How to Negotiate a Flexible Working Arrangement

Posted by Annie
min read

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy

Just today, I chatted with a Finance Manager who, within the conversation, sighed deeply and dejectedly revealed she thought she wanted to leave her position. But, after some analysis, when we boiled it all down, she absolutely loved her job; what she really wanted was a more flexible working arrangement.

With this as the key driver, we came up with several options that she could consider before opening the discussion with the Managing Director, to pose her request.

This conversation is a perfect example of the steps involved in negotiating a flexible work arrangement; so, read on to get your plan in place.

Negotiation of a working arrangement is a strategic process.

Like any negotiation – it’s all about finesse, persuasion, and building relationships with a focus on compromise.

First, you need to decide what you need in terms of work-life balance.

The next step is to convince your company that they would benefit by allowing you some flexibility in your work schedule.

Candidates who are in this situation, have often talked about having to manage their nervousness around;” Should I ask?”

Well, our stance is that you have nothing to lose by asking, and everything to gain.

And even if the answer is “no”, by taking the initiative, you have shown your employer that you are action-oriented, have plenty of confidence, and are capable of generating new ideas.

Want to try this out? Here’s a game plan for you

  • Approach your manager with a solid proposal.

  • Ask for a face-to-face meeting to discuss your proposal.

  • Do not plead your case based on personal reasons – make the focus of the negotiation the ‘bottom-line’ business benefits.

  • Note how your request can be aligned with the company priorities.

  • Have it in writing

  • State clearly and simply, exactly the flexibility you are seeking to achieve the work-life balance that you would like to have.  Make certain that your written request answers the following questions:

What type of flexibility are you asking for?

Do you want flexible start/finish times within a standard work week, a reduced working week, a compressed working week, a 9-day fortnight, job share, the ability to work both from home and the office?

Emphasize the fact that you fully intend to maintain all your current responsibilities.

 What will your employer gain?

Give solid examples of how your request will positively impact the organisation’s bottom line. (Save costs? Reduce downtime?)

For example, if your suggestion for a flexible arrangement includes remote working, outline the time-saving benefits. The hours that you currently spend communicating can become productive work time.  Or being able to drop off or pick up your children from school or day-care, you will be less stressed and more focused.

Many people feel that having the ability to come in early, or work in the evenings, has a huge advantage. With fewer distractions and less interruptions, they will be able to accomplish more.

Is your home environment conducive to work? 

Describe your home office space and equipment.  Ask for the opportunity to try out a flexible arrangement on a temporary, or trial basis, and be prepared to answer questions. Expect to be asked:

  • How will we maintain communication?

  • How will you interact with co-workers?

  • Will you be able to complete all your responsibilities?

  • Do you have any suggestions for an evaluation process?

  • Will you need any additional support to ensure success?

  • Why are you a good candidate for a flexible work schedule?

Additional Suggestions:

It’s a good idea to research first.

Check to see if other co-workers have flexible work schedules. Ask them about their negotiation tactics.

Emphasise that you can manage a productive schedule, no matter where or when you are working – and outline that you are disciplined, self-directed and have good time-management skills.

Explain the personal reasons for your request so you employer knows you have a compelling reason for flexibility.

Agree to return to a standard work schedule if your trial period is not successful.

Remember to pay attention to your body language during negotiations. Keep upbeat and energetic.

Finally, once you negotiate for, and are offered, a flexible working arrangement, the responsibility for success is all on you.  Be determined to develop ways to evaluate, communicate, keep on task to reinforce the success of your arrangement.

For more information on how Frog can help you, please call us on 09 362 0528 or email frog@frogrecruitment.co.nz – We’d be delighted to help!