Updated 4 January. The original article was written on 14 July 2017.
Flexible work comes in various types. The most common type is flexible start and finish times. This enables you to keep to your morning routine and miss the traffic. Flexible work can also mean that you have a predetermined amount of hours to work per day, but you decide when or where to work. We all work differently and our daily demands are as individual as we are, so flexible work means that we have the opportunity to be at our most productive.
Here are a few tips on how to approach your employer when asking for flexibility in your work day/week.
Identify measurable outputs
A concern many employers have when giving their staff flexibility is: will the person work, or will they be off to the gym or a coffee shop for a break? The way to counter this concern is to identify tasks that you do that can be done out of office and are measurable. An example might be that you need to input a certain amount of data into a spreadsheet every day. This is a measurable output that can be done out of office. Approach your employer with a list of specific measurable tasks that you could possibly do remotely during working hours.
Reassure the employer that the team won’t suffer
Collaboration and team-work are important for any organization. Having several team members working remotely will raise concerns for an employer as to the impact of the effectiveness of the team. Think through your own team dynamic and come up with solutions so as to ensure that team collaboration will not suffer because of remote working. An example might be that once a day the entire team has a conference or video call together to discuss the day.
Show the employer that you understand the implications for the whole organization
Employers want to treat employees equally. Giving one-person flexibility may have a snowball effect for the employer on the entire organization. The way to approach this concern is to start discussing the possibility of introducing a flexible work policy for the entire company. This policy would cover different aspects of flexible working practices for all employees.
Over-communicate in a flexible work environment
If your employer is open to flexible working, ensure that you as an employee over-communicate with your employer and team members. This will assist in reducing any miscommunication or concerns about a lack of productivity when not in the office. The onus is on you the employee to demonstrate your output and commitment to the team and organization at all times.
Flexible working is earned, it is not a right. Employers who see value, work ethic and commitment in an employee will be more open to a discussion on flexible work arrangements. Showing your employer that you have thought through the implications of flexible working from his/her perspective will make having this discussion a lot easier.
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