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6 Tips to approach your boss about a flexible schedule

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Negotiate your way

All moms are looking for ways to spend more time with their families, and having a flexible work schedule can really help. Before you approach your boss with the idea, do a little research and get prepared.

Woman talking to boss

If you pine for a work schedule that enables you to bypass that commute to work in traffic, that saves you money by transforming lounge pants into a work wardrobe, or that compresses your work week into four days, then it's time to sharpen your negotiation skills and approach your boss.

Get background information

Be sure to check with your HR representative if flexible scheduling benefits are already in place. If not, ask around to determine if any other employees have flexible arrangements. Find out what they did to negotiate the schedule and use their tips for making your schedule work.

It's all about them

Plan to negotiate your flexible work schedule with your employer -- not you -- in mind. It's not about you this time and what works best for your family, but rather how this arrangement can benefit them. Most companies that offer family friendly benefits do so because it makes sense, not because they are being kind and charitable.

Note the advantages

The advantages of a flexible work schedule for both employees and employers alike are well documented. Those employers who implement these schedule benefits understand that it is an incentive to recruit and retain the best talent, of which many are working mothers. Additionally, employers realize that it helps improve productivity because, according to studies, people are happier at their workplace when they receive accommodations, emphasizing their importance on the job and boosting morale.

Pros and cons

Take a hard look at your life and situation before you begin the negotiation process to work from home. There are definitely those people who cannot work from home because they are too distracted by, well life! Laundry, bills, and the phone doesn't stop, so you have to be ready to disconnect during the time you are dedicating to your job.

Here are few drawbacks of working from home:

  • The line between home and work gets blurred
  • You don't have visibility from management
  • You give up the social interaction with coworkers

All of these items, plus any other personal distractions should be considered if you are contemplating whether or not to work from home.

Create a blueprint

You should present your proposal for a modified schedule in writing. The key points to address in your proposal are:

  1. How your flexible schedule will benefit your employer
  2. Provide an outline of the work arrangement you want
  3. If asking to telecommute, describe your home work station capacity
  4. Describe how you plan to maintain communication with the office (i.e. weekly reports, daily emails)
  5. Detail how you and your manager can regularly review the effectiveness of your work schedule
  6. List any needs you have specific to your position and job responsibilities
  7. Ask for their support

Be flexible yourself

If your workplace does not have a formal scheduling policy, you'll need to approach the discussion with flexibility in mind. Be open to suggestions from your boss on how they envision the schedule working. This will help ensure you consider all possible scheduling options, even if it's a small change to start. If your boss seems only lukewarm about your proposal, suggest a trial period of three months. This trial period is good for both of you.

It will take some work but, in most cases, a flexible work arrangement will be given the consideration it deserves.

More ideas for working moms

How to be happily employed in a tough economy
Getting along at the office: Adapting to change
Four stress-less tips for working moms

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