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How to ask for a flexible work arrangement

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About 78% of workers report that flexible work arrangements (working part time, or remotely, or during non-typical work hours) represent a positive influence on their productivity. 

Want to be one of those who enjoys a self-made schedule but don’t know how to ask? The first thing to do is to figure out the policies, possibilities, and ways of flexible working practices within your company. Here's how: 

Know your rights  
Every U.S. employee now possesses the right to request a flexible work arrangement, but it didn't start out that way. In 2002, only those workers who had to take care of children or sick relatives could change their schedule. In 2012, the flexible work option was extended to all employees. Under current law, an employee may submit an application to the employer for a permanent change in conditions related to working time or location. But just because you're allowed to ask, doesn't mean your employer has to grant your request.

Flexible work arrangements have advantages for both the employer and employee. Workers enjoy improved work-life balance and greater job satisfaction. Employers benefit from enhanced loyalty and better recruitment possibilities (since new candidates may want flexible options too). 

Check out company’s policies 
Look through company policies to find out if your employer offers flexible work arrangements. Ask colleagues who have secured a flexible work environment how they secured the arrangement. Or, ask a specialist in your company who handles the paperwork for such arrangements.     

Write the request  
Don’t worry if your company doesn’t yet implement flexible working policies. The law lays down a framework to follow. The application can only be made after you've been employed with the company for 26 weeks. It must be in written form to your boss, dated correctly and include the dates of any previous requests that you've made for flexible arrangements with your employer.  

Mention all details  
Most likely, your boss will will want to discuss the request with you personally, but that doesn’t mean your written request should be brief. Include in your written request all factors that predisposed you to submit it, tell what changes you require (working from home, part-time, or different hours), and explain how it will affect your work performance.  

Remind them you’re still ambitious 
Reaffirm to your managers that you still have the drive to work for them. Some employers wrongly conclude that reduced working hours or other flexible arrangements lead to decreased productivity. To prove your loyalty to your company, remind them where you see yourself in five years within the organization and explain to them how you will hope to grow and be promoted in your career.  

Show that your new schedule will benefit all  
Reinforce that you and your managers will benefit from your workplace flexibility. Provide them with a list of duties that they can expect you to complete and how any gaps in work coverage can be handled. Prove that the amount and quality of your work won’t change significantly.  

Be realistic  
Don’t expect your duties to become less demanding when you start working flexible hours. High expectations placed on you will continue. Also keep in mind that your salary may change if you go part time or work less hours. Discuss all such issues like time and payment before you make the change.  

Sell your request in a positive light  
Be ready to explain the reasons for your request as positively, but honestly as possible. For example, say that by eliminating your long daily commute, you can spend more concentrated time strategizing on how to increase sales.   

Be confident 
Once you’ve determined your reasons for a flexible schedule, proved your ability to handle it and negotiated with the boss, it’s time to demonstrate your confidence that a flexible arrangement will work. Emphasize with confidence that you’re 100% ready to succeed with a flexible work arrangement.  

Ask in advance 
If you’re a job seeker in search of a company offering flexible arrangements, mention your desire for that type of position in the interview. Usually, companies with flexible work arrangements mention it in the job description. If it is not mentioned, check company policy. You may be asked to work in the office for a couple of months before shifting to a flexible schedule.  

Make adjustments as needed
Once you've shifted to a flexible work arrangement, keep in constant communication with coworkers through instant messaging, email, or online portal or intranet. Doing so lets them know you are on the job. Respond quickly to requests and ask colleagues to notify you if problems arise due to your flexible schedule so that you can make needed changes. 

flexible work arrangement

In conclusion
While some work is involved in securing a flexible work arrangement, it can be a real possibility with many companies. Here's to hoping flexibility is in your future!  

About the author: 
Alice Berg is a blogger and a career advisor at Skillroads, who helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people get prepared for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter and Medium

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