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How to Negotiate a Flexible Work Schedule

Nov 9, 2007
Are you feeling conflicted about the demands of work and family after a great fun-filled summer? You are not alone.

Trying to keep a work-life balance is one of the major issues my clients struggle with at this time of the year. Very few people want to work 24/7, yet technology has created tremendous pressure on working adults.

Seize this moment to discuss and negotiate a flexible work schedule with your boss in order to give you the time you need to manage and continue to enjoy your personal life and achieve that goal of work life balance.

More companies are beginning to see the benefits of offering their employees flexible work arrangements, such as part-time work, job sharing, compressed work weeks, telecommuting, and flexible schedules.

Towers Perrin's survey of 80 large Canadian companies show flexible work arrangements reduce work/life conflict, increase productivity, and improve retention and morale.

HRFocus reported in February 2007 that 91% of McGraw-Hill employees who have flexible work arrangements say that those arrangements have a positive impact on their productivity. Cisco's tele-work program resulted in $195 million in increased productivity, according to research conducted by Boston College's Sloan Work and Family Research Network. According to Corporate Voices for Working Families, Deloitte estimates it has saved $41.5 million in turnover costs since implementing flexible work options.

Negotiating a Flexible Work Schedule

In order to successfully negotiate a flexible work schedule, build a business case then create a proposal that spells out exactly how the arrangement will work. It's best to start this new arrangement as a 3 - 6 month trial period.

Your proposal should answer any concerns you anticipate your boss may have, and should contain the following:

- The days and/or hours you will work.
- How will you complete the arrangement, telecommute, compressed work week, job sharing, etc.
- How will you accommodate meetings or team projects on the days or hours you are out of the office?
- How will you be compensated (salary/bonus adjustment) depending on the change to your work days or hours?
- How will your productivity be measured?
- What will your company gain from this arrangement? (what is the value to the company)?
- Communication to colleagues
- If a back-up person is needed when you are not in the office - who will it be?
- Start and end date of the trial period.

If your boss says "no" to your proposal, remember that this is a negotiation. Your boss may have unanswered questions. Find out what your boss's concerns are. Be prepared to make adjustments to your proposal - shorter trial period, less time out off the office, etc.

As offices gear up after the slower summer season, now is a good time to implement some positive changes that will maintain a healthy balance between work and play. Making a case for a flexible work schedule that benefits your employer as well as yourself is a step in the right direction.

Copyright 2007, Cecile Peterkin.
About the Author
Cecile Peterkin is a Certified Career and Life Coach. Feeling stuck in middle management or mid career? Claim your FR-EE Assessment and complimentary coaching session at our career guidance website.
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