Many employers have discovered the benefits of allowing employees to telework. But how can you leverage telework at your company and convince your boss that a flexible work arrangement will be a huge value to the organization?

Set expectations

While your request may be reasonable, be prepared that your employer may not initially be onboard. Before asking your manager for a flexible schedule, arm yourself with strong reasons why your request will help the business.

"Even if the request is initially denied, use this as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for future conversations." 

Over two-thirds of managers, 67 percent, offer flexibility to all or most of their employees either at their own discretion, or they are generally encouraged to find mutually beneficial solutions, according to WorldatWork’s Trends in Workplace Flexibility survey. That’s very good news for anyone contemplating asking for a flexible schedule.

There are numerous advantages to workplace flexibility. The survey shows that employee satisfaction, retention and productivity are greater when there is a flexible work culture. These are wins for both employees and employers.

Timing is everything

Regardless of whether or not your organization has a culture that embraces flexibility, there is always an opportunity to request one. The idea is to create a situation where it is not viewed as an edict or an entitlement, but as a true negotiated process where both the employer and the employee benefit.

If you want to request a flexible work schedule, it is best to develop talking points to discuss with your immediate manager. Be prepared to address these issues:

  • What type of scheduled is being requested?

  • How will the work be completed (benefit to the employer)?

  • How it will or more importantly will not affect co-workers or customers (benefit to the employer)?

  • Why it would benefit the employee? This may encompass a variety of points:

    • Child or eldercare

    • School or volunteering

    • Sustainability

    • A better work-life balance

Be willing to pilot the flexible schedule for a period of time in order to prove it will work. Avoid statements such as “my co-worker has it so I should too.” Every situation really can be unique.

Next steps

Even if the request is initially denied, use this as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for future conversations. Ask what specifically the reasons were for the denial so you can work on addressing them and request an opportunity to revisit a flexible work arrangement at some time in the future.

Just remember, flexibility wasn’t built in a day; it’s a process that continues to evolve and includes both employers and employees. Working together is the only way that it will develop into a workplace culture and become a valued benefit for you, your boss and your employer.