WIN Support for Flexible Work

“Management experts have long predicted the demise of the standard 9-to-5 workday. Thanks to the internet and mobile technology, we can now work where and when we want, they argue. “-Amy Gallo

More managers and organisations are seeing the benefits of non-traditional schedules. When people are given the flexibility they need, they meet goals more easily, they’re absent or tardy less often, and their morale goes up.

Be Clear on your GOAL
What are you trying to accomplish? Once you’re clear on your goal, decide what arrangement will best help you achieve it; a compressed workweek, a job share, reduced hours, working from home, taking a month-long sabbatical, and consider whether you could still do your job effectively. Be sure to understand the impact your proposed schedule will have on your boss, your team, and your performance.

Next, investigate what policies, if any, your company has and whether there is a precedent for flexibility.  If your company doesn’t have a formal policy, create a proposal yourself.

Propose it as an EXPERIMENT
Many managers will be hesitant especially if your organisation does not have established protocols. Position your proposal as an experiment. Establish a trial period. Your boss has to see the new way of working. Explain that if it doesn’t work, you are willing to try a different arrangement or go back to the way things were.

Engage your team’s INPUT and SUPPORT
Remember that your team- peers and direct reports are affected by your work schedule, so you need everyone’s support to make your new arrangement a success. Explain what you are trying to achieve and ask for their input.

Highlight the BENEFITS
Emphasise the organisational benefits over the personal ones. Your proposal needs to have the clear goal of improving your performance at work and making your boss successful. Consider the company’s needs, that your new schedule will not be disruptive and that it will actually have positive benefits, such as improving your productivity or increasing your knowledge.

Assess and Adjust
Once your experiment has been in place for a few months, evaluate its success. Are you reaching your goals? Is the schedule causing problems for anyone? Show that it’s working and if it’s not, be prepared to suggest adjustments.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Know what you are trying to accomplish with flexibility before proposing an alternative schedule.
  • Acknowledge the impact your arrangement will have on your boss, your team, and your productivity.
  • Start with an experiment, and be open to adjustments if it doesn’t work out.

Don’t:

  • Focus exclusively on the benefits to you and your family.
  • Assume your team will be behind you; you must incorporate their input and suggestions.
  • Propose anything as a permanent solution without testing it first.

 

Design a Unique JOB SHARE

It’s very much like picking a spouse,” Levine (at Ford motor) says of choosing the right job-share partner. “That person is your eyes and ears when you’re not there.” This tandem would have the same outlook, the same goal, the same vision, the same work ethic. You will get more from them than just from one person carrying out the job.”

Take time off for PERSONAL GROWTH

Make a formal proposal. If a conflict ever arose, give priority to work over the training program. Include a detailed explanation of the program and goals in joining, a calendar of days you would be in training and how it’s tied into the work schedule, and a list of benefits to your company.

Be the FIRST
Come up with a plan that would allow you to continue working full-time while reducing your need for childcare, for example. You should be available for calls and meetings at most hours, work while the baby napped, and make up for any missed time on your days in the office.

Suggest trying the arrangement for three months, after which you and your boss could re-evaluate.

 

adapted from HBR

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Cliff Chalon

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