Negotiating Flexibility

negotiating flexibilityWhen it comes to flexibility, people often think of work that’s less than the regular number of hours expected each week, like part-time. However flexible work can actually be any alternative working arrangement that allows employees the ability to work when they can and still meet the required number of working hours.
If you’re a parent or a carer who is currently working and is considering negotiating flexibility with your employer then here are a few easy steps to follow:

1. Do your research. Start with the policies of your organisation.  If your organisation has a flexible work policy or telecommuting policy, then simply read through the options that are available for you. If there aren’t any existing policies, as is often the case on this subject, look for employees who have some flexibility and speak to them about how they went about securing their flexible work arrangement.  Beyond that, consider looking at what similar companies to yours have in place.

2. Talk to the experts. Have a conversation with the HR people in your organisation about flexibility.  The manager should be able to advise you of all the details relating to flexible work arrangements.  If you work in a smaller company that doesn’t have a HR team, consider talking with someone that has experience in dealing with HR matters, internally or externally.  If all else fails, there is plenty of data on the internet regarding workplace flexibility to help you understand the topic better.

3. Prepare your facts. Put together a proposal that outlines your request for flexibility. The items that should be included are the following:

  • The reason for requesting for flexibility
  • The flexible arrangement you’re requesting for (i.e. part-time, job share, telecommuting, etc.)
  • The impact to your tasks and responsibilities and how they can be completed even if you have flexible work arrangements
  • The possible impact to your co-workers, customers, supervisor
  • The cost or savings that may be associated to the flexible work arrangement you’re requesting
  • The reason why you’d be an effective worker with flexible work and how this can be measured

NB: If you’re looking for a purpose-built flexibility proposal template that works incredibly well, try Work Options. They provide a range of documents via their website that contain all the facts on the various types of flexible arrangements and they have a proven track record of getting results.

4. Submit your request. Submit your request for flexibility in writing along with all your supporting data.  Remember that additional meetings might be required to talk about the flexible work arrangement and how you and the organisation can make it work. If you’ve used a template or copied content from the internet as a basis for your proposal, be sure that you understand it completely before you get to this point.

5. Celebrate and re-evaluate. Once you’ve secured the flexibility you sought out, don’t just leave it at that. Set regular meetings with your manager to talk specifically about your flexible work arrangement and how effective it’s been.  Make sure you discuss what has worked for you and even more importantly what aspects of the arrangement could be improved.  And then aim to make the improvements.

Have you ever been successful at securing a flexible arrangement at your workplace or do you know anyone who has? How did you/they go about it? What methods did you/they use?


Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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