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Flex Success Part 1

19 March 2012 One Comment

In the five years since having my eldest child, short of working full time for just over a year, and only then because I started a new job, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on a flexible basis for most of this time.

I returned to work on a part time basis after maternity leave with my second child and more recently successfully negotiated a flexible working pattern when my daughter started school – which is a good thing really as school pick up time just after 3pm does not slot nicely into the working day!

Having your boss agree to flexible working could be easier than you might think. Here are my top tips for successfully negotiating a flexible working pattern.

1. Check out what your company policy is.  You might be surprised at the various types of flexible working on offer. Part time, variable hours, term time working, job share are just some options. Flexible working can mean very different things; there may be more opportunities available to you than you think.

2. Be prepared to state a rounded case.  Of course you should document the benefits a flexible working pattern will bring you, but also take into consideration the benefits a revised working pattern can bring to the business. Note the operational challenges which may arise too, and consider how you could counteract these. The onus is on you to consider the full picture, and showing your boss that you have considered the plus points and the less favourable implications, and can suggest viable ways of mitigating these should stand you in good stead.

3. Do your research. Sound out colleagues to gain their views, talk to people who already work flexibly, understand what works for them, and ask them what works less well. The experiences of others in your organisation may help you better prepare for presenting a more rounded case to your boss.

4. Remember your customers. A flexible working pattern may work fantastically well for you, fitting in nicely with childcare arrangements or your partners work schedules. But don’t forget the others that this could impact – your team, your customers. Do remember however, not all customer demands fit within the traditional 9-5 any longer, your availability in the evenings or very early in the morning may actually solve an organisational issue.

5. Know your compromise position. Monday to Wednesday might be your preferred option but if it just isn’t suitable for your business, they can decline your request. Perhaps you are needed on a Thursday rather than a Monday, could you work Tuesday to Thursday instead?  Could you work every alternate Friday for example if the concern is that you are needed around more often than you are proposing? Knowing what other options you’d be able to make work gives you a compromise position if your request is unable to be accommodated.

Guest post by Julie-Ann Murphy of www.supermummy.co.uk

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