Negotiations: How To Get The Super Salary Of Your DreamsDecember 21, 2023
What You Need to Know to Find a Purpose-filled CareerJanuary 26, 2024
Working an alternative schedule or working wherever you want isn’t that big of a stretch in 2023. Due to COVID-19, companies have been more open to hybrid, remote, and alternative schedules for their employees. Flexible schedules can provide a stronger work-life balance for employees. If you start to feel the weight of your responsibilities outside of work, you may think to yourself: How do I ask my boss for flexible work arrangements? Well, worry not, my Padawan – let’s go over the research, the preparation, and the big question you’ll present to your boss!
Understand Your Job
The possibility of having flexible work hours depends solely on the line of work you’re in. If you are an engineer, a firefighter, or a doctor, you likely won’t be much help if you are working on your tablet. However, if you are a writer, graphic designer, or an insurance agent, the likelihood of a remote job schedule is greater. Depending on what arrangements you’re asking for, make sure you can adequately do your job.
A “trial period” may be a good way to introduce the practicality of a flexible schedule. A trial period could be two months of working a flexible schedule for your boss to properly evaluate your efficiency. If your position is usually in-person, this is a great option for transitioning into a flexible work schedule.
If your job is primarily in-person, the possibility of working remotely is slim, but an alternative schedule is possible. For example, say you are in a field where you work from your computer most of the time, remote work is definitely feasible. These are great options for those in need of a schedule that values a greater work-life balance.
Why Ask For Flexibility at Work?
Why are you interested in a flexible work schedule? Maybe you have other responsibilities that need care and attention like:
- A second job
- A passion project
- Starting your own business
If you can check off at least one thing on this list – congratulations! These are responsibilities to bring up to your boss for why a flexible work arrangement would be helpful.
On the other hand, practicality is important regarding work arrangements; not commuting to work in heavy traffic, the ability to attend to tasks at various hours, avoiding an office schedule, and more.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of reasons not to ask for work arrangements:
- Drinking piña coladas by the pool while working
- Eating a milk pail of custard in bed during a meeting
These are not good reasons to ask for flexibility in your work schedule. If you are a new employee, or have shown difficulty working on location, you should give yourself some time to improve your performance. You must be an invaluable employee because that will enable you to have more options. Through time, you will become more confident in your position to take on a flexible work arrangement.
Your Boss Isn’t the Boogeyman
You may have a phobia that is sweeping the nation! Being afraid of your boss. There isn’t anything to worry about, because your supervisor wants you to succeed. Ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Realistically, your boss will either embrace your idea to work flexible arrangements or they will have objections.
Always prepare for objections to any proposal you have at work. Your boss will be thinking about your idea from all angles to make sure it is not half-baked. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and think of all the objections you can come up with; some questions you have answers to now, some questions you may have to get back to them.
If you are in desperate need of work arrangements, instead of thinking how embarrassed or humiliated you may feel after asking, think about what could potentially happen. You want to solve problems, not be one. A valuable employee like yourself is always looking for solutions and if working an alternate schedule can be the solution… go for it!
A Strong Case for Preparation
Your boss’s work performance is directly tied to the quality of yours. So, you need to be a valuable employee in order to be considered for flexible work arrangements. Always ask questions, no matter how long you’ve been working for the company. The reason being is you are always looking for ways to improve; to have a better understanding of all of the moving parts that let the job run smoothly. Having a dedicated employee will earn your boss’s respect, which will lead to more opportunities. You’re advancing in your position, as well as being taken more seriously by the person above you… how can you go wrong?
Preparation breeds confidence. For example, if you know your performance at work has been good, discuss specific instances when you were excelling at work to display your capabilities. Another example is simply not knowing the answer to a question; ask your co-workers or higher-ups to retrieve certain information you need to have your case be foolproof.
The New York Times best selling author, Daniel Pink, discusses the “0-10 scale” strategy in his book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Primarily, the 0-10 scale strategy is an ice-breaker strategy where, as an employee, you ask your boss “On a scale from 0-10, how do you feel about a flexible schedule being put into place?” Of course, you’ll need to elaborate more on what it is you are asking for; you could be referring to hybrid work, remote work, or working an alternate schedule. However, this will be the meter of your proposal. If they reply with a low or a high number, you become aware of their acceptance or concern with your proposal.
If your boss’s number is low, the right approach would be to open the floor to them to ask questions. Calming the storm with answers you’ve researched will reassure your boss that you want to cooperate. If your boss’s number is high, ask them about the extent of how open they are with an employee working a flexible schedule.
The questions your boss will undoubtedly ask you:
- Why do you want flexible work arrangements?
- How will you be able to work flexible hours?
Persuade your boss by having a case for how this will benefit your company, not just you. If they want to know why, you could make a case that you will be more productive not commuting and spending that time focusing on other priorities that need to be taken care of. If you want to work remotely, you can make a case that you would have more time in the day to focus on work and destress, instead of trying to cram it into a fixed schedule. Prepare a list of hours you are available each day of the week for your boss for the schedule transition.
Again, building trust within the company as a valuable employee is huge. Convey to your boss how you will continue to display high work performance standards with the upcoming changes.
When, Where, and How?
Send an email, or stop by your boss’s desk, and let them know about your interest in having a meeting related to the work schedule. Say it with me: Never discuss it through email or texting. Why? You are trying to have a difficult conversation with your boss. If you are just texting your supervisor that you want them to reorganize your schedule at your request… it’s not as professional as sending an email or having a one-on-one meeting. The case you’ve been working on will be put to better use in a meeting, phone call, or video conference call.
Do research, jot down your availability throughout the week, proposition during the meeting. Practice until you have a lot of the information memorized so you don’t freeze in case you forget something.
Once you are in the meeting, implement the “0-10 scale strategy” mentioned before. Present your responsibilities outside of work, the hours you’re available during the week, a tentative work schedule plan, and make sure you ask them if they have any questions as well. If they have a specific question you don’t have the answer for, tell them you will notify them as soon as possible.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Research the job market, understand your industry, prepare your case for the meeting, and answer any questions or concerns from your manager. Companies have been more understanding of flexible work arrangements, due to the popularity of remote work. The world is on your side and you don’t have to go down a career rabbit hole! Be honest with your boss, and never be afraid to go after what you want. Working a schedule that will benefit you and your company is just around the corner… you rockstar, you!
Try out more career tricks for treats by reading our other blogs! Have a Super Day!
Hi, I’m Nicholas Merlau. I’m a Comedy Content Writer at Super Purposes. I love humor, because it’s the best way to connect with others.