Summer Fridays are great, but sometimes they just don’t seem like enough. Plus, we all know that Labor Day will eventually bring them to their end. However, if there ever was a good time to pilot a more long-term flexible schedule, this is it. No boss wants to sign off on letting you test a flexible schedule during the busy season. But, if you can prove yourself and your ability to stay on track now, it may make it easier for your boss to allow you more flexibility throughout the rest of the year. It sounds good in theory, but putting it in motion is another thing entirely. Here are 4 tips to getting a trial summer flex schedule.
1. Be specific.
This is rule number one. No matter what you’re asking for, be specific. Generalities and vague requests for time off or flexibility confuse bosses. They are generally looking for something to approve or not and to do it quickly. If your request is a blank canvas that you expect them to paint on, you’re just creating more work for them that they didn’t ask for. Give them a plan that includes when you’ll be in the office and when you’ll be out. Set clear expectations that can be met and tracked.
2. Present the benefits to the company.
You may think its obvious how your company will benefit, but you’re wrong. Until you make it very clear what the advantage is to the company, the only person who will be seen as benefiting from your request is you. In what ways will you be more productive? Do you have a lot of writing to do? Is your job analytical and requires long periods of concentrated, uninterrupted time? If you can demonstrate how your productivity or the quality of your work would improve, the chances of your boss actually thinking about granting your request will increase.
3. Have a communication plan in place.
Your boss’s biggest fear is that you won’t be reachable or immediately available if you’re needed by your team. The second biggest fear is that s/he won’t have a clue what you’re doing with your time. Propose a communication plan between you, your boss and your team that makes sense. Daily check-ins and weekly recap calls will not only reassure your boss, but help you keep priorities straight. You may even find that you’re more in touch and communicative when you’re out of the office than when you were present every day.
4. Timing is Key.
Explain why you want to try this out now. Maybe there is an important pressing project you really need to focus on and the open office environment is making it difficult. Whatever it is, take baby steps. Ask to try a flexible schedule out while you complete your project and then regroup when it’s done.
Remember, change isn’t easy for an organization. Your request will be accepted or denied on the confluence of a few factors including, your specific role, the nature of your work, the company culture and its existing work from home policy. Let them know that you understand this is a deviation from the norm, but if given the chance, you’ll be sure they’ll be convinced of the benefits.