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How to ask for flexible working

How to ask for flexible working

In today’s new world of work environment, there’s a surge of working professionals demanding a more flexible approach to the traditional 9-5 working hours or to office-based working in general.

So, if you’re struggling to maintain a healthy work/life balance, it might be time to look into your organisation’s flexible working options.

Here’s how to ask your employer for flexible working:

Follow the protocol.

After you’ve been employed at an organisation for 26 consecutive weeks, you have the legal right to make a request for flexible working hours.

If you’re looking into flexible working, your first port of call is to find out what options are currently available within your organisation. Get in touch with HR and ask if there’s a flexible working policy in place.

Your next step is to make a written request to HR that clearly states that you want to apply for flexible working hours. While the decision to accept or decline your request often lies with the person you directly report to, it’s an important formality that you make a written request before your application can be officially considered.

It is then up to your employer to respond to your request within the next three months - if they deny your request, you’ll have the chance to make an appeal later down the track.

Make it clear what you want.

Before talking with your employer, think carefully about what it is you actually want. For instance, you may want to reduce the amount of hours you work per week, or ask to work 10-hour days across a four-day working week. Or it might suit you to work alongside the school calendar year, or to spend some parts of your day/week working from home.

The most important thing to remember is to be realistic about what you can commit to. If you’re over-stretching yourself, this could leave you feeling tired and burnt out, which in turn will have an impact on your job performance.

Make a plan.

Once you have a clear idea of what it is you’re asking for, your best shot at convincing your employer to allow you flexible working hours is by clearly detailing how this arrangement could work for both parties.

Your employer’s first thought will be the potential impact this change could have on your job performance. Demonstrate to them how you will keep your productivity and quality of work to a high standard.

Write down all your current responsibilities and tasks, then map out how you will meet these obligations during your proposed working patterns.

Keep it positive.

And lastly, when you do make your proposal for flexible working, make sure you keep things positive and professional. The last thing you want to do is convey to your employer that you’ve lost your career ambition or drive, or that you’re struggling to do your job. Make it clear that you love what you do and still want to be put forward for future opportunities or challenges, but that this new arrangement could benefit your productivity, engagement and work performance.

Find out more ways you can improve your work-life balance

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