Tags: Career Guidance, blog

The pandemic has meant that flexible working has become a key consideration for most people when searching for a new job. A recent study from Sonovate found that more than a third of respondents aged 18-34 made a career change to work more flexibly during the pandemic.

The shift to flexible working can be felt everywhere. To cater to the changing demands of the workforce, the UK government has now allowed for flexible working requests on the first day of employment at a business. 

Although flexible working is becoming more common, there will undoubtedly be hesitancy from some companies. To ensure you achieve the best outcome when instigating these conversations, we guide you through some of our top tips for negotiating flexible working arrangements below. 

1. Research your company policy and seek advice from employees 

Find out the company policy around flexible working to help give you an idea of where your company stands on the matter. Doing so will help give you pointers on what type of flexible working arrangements they may push back on. 

It’s worth checking with other employees that have flexible working arrangements or have negotiated flexible working too. From there, you can find out how they approached the topic, which points worked, and which areas they felt resistance from their employer.

2. Discuss the arrangements informally

Before going straight into a formal negotiation, you may want to consider setting an informal discussion first with your line manager to gauge the business’ current stance on flexible working.

Alongside insight from other employees, a casual meeting will help offer insight into their concerns that you can dispel when you propose your formal negotiation or flexible working request. 

3. Plan a solutions-based strategy 

  • Begin building a strategy to propose flexible-working that provides a solution to any problems your employer may present. 

  • Map out exactly what your flexible working arrangements will be. Is it 2 days a week working from home or starting an hour earlier?

  • Explain how your flexible working request will help you work towards your goals, for example, how it will improve your performance by removing current barriers you face with your work-life.

  • Include statistics or data to strengthen your points further.

  • State how you will manage these flexible working arrangements with your team and how you will communicate with your workplace. Will you have earlier meeting times? Will your proposed working hours work for the colleagues you work closest with?

4. Present your findings and be prepared for pushback

Once you have mapped out your plan, you will need to present your proposal to your manager. For this, remember to remain positive throughout and be open to compromise should barriers stand in your way. If your manager is hesitant about your working arrangements, be sure to provide alternative solutions, or ask them to consider a trial period first.

With these tips, we hope to have made addressing flexible working a lot less daunting. As long as you have a clear strategy in place and have provided possible solutions to potential obstacles, you will have put forward a strong proposal. 

Are you looking for more careers advice? Check out our career guidance blogs for more tips to help you on your journey.

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