How to ask your boss for flexibility

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How to ask your boss for flexibility

As a working mom, your life is demanding. You’re juggling many balls including family and work life. Every day you’re trying to integrate these two which, at times, can be challenging. Whether you’re a single mom or have a partner, you probably require a level of flexibility in the workplace to manage your priorities and seemingly neverending To-Do list. Approaching the subject of asking your boss for flexibility in the workplace might feel daunting and possibly even stressful. But it is essential to create a life for yourself that isn’t unnecessarily stressful while keeping the needs of the business in mind.

“Change what you can, manage what you can’t.”  - Raymond McCauley   

We thought to offer you a bit of help in this department by providing you with a guide on how to approach the subject with your boss. 

1. Be clear about what type of flexibility you want

Start by thinking about what flexibility looks like for you. What type of flexibility would you require to support your needs? Is it workplace flexibility (where you work), or time flexibility (the number of hours you work)? There is a myriad of flexible options available. The best one will be the one that meets both your needs and that of the business. Part-time work, hybrid working, full-time in the office with some flexibility and even start and finish time flexibility are just some examples of flexible ways of working. This could include the 4-day work week which is currently a hot topic in South Africa.

2. Assess your work culture

If there already is a culture of flexibility in your workplace, this is a positive sign. Having that conversation with your boss will be a lot easier. If not, then move on to the next step which is planning your conversation with your boss.

3. Start your planning

Be prepared for potential objections. Be clear about what you want and how this will benefit you whilst not compromising your work commitments. Because you are clear about what you want and how you will continue to deliver productivity, negotiating your proposed flexible terms should be an easy, fact-based discussion. Be open to a level of compromise required from both you and your boss as the process unfolds. 

4. Be prepared for objections

Objections are to be expected but because you’ve thought clearly and planned thoroughly for this discussion you will be prepared to answer potential objections your boss may have. Remember to handle objectives with a clear head and without emotional outbursts. Focus on reasonable facts. Possibly offer a trial period to prove to your boss that this could work. Remember to get all agreements and measures in writing.

5. Start searching

If you have exhausted all your options in your current workplace and flexibility is not a viable option then that’s ok too. Instead of forcing the issue with your boss then find other solutions. One is, to start searching for alternative employment. There are many alternatives to staying in your current position. You have a choice to leave.


Remaining in a job that makes you unhappy could have a negative impact on your mental well-being and possibly result in burnout and you quietly quitting. Always remember to do what’s best for your needs. This is one of the most important priorities in your career. RecruitMyMom respects your need for work-life integration and offers permanent, hybrid or work-from-home employment opportunities for skilled women like you.