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Cali MiksonAug 12, 20213 min read

How to Talk to Leadership About Flexible Work

It has now been over a year of remote work. This new model demands necessary changes; one of them being flexibility. Is your company delivering this? Disclaimer: Hey, business owners! Even though this article is targeted towards employees, we see you reading this too. Market demands are changing and your employees should be in an environment that delivers them. Read more to understand how.

How is Your Current Employer Doing?

It’s no secret we all want flexible hours. Even in 2019, the International Workplace Group that 80% of workers would turn down a job that did not offer a flexible work schedule. In 2021, this number is only rising. According to a Microsoft Work Trend Report, the 9-to-5 workday is disappearing, as the increase in remote work has allowed for more flexible hours.

There are some recommended steps employers can take to make a flexible work schedule. 

  • Involve their staff in conversations about how to implement flexible work. This can include hybrid schedules, flexible work periods, or a Monday-Thursday workweek.
  • Have set availability hours instead of working hours.
  • Set boundaries and expectations on communication tools like slack and email - if your team isn't working they shouldn't be "on call" all of the time.
  • Make mental health a priority across the company. Open up conversations, be transparent, and give yourself and others grace when a mental health day is needed.
  • Train your employees for this new format. Remote work is still relatively new for most of us and there are things we can learn to be more productive.
  • Track performance with this new schedule and make necessary adjustments. 

Have your leadership developed these changes yet? 


How to talk about flexible work with your manager

Before you talk to your manager

Do your research and have a proposal. Make it clear what you want and asking for. Give proof that your feelings are in line with the market. Some good key points to think about are productivity, mental health, lack of commute time, flexibility, and happiness. For example, Mental Health America found:

  • remote work could help them reduce stress and improve productivity by reducing distractions during the workday (75%)
  • interruptions from colleagues (74%)
  • keeping them out of office politics (65%)
  • allowing for a quieter work environment (60%)
  • giving them a more comfortable (52%) and personalized (46%) work environment

Are other coworkers feeling similarly? Ask for their permission to include them in your outreach. 

How you can address a flexible work model

Start with a meeting with your manager. Bring the adjustments you would like in writing. After that, give them a proposal. In this proposal, acknowledge that this model might be different. Back your proposal up with your personal experiences and research. Additionally, talk about why this is important for you as human beings as well as the company. This should be a back and forth conversation with you and your manager. They should be receptive, but they might be hesitant because it can be a radical change. 

You made your proposal, now what?

You need to see openness and communication from your manager after your request. Seeing these changes become a reality in your everyday life depends on your company’s size and how many people agree. Small companies may make changes quicker; while larger companies may take a longer time. You should see movement and communication from the leadership that they are taking your proposal seriously. They may not agree nor give you flexible hours. What is important they are receptive and listen.

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