Up until now, working for your company has been great. You’re respected by your peers, your boss appreciates you, and you really love what you do. But as you’re facing down another winter, you just can’t bear the idea of schlepping into the office every day anymore. Start off the New Year with a request for flex with these 5 flex-friendly tips!
Know your needs.
You know that the way you’re working isn’t working for you anymore. That’s all fine and good, but you need to know exactly what type of flex you want. Do you just want a semi-break from the office, meaning that you’d like to still go into the office, but not all the time? Do you want to switch gears completely and work 100 percent remotely? Before you even think about meeting with your boss, speak with your family first to determine what type of flexible work would be the most beneficial for you, for them, and for your career.
Asking for the ability to work flexibly can be an emotionally charged thing. After all, you’re probably asking for flex so you can a) take care of your kids, b) take care of an aging parent, c) go back to school, d) all of the above. But here’s the deal: you have to set all of that aside when you request flex. Your meeting with your boss should have nothing to do with your personal needs and everything to do with how you working flexibly will benefit him. Mention how, sans commute, you can start your workday earlier, and how much more productive you’ll be without incessant interruptions from chatty cubicle workers. When your boss sees that flex work will be good for business, your chances of getting a yes will greatly improve.
Sure, your boss knows what you do in your job, but does she really know every single aspect of your position? Probably not. In meeting with your boss to go over your flexible work request, make sure to write down every single thing that you do as part of your position. Then, make a list of all of the responsibilities that you have that can be done remotely. After all, your boss might be reticent to transition you from an office worker to a remote one because she assumes that your job simply can’t be done anywhere else than in the office. By showing her specifically all that you do (and can do from your home office), it can improve your case.
Chances are, you’re going to meet with a lot of resistance (and potentially a “No”) when you ask to work from home. That doesn’t mean that your request is off the table, though. Instead, be completely flexible when discussing your flex request. You can’t assume that you’ll get exactly what you want right off the bat, so have alternatives that will still work for you. Offer a trial run of working remotely for a couple of weeks, just so your boss can see that your productivity doesn’t dip and that you’re always available for meetings, conference calls, or answering IMs. Once your boss feels like you’re still right there, she’ll hopefully feel comfortable enough to make an amendment to adjust your flex request to what you really want.
Time it right.
Just as if you were asking for a big raise, you need to know how to time your flex request correctly. You don’t want to hit your boss with it first thing Monday morning—even if you’re raring to do it. Instead, be aware of your boss’ schedule and more importantly, his moods. Try meeting with him during the afternoon (and after lunch!) or on a Friday, when everyone is getting ready for the weekend. The time you choose to ask for flex can make—or break—your request.
A lot of things go into your flexible work request. Make the most of yours by being professional, flexible, and precise, and by knowing exactly what you need.
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