How to Ask for a Flexible Work Schedule

How to Get a Flexible Work Schedule at Your Job
by Rachel Andujar
November 09, 2016
This article was written by Rachel Andujar, one of Career Contessa's mentors. You can book a one-on-one session with her to discuss your own career goals. 
The days of clocking in at 9am and clocking out at 5pm are becoming a thing of the past. And the new all-important career buzzword of corporate America is...flexibility.
More companies are now promoting forward-thinking, flexible work schedules. How can you take advantage of these policies while staying on your career track? Or better yet, how can you ask for more work flexibility when a policy doesn't even exist yet?

It can be overwhelming to ask for more flexibility when most people in your office live in their cubicle and face to face meetings seems to be vital to your career success, but stay with me. Here are some steps to start small and maybe even help change your company’s office flexibility culture in the process. I see some future trailblazers in our midst!

Do some research to gather hard facts

Research your company and the policies that it already has in place. Get a good handle on management’s opinion of work flexibility and culture as a whole. Once you really understand your company’s starting point, you can put together a detailed plan customized to your situation specifically.

Then, put together some research on the benefits of workplace flexibility. Here are a few points to get you started.

A study by Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University showed that “Home working led to a 13% increase in productivity.” According to statistics compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, two-thirds of people want to work from home and 36 percent would choose that option over a pay raise. Not only does it make employees happier but it is also cheaper for the employer. IBM actually slashed real estate costs by $50 million with the average real estate savings with a full-time teleworker being $10,000 per employee per year.

To gather more facts, Global Workplace Analytics and 1 Million for Work Flexibility each have some great resources.

Write your telework proposal

Once you have gathered all of the facts, put together your amazing work flexibility proposal. How can you make it amazing? Make sure that it is concise, states the facts and the research, and clearly focuses on how it will benefit the company.

Figure out why you want to telework or work an alternative schedule. How will creating a work arrangement that fits with your working style improve the company? Focus on how this change will improve your productivity and your creativity. By personalizing the arrangement with your work experience and your reasoning, your boss will see how important having more work flexibility really is to you.

Be sure your proposal includes communication details. It’s important to stress the methods of how you will be available to communicate with your staff and colleagues. By spelling out how available you will be even when you are out of office, you can put your boss’s mind at ease. It can also be helpful to suggest starting the arrangement with a trial period to make sure the arrangement works for everyone. 

Schedule the meeting with your boss

Pick a good time to meet with your boss when she is focused and available. That means definitely not right before Friday afternoon happy hour or first thing Monday morning. Be sure to practice the meeting just as you would before any important negotiation. Visualize in your mind that your boss is saying yes! Go to the meeting with your proposal and your confidence.

Try it out

Once your boss says yes, do a trial run for two or three months and schedule a follow-up meeting with your boss. At the meeting, discuss what worked well and what parts of the arrangement need some adjustments. Also, show your boss how much you have accomplished with detailed documentation of your successes.

You can stay on your career track and maybe even climb the ladder faster with work flexibility. By having a work arrangement that matches how you work, you can be more productive, happier, and less stressed. And who doesn’t want that? 
What's your dream work schedule and how does it compare to your current one?