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2nd September, 2018

5 Steps to Flexible Working

With the new school term starting tomorrow, many of you will be looking forward to getting back to work for a break from the madhouse! But, what if you work full time and still need to do the school runs? Or you’re looking for flexible hours to work around children (or the various other areas of life that we all have to deal with)?

Flexible working has become a bit of a buzz work recently, with many job adverts boasting this as a company benefit. But what does this actually mean and, crucially, how easy is it to achieve?

Here’s our 5 step guide for ditching the 9 to 5 and getting some balance back in your life…

Image shows a tiny figure on a gold compass, with a larger figure in a suit standing above. To demonstrate your boss helping you navigate flexible working
Will your boss help you navigate flexible working?

Work out your ACTUAL requirements

Flexibility could mean the ability to start 10 minutes late because your car wouldn’t start, and just make up the time later. But if you want to adjust your start time or condense your hours for example, you need to consider this carefully.

What can you commit to and is there any hours you have to be free for? How flexible can you be, depending on what your company needs? Do you have a plan B, if your current company can’t accommodate your needs?

Check the current policy

Take a look at your employer’s flexible working policy (if there is one), as this will give you some guidance on how you should make the request. And be aware that any request could result in a permanent change to the terms of your employment.

Put it in writing

If you’re making a formal request you should put it in writing, dating the document and laying it out in a particular format. ACAS give some guidance on how to do this, which you can view here

Of course, you may just be planning to have an informal chat with your manager to agree this. However, it is definitely still worth documenting any changes in your working hours and conditions of employment, to cover you in the future. If your nice, understanding boss leaves the business, for example, and you only have a verbal agreement in place, this could cause you headaches down the line.

3 miniature figures in suits sit on a large hand
Don’t leave your working requirements in someone else’s hands…

Make your case

Think logically. Is your request going to have a negative impact on the business? Your employer will consider all aspects of the business, including extra work load for your colleagues and potential to require new recruits, before agreeing your request. So consider these factors yourself beforehand and try and counter any potential barriers you might come up against.

It’s also a good idea to outline the exact reason you are making the request, as this will help with the decision.

Be flexible and open minded

Give you employer time to properly consider your request. There are various timescales involved by law if the request is a formal one, so make sure you (and your employer) are familiar with these. Check out the ACAS guide we’ve linked to earlier in this article for full information.

If your employer can’t meet your requests, they should able to tell you why and hopefully offer a compromise. If you’ve worked out your exact requirements at the beginning of the process, this should be a straight forward negotiation that works for both parties!

Of course, some businesses are much better than others with things like this. So, if you’ve tried to negotiate and hit a brick wall, it might be time to look elsewhere. Take a look at our latest jobs here to see if any of them over you the flexibility that you desire…!!

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