There is nothing more satisfying than having a job that you love and knowing that you can work flexibly while you do it. No rigid 9-5. No rigid schedule that you have to stick to. No battle to negotiate flexible time off when the kids have a school play. Negotiation is the spice of working life, but if you’ve managed to negotiate a flexible work schedule before you even start your job, you’re going to have everything that you wanted to have without too much effort.
The advantages of a flexible schedule for employees are growing by the day with the fact that we now live in a time where telecommuting is more of a possibility than ever. In every industry, negotiating a flexible schedule is a possibility, from the locum tenens physician staffing in the medical world to the freelance possibilities in the design world. Flexible working is soon going to be the norm, and it’s everything that people who hate the commute want to achieve. The way that you negotiate a flexible working schedule has to be with putting the employer in the forefront of your mind; if they can see that there is a benefit to your wish for flexibility, you are far more likely to gain that flexible contract that you so covet. If you’re not a fan of negotiation, you can go for other methods of asking.
Figure out whether there are others in the same organisation that you are in who are working a flexible schedule. If you know that there have been others granted flexibility, you are going to be able to build yourself a case for you working from home, too, whether this is part-time or round the working week. You need to come up with a plan for asking for a flexible contract. If you’re in an interview for this job, it’s easy, because you can talk about what the company expects from you and ask about flexibility before you’ve even signed a contract. However, if you’re asking about flexibility while working for your employer, you need a plan. You can’t make demands, but you can make a case with evidence to back up your questions.
You have to make sure that your plan benefits your employer. What would be the reason you need to work flexibly? If it’s childcare, you can talk about the fact that the distraction of children at home can put you off the tasks that you are doing at work; being at home would stop that distraction. You can sit together to agree the standards of communication that they expect and how you hope to meet those standards. You could even approach them with the suggestion of working a flexible schedule on a trial basis first and if it’s working out, move to a permanent contract that way. Whatever the reasons for your need to work away from the office, you need to have a concise argument for it. Happy employees equal a productive staff – make sure that you make that point!