Any mother who has worked a 9-to-5 job knows the value of a flexwork schedule. You can get more quality time with your kids if you can pick up your children from school a few times per week, pop in on the daycare center in the afternoon, or simply work while your children are in school or asleep. Sounds simple, right? If your office offers flexwork situations, take advantage of alternative work schedules that best suit your needs. But if it's up to you to set the precedent in your office, here are a few ways to propose and secure a flexwork schedule.
Plan Your Flexwork Proposal
1. Devise a Flexwork Schedule. Before you can successfully secure flexwork, first plan the type of work situation that will work best for you. Do you want to work while your children are in school? Do you prefer working in the evening or on the weekends when your husband is at home with the children? Do you want to work from home a few days per week? Be specific when devising the flexwork schedule. In other words, don't just say, "I'd like to work from home two days per week." Instead, identify the days that would be easiest and most beneficial for you to work at home. For example, you'll propose working from home on Mondays and Fridays because those are days when your schedule is free of client meetings and conference calls.
2. Make Sure Your Proposed Schedule Will Work For Your Employer. If you want the best chance of securing a flexwork schedule, make sure to propose one that will be beneficial to both yourself and your employer. If it works for you to work weekends, but wouldn't do much for your employer, then that's not the flexwork situation to propose. When you make your proposal, be sure to point out the benefits to the company. This will help build your case for achieving a flexwork schedule.
3. Choose The Right Time To Propose a Flexwork Schedule to Your Employer. There's always a good and bad time to initiate a talk with your boss. Don't decide to approach a flexwork schedule conversation at a time when your office is notoriously busy. For example, if you work for an accounting firm, the height of tax season is probably not the best time to initiate a flexwork situation talk with your boss. Identify the opportune time to have this conversation, and ask for a meeting at that time.
4. Have a Plan For Easing Into The Transition. Don't ask your boss for a flexwork schedule that will start in a few days. Suggest a timeframe for when this flexwork schedule can start. For example if you're going to take a maternity leave, it could occur on your return to work. In your proposal, explain how you can transition into this schedule. Have all the details worked out for how clients will reach you, how you will work from home, and what technology is needed, among other considerations.
5. Put Your Proposal in Writing. Although you'll likely have a verbal conversation with your boss about a schedule with flexible hours, it's good to put your plan in writing as well. In writing, you can include all the necessary details about how this flexwork schedule will mutually benefit yourself and the company.
Secure a Flexwork Schedule
1. Schedule A Meeting. Ask your boss to meet with you to discuss a flexwork schedule. Be sure to go into the meeting prepared with your written plan, and a confident verbal proposal that will pique your employer's interest, and make him or her want to hear more. Do this by using persuasive language, such as, "this greatly benefits the company because I'll be more productive," and always speak in a positive, upbeat tone.
2. Accentuate The Benefits For Your Employer. In your presentation to your boss, make sure to show the upside and all the benefits to the company that your flexible work schedule will create. It could be that you'll have after business hours time for clients, or projects that can be done on-site on the weekends to better accommodate clients' needs.
3. Be Ready To Compromise. If you're met with less than enthusiasm from your boss, but you don't receive a flat out "no," be ready to compromise. If your boss says your plan isn't good for a particular reason, tell him or her you're willing to work with the company to come up with a flexwork schedule that will mutually benefit both the company and your situation. It may help to have a "Plan B,” or an alternative proposal in case your first one doesn't win your employer's approval.