There is a growing demand amongst workers to have greater flexibility in their working arrangements to facilitate a better work life balance. In fact, some people aren’t even interested in having a work life balance. They would be happy enough just having a life outside of their work.
I regularly hear gripes from frustrated workers about the lack of flexibility in the workplace in regard to working hours. In many cases, the frustration has been building towards an animosity and resentment towards the management. So what can YOU do to increase the flexibility of hours at your work?…
“There are some days when I’m just not in the mood for work,” explained Jacinta, a 28 year old accountant for a transport company. “I just need some time out for myself .If my work hours were more flexible, I would probably be more productive because a lot of time at home I really feel like working and I don’t have a lot of the other distractions.”
But when asked about her work’s position on this topic, Jacinta just complained,“Our boss wouldn’t let us. He’s too “old school.”
“What did he say when you asked him?” I asked.
Jacinta looked down with a sheepish smile.” Well I haven’t actually asked him.”
In my experience, I don’t see archaic attitudes by ogre bosses to be the main obstruction to flexible work arrangements. To me, the largest common denominator is a lack of communication from the workers wanting greater flexibility.
Many workers are afraid of approaching their superiors, thinking that such a request may be placing their job at risk. But do you think your boss would be pleased or unhappy if you approached him an idea that could boost profits and productivity?
You see, when requesting anything from anyone you need to look at how fulfilling your request will help them. You don’t go asking for more flexible working hours because you want to spend more time with your children or you want to take up an additional hobby. You need to explain how that is going to benefit the company.
If you can’t think of any benefits for your company to you having more flexible work hours, your boss will rightly reject your idea. So it is essential to ask yourself how having more flexible working hours is going to benefit the company? Are you going to be more productive or are you going to have a better morale?
So the next question remains,” How can you convince your boss or manager that you will be more productive?”
The answer lies in what your company does to help convince their clients to buy your product or service. …You offer your boss or manager a guarantee!
Ask for a trial period where you get the flexible hours that you want and in return you promise to exceed the targets or key performance indicators that your performance is measured by. Then it is up to you to make sure that your actions back up your words. If you don’t back it up with results, then you agree to return to your normal working hours.
But before you approach your boss it is important to ask them at the right time. You do not want your request to be jeopardised by your boss being grumpy, rushed or distracted by more pressing work issues.
To find out when the right time to ask is you go to your boss and say, “Hi. I have been spending some time thinking on how we can grow the business and I think I have come up with that I can ….(insert your benefit here)…. e.g. reduce the time required to send out the accounts to free me up to help with other things. I would like to make an appointment with you to discuss this with you. When would be a good time?”
Your supervisor may be interested immediately or will make an appointment with you. Conversely, due to reasons outside your control, they may not be interested in hearing it at the moment. That is okay. It is important to save it for another time when they are more open to hearing you. If they aren’t interested in giving you a full hearing, still keep your idea to yourself until a time when you can properly share it.
By keeping it to yourself, I mean that sometimes your boss is going to say, “Look now’s not the time for new ideas. We need to focus on releasing this product. But thanks anyway. By the way, what was your idea?”Don’t blurt out an abridged version of your idea. You keep your idea to yourself by saying something like, “Never mind, “or “It needs a bit of time to explain it to you properly. I can see now is not the time.”
In summary, asking for more flexible working hours need not to be a harrowing experience that is a risk to your employment. No sane boss is going to sack an employee for having the initiative and drive to come up with an idea that may help the company (and it also happens to help you out). If anything during these times when many businesses are trimming their workforce, showing such initiative may even save your job.
So there is nothing to fear, just follow this 5 step process for asking for more flexible hours.
Work out the company benefit of you having more flexible working hours
Ask your supervisor for a suitable time to discuss your idea of helping the company.
Keep idea to yourself until boss is ready to give you a full hearing.
Offer a trial run where you give a guarantee to demonstrate the benefit to the company and if you fail to demonstrate that benefit you will return to normal hours.
Back up your words with action.