The idea of a traditional nine-to-five office job is fast falling out of fashion. These days most people are interested in working with more flexibility when it come to the hours they put in. Having an inflexible schedule can make it difficult for many employees with family commitments concerning children or care for elderly relatives.
Having the option of working from home for part of the week, or working over the weekend in exchange for days off during the week can better accommodate those employees who may find it difficult to commit to a strict Monday-through-Friday, nine-to-five job.
The rise in the numbers of telecommuters (employees who work from home) has exploded over the last decade with an increase of 115%. Many company bosses are now realizing that if they want to hang on to their most valuable workers, they have to allow some elbow-room over flexible working arrangements.
If you have seen any of your work colleagues being moved to a more flexible schedule that would also better suit your needs, then it is worth having a word with your boss. It may be that your company never used to offer an option of being able to work from home for part of the week, but they do now.
Before you go barging in to challenge your boss, it is better to stop and think about your approach and go in prepared.
Check your employment contract
When you were first employed in your role, you would have been given a contract and an employee handbook. Dig these out and carefully read through them to check your company rules and regulations. It is quite possible that you didn’t read absolutely everything when you first took the job, so you may be able to use some of the information contained in your contract or written within the employee handbook to your advantage.
If you do spot anything written in either of these documents that pertain to flexible working hours or being able to work from home, then you can bring these points up early in your conversation with your boss. This will show that you have done your homework and you know your rights.
Plan out a workable schedule
Whether your handbook or contract states you are entitled to flexible working options or not, it is worth working out a plan of how you would divide up your hours. You will need to sit down and work out a schedule for either a weekly or monthly basis that can be easily implemented and will cover all your contracted hours.
Your plan must clearly demonstrate to your boss that your company would not lose out by giving you a flexible working contract, and that you would be easily contactable during those working hours spent at home or from another planned location.
One of the most important elements for your flexible working plan would be for the safe sharing of any files and sensitive data that you may need to work on while out of the office. It could be that the company have a secure cloud-based system that can be accessed safely for collaborative work on joint projects. You have to think of a solution to every obstacle that could be put in your way to prevent flexible working arrangements from going ahead. You have to do everything you can in advance to give you a better chance of it being approved.
Work – life balance
One important area to sort out here is how you are going to balance your work and life schedule. With flexible home working, there is every chance of the two overlapping, so you need to make sure that you will be able to cope with the demands of both.
Flexible working is the perfect solution for when you have to nurse a sick child that is off from school or for the time during school holidays, or being able to take an elderly relative to an important hospital appointment during the daytime. For you to comfortable achieve this you will need to work out with your boss whether there are certain days of the week when you absolutely have to be in the office. This may be for important meetings or to be able to complete certain aspects of your job.
Work out which tasks you can do remotely from home. It is better to have a dedicated office at home or an area that you can section off to work from. Ensure that your boss will be able to reach you quickly when needed. This may be via a work phone that you can have switched on during your office hours at home, or through email, messenger or Skype set-up where you can have a conversation when needed.
If you take some time to plan out a sound flexible working schedule before you approach your boss, you will not only be able to give them a well thought out, ready-made solution to follow, but will show them that you are skilled and responsible enough to take this on. It would be difficult for them to refuse!