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  • 5 steps to negotiating for flexible work hours

    Do you ever have those days where you wish you could be working from home that day because your child is sick or transport is an issue? You may not be able to work regular hours due to family commitments or health issues. While part-time jobs are not available for most professions, the next best thing is to hold a full-time job with flexible working hours. Follow this 5-step plan to skilfully negotiate this plan with your boss and get approval.


    1. Decide Your Flexibility Needs:

    When you need to attend a child’s weekly soccer training or take them to dance class, you can put in extra hours on certain days of the week to get an entire day off in compensation. If you have family commitments such as caring for aged parents or a small baby, you can work for some of the required hours in the office, leave for home early and complete the remaining hours at night when your dependents are in bed.


    2. Assess Your Working Style:

    If you will be working from home for certain hours in a day or week, plan a quiet place away from the many distractions at home. Put the phone off the hook and do not entertain guests when you are supposed to work. Check how you can access your office network at home and make a list of any special infrastructure you will need to seamlessly continue working from both home and office. Also, refer to your company’s work policy to see if it already supports some form of flex time working.


    3. Get Buy-in of Your Colleagues:

    You may discuss your flexibility options with your colleagues before approaching your boss. If your job is not specialised and can be shared between multiple employees, you can request a co-worker to cover for you on one day and then return the favour on some other day. In this case, you will need to draw up a detailed work schedule to present to your boss. He/she will be impressed with your dedication to the job if you plan for contingencies and backup for emergency situations.


    4. Set Up a Trial Period of Flexible Working:

    Despite all this planning, it is quite likely that your boss will not immediately buy in to your proposed plan. Request him/her to take a few days to reconsider; ask for a trial period to prove that your flexible working plan will not cause any loss to the company. Make sure you stick to your flex schedule, since this is a critical period with your boss closely watching you to monitor your time management and productivity.


    5. Inform Stakeholders:

    Once your boss grants you the requested flexibility, you need to keep all stakeholders informed of your new working hours in and out of the office; this includes co-workers, senior managers and clients. Make sure you stay in touch by giving them your home phone number and an alternate e-mail address if applicable. Just because you’re working from home that day should not mean that business as usual stops.

    So, asking your boss for flexible working hours is not all that difficult if you take a planned, step-wise approach as listed here and provided you are already a relatively high performer and trusted by your manager and team. Prepare a detailed case that shows some benefit to the company. As long as you show the boss that you are committed to your work and that you respect delivery deadlines even with flexible working hours, you are likely to get approval.

    Need help finding a career where you can work from home? Contact us for a Career Counselling session where we can discuss your career options, resume update , interview skills training or your Linkedin profile. Jane Anderson is one of the most highly qualified Career Pratcitioners globally. She is a Master Career Director and Professional Certified Coach based in Brisbane Australia and works with clients from all over the world over the phone, on Skype and face to face. She speaks at the Reinvent your Career Expo and has been featured as the ‘Job Whisperer’ on today tonight, Brisbane Business News, CLEO magazine and news.com.au. Contact us today.


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