Exhausted? Stressed? Stretched too thin? Does that sound like you? This is exactly how I was feeling a few years ago. With a full time job and two small kids, I was exhausted all the time!  I knew I wasn’t performing my best at home and felt like I could quickly slip at work if something didn’t change.  I figured out the only way to maximize myself at home and work was to request flexible hours where I could work from home, come in earlier and work off hours.  Well, that sounded awesome in my head, but actually getting up the courage to ask was really tough.  I knew I couldn’t go into a meeting with my supervisor only stating why this would benefit me. There had to be some catch and incentive for them as well.

So, before my meeting I created an in-depth plan of action document.  Sounds super fancy, right?  This outline not only can help sell the idea to your organization, but can help you collect your thoughts about what you want and need for you and your family.  If you’re in a similar position – there is HOPE!  Instead of you having to start from scratch, I’ve outlined the key points in my document to help you land the schedule that makes sense for you.

State your rationale

Why do you want a flexible schedule? What’s important in your life that is bringing up this request?  Taking care of a sick parent? Have a new child? Childcare schedule changing? Be clear as to why you need this schedule.

Identify the employer benefit

 Why will this benefit your employer?  Can you clock in more hours from home than you can do in the office due to a shorter commute?  Can you take client calls from home later after the office would typically close?  Be specific!

Create an ideal schedule for your flexible hours

Propose a schedule.  Don’t just ask for flexibility, be clear in the flexibility you want.  This could even be a chart outlining your exact work schedule.  Is it 4 days a week with 10 hour shifts, work from home or shorter hours each day?  Know exactly what you want and express it.  The more specific you are, the easier it is for the employer to visualize and approve your plan. While it may be obvious, make sure you propose a schedule that will not affect how you or others get the job done (i.e don’t propose a plan to be at home when you need to be face to face with others at work).

Be open about potential barriers and plan or a potential “no”

Be ready to be flexible about your hours. There may be times when you need to adjust your plan for busier days at the office.  Talk about how this schedule is addressing that issue and if you are willing to adjust your plan during those times.

Don’t also assume your employer will automatically accept your proposal, so be prepared for them to say “no.”  It may not be an outward “no” and more an adjustment to your requested schedule.  Think about how you can be flexible with your request to ensure you both win!

Identify specific responsibilities that can be done from home

Write it all out.  What exactly do you do that can be done from home.  Is it take client calls, answer emails, spreadsheet analysis?  Be specific and elaborate in each functional area about the specific task and how you plan to do this from home.

Verify accountability

How will you keep yourself accountable to holding up your end of the bargain?  Will it be a separate time sheet that is handed in, be online during certain hours for people to access you and check your status?

Be open about your time frame

Outline how long you will need this schedule. Is this something you want permanently or for a short period of time?  Suggest a trial period of 3-6 months.

Landing a schedule that works for you can be the key to unlocking a more balanced and fulfilling life.  As you work to craft a plan, make sure you take the time to carefully articulate the employer benefit.  This needs to not only help you and your family but ensure that the best you is coming to work and still delivering the same level of professionalism.  Be open with making adjustments until you can find the right match for all parties involved.  Good luck and we’re rooting for you!



Alissa Carpenter
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