of working from home. Take this as your opportunity to make good on the employer benefits that will arise as this will give you the opportunity to demonstrate the positive aspects of having flexible work arrangements within the company.