#30 - Tips on Asking for Flexibility

Flexibility in the workplace.  The benefits are often touted - increases morale, reduces turnover, gives employees more autonomy, improves recruiting.  Seems like an easy solution, yet for many of us, it's not normal in our workplace.  So when it's not readily available, how do we navigate the conversations with our managers and negotiate our own flexibility?

1) ASK.  I know it sounds simple, but the first step is that you do actually have to ASK!  Schedule some time with your manager - this can even be before you return to work from maternity leave.  Let them know that you want to discuss your work schedule ahead of time.  These conversations tend to go better if the other person is not blindsided!  And be specific - do you need to just shift your schedule?  Do you want to work remotely?  What makes sense given the type of work you do?

2) Rethink Accountability.  It's not enough that you tell them it won't impact your work.  Give your manager specifics on how you will remain accountable, how your results will be measured - especially if you are reducing your face time in the office and if any of your goals will shift as a result of changing your schedule.

3) Trial Period!  Personally, I suggest at least a 30-day trial period.  When discussing with your manager, this is an easy way to ask to simply try it out!  With 30 days you give yourself and your manager the ability to get into a new flow with your schedule and usually enough time to measure how your work is impacted (often times you are actually more productive!!).  Keep the conversations open and solicit feedback on how it's going from your managers perspective.  Regularly touch base so you can also use the time to tweak and adjust as needed!


FEEDBACK WANTED!  What are the two things you struggle with most as a working parent or that are you worried about as a soon to be working parent?

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Mary Beth Ferrante