How to pitch for flexible working (and make it work for you and your team)
When you're back
Monitor what impact your new ways of working are having on your productivity and work relationships as well as the impact on colleagues. Feed back in one-to-ones with your line manager how it's working and any adjustments you think you could make or have made to make it work better for others. Doing this reiterates your commitment to being productive and being respectful of colleagues and clients' needs.
Janet Hood, solicitor, Janet Hood consulting
Fiona Scott, senior associate, CMS Cameron McKenna
If you're a flexible working good news story, be confident to share how it's working and the positive impact it's having, for example, at a team meeting, in conversation with peers, with your line manager's manager or via a more formal internal communications channel. What could others learn from your team's approach to flexibility? Is there someone else who's seeking to work more flexibly that you can be an advocate for? Social media might also be a platform to be a brand ambassador and sing about your employer.
OVER TO YOU
The following prompts are designed to help clarify your thinking and support you in making a compelling case for your flexible working request. Writing a few notes in response to each could be the beginning of a written proposal to put to your line manager.
- What's the bare minimum of flexibility you need to be able to make your role work and still meet family commitments?
- Are there any problems at work that could be solved or improved by you working flexibly?
- What reservations might your line manager have (stemming from the potential impact on clients, him/her or other colleagues) and how could you mitigate these or demonstrate they're non-issues?
- Who else's opinion matters? Who could you get onside or use as a reference point to convince your line manager?
- When do you need to have submitted your request to be sure of an answer before your return to work date? And what does that mean for the timing of a prior discussion with your line manager?
- Also see the other 11 guides in our Parents in the Profession series
- The law and how to make a statutory application for flexible working
- Code of practice for handling requests in a reasonable manner
- Kelliher, C. and Anderson, D. (2010). Doing more with less? Flexible working practises and the intensification of work. Human Relations, 63, 83-106.
- Catalyst. (2013). The great debate: flexibility vs. face time. Busting the myths behind flexible working arrangements
- Chapter Two 'Keep in touch and ask for what you want' in Mothers Work! How to Get a Grip on Guilt and Make a Smooth Return to Work by Jessica Chivers (Hay House, 2011)
- A partner's perspective on flexible working