How to Approach Your Boss About Flexible Working

by Jobbatical January 08, 2019
remote work, flexible work, digital nomad

Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular, with many businesses recognizing the need to help their employees to achieve a better work-life balance.

Photo by: GaudiLab/Shutterstock.

There’s a number of reasons why you may want to work more flexibly, whether it’s to balance work around family life, avoid long commutes or even just have the opportunity to work from home when you’re not feeling great.

But despite its growing popularity, a number of businesses still aren’t actively promoting flexible working options for their staff. Well, unless we’re talking about Jobbatical where it has become a norm.

If you think this style of working could be beneficial to you, you do have the right to approach your boss and ask for it. To help you prepare, CV-Library has put together its tips for approaching your boss about flexible working.

Decide what type of flexible working you want

There are a number of options available to you when it comes to flexible working. You might want to work from home a couple of days a week or you may wish to reduce your hours slightly.

Alternatively, you might request flexi-time, allowing you to start and finish work either earlier or later, depending on what is the best fit for your lifestyle.  

So, before you approach your boss, you need to make sure you know what type of flexible working you’re after. After all, it’s no good starting a discussion with them if you’re unsure of what you actually want from the arrangement.

You also need to be realistic in what you expect. Put some careful thought into what is going to work best for both you and the business.

Understand the formalities and your rights

No matter how well you get on with your boss, you can’t just breeze into their office and ask for flexible working. At least not in the UK. 

Before your request can be approved, you need to submit a formal letter or email to your manager. This is called a statutory request. Your employer then has three months to consider your proposal and give you an answer.

Your dated email or letter must outline exactly what you’re asking for and show that you’ve considered the impact this will have on the business. You must also give a strong case as to why this could be beneficial for both parties.

Photo by: bbernard/Shutterstock.

To increase the chances of your request being accepted, include the date in which you’d like the new arrangement to start. It’s important to note that you can only put in one formal request for flexible working per year.

Putting in a formal application doesn’t mean you can’t speak to your boss about this in person. Either before or after you’ve sent your request, you can set up a meeting with them to explain why you’re asking for flexible working and what you’re after.

This can help to speed up the process, particularly if they’re happy for you to adapt your working style. In this case, the letter is just a formality.

Don’t be negative about the current situation

There are a number of reasons why you might request flexible working. It may be that you want a better work-life balance, that you have family commitments or that the long daily commute is having a negative impact on your wellbeing.

Whatever the reason behind it, try not to be too negative about your current situation when talking to your boss. After all, complaining about your hours could make it look like you’re not coping so well at work.

Therefore, instead of being negative about the current situation, focus your energy on shouting about why this could be a great opportunity for you and how this will have a positive impact on the business.

In turn, this is more likely to resonate well with your manager, making them more likely to agree to your request.

What to do if your request gets rejected

If your boss turns down your request, they have to give a valid reason as to why they’ve reached this decision. They’ll outline this formally in a letter, but they may also choose to speak to you in person to explain their decision in more detail.

If you believe they have unfairly dismissed your request, you can challenge them on this. But be careful if you choose to do so. With many employers now offering flexible working to their staff, it might be time to search for a new job elsewhere, with an employer who is happy to meet your needs.

Are you ready to ask for flexible working?

This style of working is becoming increasingly popular among professionals and businesses. If you want to approach your boss to ask for flexible working, you’re perfectly within your rights to do so.

But before you do, make sure you know exactly what it is you’re asking for and follow all formal procedures, to give yourself the best chance of your request being accepted.


Author’s Bio

Natashia Larkin is PR & Communications Assistant for the fastest-growing job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice.

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