How to Negotiate Flexible Work Hours

How to Negotiate Flexible Work Hours

Research has shown that the human brain can only concentrate for only about 20 minutes at the same time. This can only mean that the normal 8 to 9 hours schedule is definitely not good for productivity. As an employee, you have the right to request a flexible work schedule without fear of reprisal. We all have different work habits and preferences. The time one employee is most productive might greatly differ from the time another employee is most productive.


Flexible work hours are not only of advantage to the employee but also to the company. This is because an employee performs better when he is not under any kind of stress, mentally or physically. When an employee is happy and satisfied in his workplace, he tends to concentrate better and so, therefore, do a better job. But how can an employee concentrate at work when he probably has tons of work (personal and professional ) to do but has no time to complete it? Working mothers and adults who have elderly ones to look after have a hard time balancing their work life and their personal life. It is this urge to have a good work-life balance that led to the birth of flexible work hours.

A lot of employee-friendly companies have adopted this flexible work schedule while some others remained adamant. With the pandemic forcing companies, churches, and other social places where people gather to shut down, companies all over the world have moved to a remote or hybrid way of work. Workers are changing their work routine, including where, when, and how they work.  A lot of people who never imagined working remotely have actually adapted to the change. As the pandemic is reducing and countries are lifting the ban, a lot of workers are reluctant to go back to work. This could be a result of fear of mixing up with other employees, as the spread of the virus is not entirely curbed. On the other hand, a lot of employees actually enjoyed the flexible routine. If for any reason you find yourself in a situation where you desperately need a flexible work hour, this guide is just what you need to land yourself that amazing work-life balance you have been dreaming of.


Tips for negotiating flexible work hours.

Research your company

The first step is to review your company’s current policies and guidelines. Some companies are very rigid and usually follow a laid down rule that can hardly be changed. While some other companies already have this flexible schedule engraved in their policy or are open to incorporating new things into their policy. If your company is one that is very rigid, then you might as well forget the idea of flexible work hours. On the other hand, if your company is flexible, the policy will also contain guidelines on how to request a flexible work schedule. In a situation where it is not stated, the next thing to do is to ask around your company to get Intel from employees that have requested a flexible schedule. Your focus should be on how they were able to achieve it and also how the journey has been so far.  Speak with mentors to understand how flexible work schedules can be linked to employment issues like performance evaluation, allowances, benefits, promotions, training and compliance issues, and laws. The information you get will help you to determine the next step to take.


Understanding your role could affect team members

Also before taking a decision, you have to think about your job descriptions and how they directly relate to team members. Can your team function optimally without your full presence or will it affect the productivity of the team. This is an important thing to consider since no company will grant a flexible work schedule to an employee at the expense of the growth of the company. If your team is too dependent on you, it will not be an easy task to get a flexible work schedule.


Make a detailed plan

When a flexible work schedule is mentioned, people mostly think is all about the time and place an employee can work from. There are so many things that you can negotiate when asking for a flexible work schedule. This includes but is not limited to time, place, and the nature of the task that your role involves. You can negotiate what work you do and how it can be evaluated. You can achieve this using a process called job crafting. Job crafting is the process of arranging your work responsibilities to fit your strength, passion, and need. Before going to your supervisor to ask for a flexible work schedule, it is important that you have a detailed plan of how to convince him of the relevance of granting your request. It will be more nerve-wracking to just work into a meeting with your supervisor with a vague plan of what you intend to achieve. Make a mental note of the day-by-day schedule of working hours. If you intend to work remotely for some days, it will be wise to include the days you plan to work remotely and the reason why you need to work remotely. For instance, if you have a recurring medical appointment on a particular day, note it down. This is a situation beyond your control, your employer should be able to understand this.


Draft a written proposal

Before diving into the process of negotiating flexible work hours, it is important to identify the list of things an employee could negotiate for. After you have carefully created a detailed plan, the next is to pen it down. Draft the proposal you intend to submit to your employer. This will aid communication, as your employer will be able to see how everything correlates with each other. You should try a make a copy too, one for yourself and the other for your manager/supervisor.

Your proposal should include but is not limited to the following:

  • Why do you want a flexible work schedule?
  • How you will maintain steady communication with your boss, client, and colleagues.
  • How you will accomplish the work and achieve the goals set for you by your manager.
  • How the effectiveness of the flexible work schedule can be regularly reviewed.
  • The necessary support you will need from your manager to make the flexible arrangement successful.
  • Any specific needs you have related to your job role and responsibilities


Communicate the benefit with your employer

Every employer has a duty of care for their employees. So the physical and mental health of the employees is to be taken into account.  Putting up solutions to address any problem is the best way to put yourself up for success. It is necessary you communicate the benefits your employer stands to gain by granting your request. If leaving work earlier than usual to pick up your kids from school will help reduce the stress of rushing back and forth between school and the office, and let your employer know how it affects your productivity at work. Some individuals are nocturnal in nature, these set of people have a more active life at night than during the day. Such a person can ask to work for lesser hours during the day, while they do the rest remotely.


Suggest a trial period

If your organization is one that has never had a flexible work arrangement for any employee, your manager might be skeptical about granting your request. So to ease everyone’s mind, you can suggest a trial period. It could be for a month or quarter of the year. If at the end of the trial period, there is no slack in your performance then your employer will not only permit you to continue this way but will also be open to granting such a flexible work schedule to other employees.


Be open about any support

Do not try to accomplish it all by yourself, just because you want to prove it is a working theory. It is okay to ask for assistance, especially when there are certain tools you need to be made available to ease your transition. This can include a laptop, a working wi-fi, storage devices, etc.


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