When You Want Flexible Working…
But you don’t know how to ask.
Prove your productivity, but stay true to yourself
When hearing about requesting flexible working options, I frequently hear stories or read advice for people to show a business you can do the work effectively while also meeting your flexible working needs.
While I agree with this sentiment, the approach and language surrounding this advice make it seem that flexible working is a privilege.
I disagree. Flexible working should be a right.
If we don’t fight against this view, especially now we’ve proven as a society that it’s possible, we are only fueling the problem.
Yes, be accommodating in your request, but be firm in remembering and fighting for your needs. Working flexibly doesn’t mean you’re going to be any less good at your job — in fact, you may be better given you have more control over your day.
Form a group of remote advocates
Being the only person with a view can make your request seem insignificant and, perhaps, disruptive. If you have a group of people behind you who also have a vision for how you can work effectively together while being remote or on a flexible schedule, your request will be harder to deny.
Gather together other people who want to work flexibly so you can strengthen your case, but consider your reach-out tactics. Approaching management with one or two people rather than a group might be more sensitive. You don’t want to make it feel like an ambush. Think of it as a peaceful demonstration, not a riot.
I’m not going to go into detail on this point because I have shared a link to a post I wrote about this topic. The gist is that, at the end of the day, there’s a business to run, and that’s the paramount concern of your employer. Focusing on the business’s needs, not your own, can make the difference between a your request being accepted or denied.
Show how you have produced work effectively while working remotely
Showing what you’ve achieved so far is a good way to prove remote and flexible hours is effective. It’s particularly helpful to show innovative things you’ve achieved with your work that you may not have achieved had you not been remote.
Perhaps you’ve been inspired in a way that you wouldn’t have without different surroundings. Perhaps you’re able to meet with people in different time zones because you’re working in the evenings. Whatever it is, make it known.
Show how other companies are working flexibly
Proving your capability to work remotely is one thing, but showing how other companies make it work can add weight to your request. It is especially helpful if those companies are in the same field or sector as you. Do your research and present a watertight case.
Ask for the reasons why you can’t work remotely
If your remote or flexible working request is rejected, you have a right to understand why and to put up a case to have your request reviewed once you’ve shown you can meet those conditions.
Don’t give up until you feel it’s futile. Then consider your options.
If you can’t work remotely for your job, consider a move elsewhere
Working remotely and flexibly shouldn’t be a benefit, even though in our current society it is; it should be a right. Work is not what should shape our lives; our choices are what shape our lives, and we each choose to live those lives differently to meet our and our family’s needs.
If you get rejected for a remote or flexible working request, and flexible working is an important factor in your life, ultimately, it’s your life, and only you have the power to make the choices that allow you to live your life the way you want to live it.
If the company your at isn’t working out for you, and you’ve tried everything you can to make it work — considering both the company’s needs and your own — perhaps it’s time for something new.