How to Ask for Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements are becoming increasingly popular as employees seek greater work-life balance. With the rise of remote work during the pandemic, many employees realized they don’t need to be tied to an office to be productive. If you’re hoping to work remotely, create a hybrid schedule, or make other adjustments to your work arrangement, following are some of ways to make the request to your manager.
Eight Recommendations on Building Your Flexible Work Case
There are a number of recommendations you can use when making a case for a remote work arrangement.
1. Choose the Right Time
Timing is important when asking for a flexible schedule. Avoid asking during your manager’s busiest times of year or when deadlines are looming. Instead, make the request during a slower period when your manager can thoughtfully consider it. You’ll also want to make sure your manager is already in a positive mindset. Don’t ask the day after receiving a poor performance review or negative feedback. Wait for a time when your manager is likely to be receptive.
2. Explain Why It Benefits the Company
Managers want to know how your request will impact the business. Explain upfront how the flexible arrangement will maintain or even improve your productivity and output. Frame it in a way that shows you’re making this request to be more productive so you can deliver higher quality work and higher quantity of work. Highlight how the change is a win-win that serves both you and the organization.
Research studies also show remote workers are more productive. For example, a Microsoft study of 60,000 employees found that remote workers are 10% more productive than other employees. One of the reasons for productivity gains is tied to daily commute time; remote workers save an average of 72 minutes in daily commuting time, of which they spend about a half engaged in work. This accounts to more than two hours a week.
3. Start with a Pilot
Some managers may be hesitant to approve permanent flexible arrangements right off the bat. Ease their concerns by proposing a trial period, such as 3 or 6 months. A pilot gives both you and your manager time to evaluate the pros and cons before fully committing. It also establishes trust. If the pilot goes well, your manager will be more confident approving a long-term change.
4. Be Specific
Vague requests like, “I want to work from home more,” are easy for managers to brush off. Instead, come armed with a specific proposal outlining exactly what you want. Provide details like:
• The days/hours you want to adjust your schedule
• How you’ll remain accessible during any remote hours
• Any adjustments that may impact colleagues and how you’ll mitigate those
The more thoughtful and detailed your plan, the more seriously your manager will consider it.
5. Highlight Your Past Flexibility
If you’ve demonstrated flexibility in the past, bring that up. Remind your manager of times you’ve come early or stayed late, covered shifts, worked weekends, etc. Establish yourself as someone willing to take one for the team when needed. Your manager will feel more compelled to return the flexibility favor.
6. Focus on Outcomes
Some managers micromanage by insisting employees work standard office hours. Counter concerns about appearances by focusing on outcomes rather than activities. Offer to provide daily and weekly plans of your projects and their status, along with longer-range goals. This puts emphasis on results rather than facetime. Highlight that you’ll be judged on deliverables and achievements rather than sticking to a 9 to 5 at your desk.
7. Practice the Conversation
Speaking face-to-face with your manager may feel nerve-wracking. An anxiety-filled delivery can inadvertently communicate lack of confidence in your proposal. Practice the conversation ahead of time so you can clearly articulate your request in a calm, professional manner. The more prepared you are, the more naturally persuasive your case will be.
8. Follow Up in Writing
After the initial conversation, send your manager an email summarizing the key points you discussed. This written confirmation accomplishes two things:
1. It holds you both accountable by documenting the request, proposed schedule changes, and any agreements made.
2. It gives your manager time to think through the implications and respond thoughtfully rather than feeling pressured to provide an immediate answer.
Following up in writing strengthens your chances of getting approval for the flexible arrangement you want.
Finding Flexible Workspaces
Remote work policies often allow employees to work from anywhere with a strong internet connection. But working from home every day has challenges for some. Seeking out flexible coworking spaces like those from Davinci Meeting Rooms can provide benefits like:
• Professional meeting spaces to host clients or collaborate with colleagues
• Social interaction that's missing when working solo
• Separation of work from home life
• Amenities like high speed internet, printers, coffee bars, and more
Coworking Spaces Provide Flexibility
Coworking spaces have exploded in popularity in recent years. A recent study, for example, shows that national coworking space inventory hit 6,100 in Q2, after growing 10% the prior quarter.
Coworking space provides open desk space and private offices available to rent by the month or even hour. Many coworking spaces offer virtual memberships too, allowing you to reserve meeting rooms, desks and office amenities on-demand when needed. This gives ultimate flexibility without being locked into a long-term lease.
Davinci Meeting Rooms operates several coworking and day office locations across major cities. Davinci offers desk rentals, office rentals, meeting rooms, and virtual memberships. Their global network of spaces provides flexibility whether you’re working remotely across town or traveling to another country. Further, with Davinci’s mobile app, you can instantly reserve space and amenities prior to arriving. As a virtual member, you only pay for what you use rather than a fixed monthly rate. This allows ultimate flexibility in creating a custom schedule and only paying for space when you need it.
Considerations When Choosing a Space
Here are some things to consider when evaluating coworking spaces for your flexible work needs:
• Location: How close is it to where you live or frequent work meeting points? Is it easily accessible by public transportation?
• Amenities: Does it offer everything you'll need like fast internet, printing, conference rooms, coffee, and snacks?
• Hours: Will it be open during the hours you plan to use it? Some have 24/7 access with secure keycards.
• Community: Do the other members seem like people you’d enjoy being around? Many spaces host community events to foster connections.
• Cost: What is the daily rate for desk space or private office use? Does the monthly virtual membership provide enough value?
Touring a few spots can help you select the right environment to compliment your flexible work arrangement.
Make a Strong Case
With remote and hybrid work arrangements likely here to stay, more companies recognize their benefits in attracting and retaining top talent. But making the initial shift requires effort on the employee’s part to craft a compelling, thoughtful proposal.
Follow the above recommendations when approaching your manager will assuage their concerns while demonstrating the benefits to the business. Moreover, you need to make sure you back up your request with details and highlight your history of reliability. With a well-rounded case presented professionally, you’re primed for gaining approval to work more flexibly.