Panic! You’ve made a mistake at work by emailing the wrong person or angered a client who now refuses to pay for your services….
Four-day work weeks and flexible working hours have been a recent hot topic, and you may be able to implement this at your workplace. Some companies still have a strict and archaic view of flexibility but thankfully, more and more companies are now adopting this modern way of working because of the benefits.
The freedom to work on your own terms is a gift and, if it hasn’t been implemented in your workplace, here are some ways you could introduce the idea to your employer.
You have the right to ask for flexible working
What you may not know is that you have the right to ask your employer for more flexibility. Even though they may turn down the request, they still need to give a valid reason.
For the formal approach, you need to have worked at the company for at least 26 weeks. If your work doesn’t have clear boundaries about flexible work and are strict for requests for different working times, check your contract. If it states nothing about flexible working hours, make a ‘statutory application’ as advised on the GOV website.
A statutory application is where you set out the working pattern you would like to follow and the date you would like to begin this new pattern. The application should explain the proposed change and how it may affect your workload and team, though you won’t have to explain why you are making a request if you don’t want your employer to know.
On the other hand, some companies have a more unstructured environment where it’s very much known that flexible work is allowed for all employees. If you feel you haven’t been given the opportunity to work from home yet though everyone else has, then ask your employer.
Make it worth your employer’s while
Companies often turn down flexible working requests because they’re simply not familiar with the concept, fear that employees will not finish tasks or misuse the hours without being productive. When you start negotiating, outline a plan of how flexible hours will actually benefit the company. For example, present a checklist of tasks that can be reviewed on a weekly basis. Also, show them how you can fit your work hours around necessary life commitments like picking up the kids from school.
Show you can manage your tasks effectively
Flexible working shouldn’t limit your tasks; it should help you manage them more effectively. If flexible work is a no-go and isn’t part of your work culture, introduce small suggestions—if you have to attend an appointment that isn’t work-related, then the hour will be made up after your normal working hours.
Be realistic about flexible hours
Would flexible hours be the best choice for you? Be honest with yourself. Working different hours in a different environment may not result in a better work-life balance and higher productivity. Don’t see this as an opportunity to slack off since you won’t be monitored, because you’ll still need to work just as hard.
Though it may seem ideal, keep in mind that flexible hours can also lead to plenty of distractions or procrastination, eventually requiring more effort to ensure your tasks are completed.
Bring up flexible working in your new job role
Before applying for a job, assess its work culture. The job role may already give you the impression before applying for the job. However, if it’s not clear, then bring up the question in the interview.
At the end of the day, you need to finish your tasks and if you can only achieve that with strictly scheduled hours, flexible working might not be the solution. Even though flexible working allows you to manage your work-life balance, you need to consider what’s best for you and your job responsibilities.
“Flexible working is smart working” – Richard Branson, The Virgin Group Founder