Doubt and uncertainty often keep people from asking for the flexible work arrangement they want. In today’s Q&A, I help a woman clear the fog and move forward.
Dear Pat: I’m eager to write a proposal for a part-time schedule, going from 40 to 32 hours a week. There’s another woman in my department who works that schedule now, however, she negotiated it as a condition of employment. She told me that she doesn’t think the company would ever do it again. Also, there are others in the company who work a compressed workweek, but I sense that people are very uncomfortable talking about alternate work schedules.
I’ve been going through most of the pre-proposal planning checklist and I don’t see anything that says my employer prohibits part-time hours. In fact, there are policies that define employee benefits (PTO, insurance coverage, etc.) if you work part time. I really want to work a part-time schedule, but with all these mixed signals, I’m not sure how to proceed. Help. ~ Doubting Darla
Dear Darla: Dump your doubts and proceed with confidence. Indicators are in your favor for making the request.
For one, you can be encouraged that your coworker negotiated and was hired at 32 hours: it’s an indicator that your employer is open to flexible work arrangements.
Besides, it’s generally easier for a current employee (vs. a new hire) to get approval of flexible work because the trust factor has already been established. For most people, that’s the fastest way to get job flexibility.
Your coworker’s comment is probably driven by a personal agenda to protect her part-time arrangement. That’s understandable, but otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be a basis for her assertion. Don’t allow it to undermine your confidence to ask for what you want.
Keep a positive relationship with your coworker, but avoid engaging her on this particular topic.
Second, you have evidence that others are getting approval of flexible work arrangements. Again, a positive sign about your employer’s flexible work practices.
Maybe those employees think talking about their alternative schedule jeopardizes their situation since it was arranged informally, in the absence of a formal policy. That’s natural, but don’t let it deter you.
Your task now is to present your plan and proposal that shows how your job will get done under the new part-time schedule of 32 hours a week. The Part-time Proposal Package will equip you to present a strong case for restructuring your hours. I’m emailing you a copy so you can start right away.
How about you? Are you letting doubts deter your work-life flexibility plan? Need help sorting it out? Request a Custom Flex Strategy Session today.