August 9, 2015 Leave a comment
When it comes to corporate culture, the tides are shifting towards an appropriate work life balance across the board, and more companies are recognizing the value of offering flexible work arrangements. That can be different things depending on the industry you work in, ranging from telecommuting to working four 10-hour days and having every Friday off. The beauty of that flexibility is that there is nothing set in stone dictating what a flexible work arrangement should be. But finding the arrangement that is right for you, and then convincing your leadership team they should give you the opportunity to prove yourself with that flexibility, is really becoming the dream for a lot of employees. So how do you achieve it for yourself?
The first step to earning yourself a flexible work arrangement is proving yourself in a traditional capacity. If you can’t be counted on to show up during the hours assigned to you, and to do the job expected of you when you are there – how can you expect your supervisors to give you even more flexibility? You have to first be a stellar employee before you can hope for the negotiating power to earn a flexible work arrangement. Remember, you’re trying to convince your supervisors that you can be trusted with a little extra freedom – but trust has to be earned, not demanded or coerced.
Know What You Want
The next important task is to know what it is you want out of that flexibility – and for your desired arrangement to be something that would actually work in your chosen career. For instance, if you have a job that has you interfacing with the public during business hours on a daily basis, you probably aren’t a good candidate for working from home. But maybe you could arrange a schedule that has you putting in most of your hours Monday through Thursday, and just coming in during prime business hours on Fridays. They key is to land on what kind of flexibility would work within your industry, while also knowing what would fulfill that work life balance for you.
Equip Yourself with Data
You should always prepare an information based argument whenever negotiating for anything in your career. In this case, that would mean data that proves the benefits of flexible work arrangements not only to yourself, but also to your corporation as a whole. There is a lot of data like this out there – from research that shows how having employees work from home can actually save companies money, to studies that point to increased productivity when employees feel as though their need for balance is being met. Do your research, and create a solid, data-driven argument. Because if your sole argument is, “This would make me happy,” you probably aren’t going to get very far. The good news is, most of the data is in your favor – you just have to find it and use it.
Keep it Professional
If you want to prove you are professional enough to take on a flexible work arrangement and still be a valuable and contributing employee, you have to start by making your pitch professional. Which means requesting an official meeting with your supervisor and going to that meeting prepared to make your case. It also means not expecting your every wish to be granted right away. Present what you would like, and then open that up to discussion with your supervisor – asking about any concerns he or she might have, and anything that they think might work better. Allow them time to contemplate your proposal, and don’t pitch a fit if it isn’t initially accepted. Continue to prove yourself as the valuable employee you are, and keep the topic of flexibility on the table as an open dialogue for the future.