Negotiating a Flexible Schedule

A flexible schedule can help you balance your personal and professional lives. Here are some tips on how to convince your boss.

Would you like to rearrange your schedule to avoid traffic? Do you think you’d like to do some of your work from home? You’ll need to prepare some solid arguments before talking to your boss.

1. Determine whether or not your plan is realistic

A flexible schedule is more feasible in some companies or departments than in others, indicates Pierre Charbonneau, a consultant and associate at Raymond Chabot Human Resources Inc. “Whereas writers can work from home, administrative assistants need to be at the office to help their supervisors.”

2. Show your boss why a flexible schedule is better… for them

If you only think about your own needs, you have a good chance of being turned down, Mr. Charbonneau warns. Good arguments include: a flexible schedule would motivate you and help you carry out your work more effectively, and it could help prevent you from taking days off for family reasons. Also, if you’re working from home, you boss can use your work space for other purposes. “Your boss needs to know that you intend to continue working hard,” explains Mr. Charbonneau.

3. Be ready to give your boss some guarantees

Let your boss know that:
– your tasks will be completed on time;
– you will be easy to reach at home;
– you will be physically present at the office at set times, such as from 10a.m. to 3p.m. every day or for the weekly team meeting;
– you will revert to the regular schedule if your productivity decreases or if your absence causes problems for the company or among your co-workers. You can even suggest a trial period.

4. Put your proposal and guarantees down on paper

“A verbal agreement is often enough, but if you’re well prepared, your employer will be more receptive,” concludes Mr. Charbonneau.