The traditional 9-to-5 work model is no longer the only option for employees seeking a healthy work-life balance and flexible working can greatly improve employee wellbeing and work output.
That said, finding the balance in flexible working to ensure everyone is kept happy can be tricky for both HR teams and your team at home, and a poorly negotiated flexible working arrangement can lead to disruption within the workplace and for employees personally.
So, how do you get it right? How do you win the time for a longer breakfast, dazzle your boss at your next appraisal, and ensure HR is on board to understand how your needs might change? Let’s explore the steps to successfully negotiate flexible work arrangements.
Getting Your Flexible Working Arrangement Approved
Understand The Landscape
As the Flexible Working Bill has now achieved Royal Assent, employers are now required to consider any employee requests for flexible working and explain any reasoning that may lead to a rejection of a flexible working request. Employees now have the right to request from their first day on the job and can make two requests per year. Whilst this is a great step, it’s really important to remember that a request does not guarantee a flexible working arrangement approval, with one in three requests currently being turned down.
Whether you’re securing a new position or navigating with longstanding employers, there are a number of elements to consider. Put yourself in the best position possible by familiarising yourself with your company’s policies and culture regarding flexible work arrangements, creating a picture of certain issues that might arise or the way you can offer your best successes while working flexibly. Understanding your company’s stance on flexible work will help you tailor your negotiation strategy.
Build a Strong Case
Prepare a compelling case to present to your employer. Highlight the benefits of your proposed flexible working arrangement, not just for you but also for the company. Emphasise how it can lead to increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, and cost savings. Provide specific examples or data, if possible, to make your argument even more appealing.
Choose the Right Time and Place
Timing, they say, is everything. Choose a suitable time when your employer is receptive and not overwhelmed with other responsibilities. Request a private meeting to discuss your proposal, ensuring you have their full attention and showing you respect their time as well as your own.
Address Concerns and Questions
Of course, your employer or HR department is going to have some questions about how your flexible working proposal will affect your work and the wider team. There are a number of reasons your request may legally be refused, including:
- The burden of additional costs.
- Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
- Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
- Inability to recruit additional staff.
- Detrimental impact on quality.
- Detrimental impact on performance.
- Insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work.
- Planned structural changes
Anticipating these concerns or questions ahead of time and coming up with possible solutions can help smooth any worries and get your flexible working request one step closer to being approved. Remember, also, that remaining open to compromise could get you a lot further than hardballing your request. Try to show a willingness to find common ground if necessary.
Finding What Works For You
Negotiating flexible working arrangements with your employer can be a huge step toward achieving a better work-life balance and greater job satisfaction if a little room for manoeuvre is what works for you.
By understanding your needs, building a strong case, and approaching the negotiation professionally and diplomatically, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Remember that flexibility and adaptability are key in the negotiation process, as well as in maintaining a positive working relationship with your employer. Find the right approach with some expert advice and create a win-win situation that benefits everyone. Go get ‘em!