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Flexible working request - Help!!

(4 Posts)
Metters Fri 03-Jun-11 09:46:20

I am due to return to work soon from maternity leave and have submitted a request to reduced my days to 4. I have had my meeting and on the face of it my request is being considered.

My manager has requested additional info from me as follows:

Your proposal that the way of making this work, would be for you to take on smaller regions, therefore, meaning that your colleagues would need to take on the larger regions, increasing their work load. I would also anticipate that this would still mean that on the day you were not in the office that they would still need to pick up additional calls and issues from your designation area. Are there any ways that you can suggest that would serve to reduce the impact on the remaining team members and on the levels of service we offer to our customer base.

Furthermore, i mentioned during our meeting that we are due to take on 6 more units this year, with more anticipated for next year. This would of course mean that yours and your co-workers work load would increase. Have you any suggestions how the impact of this additional work could be dealt with in order to reduce any detrimental effect on the performance of our department or on the quality of service that we offer.

I have already stated I am happy to provide phone cover for immediate queries on my day off and can work this day if required as I have flexibility in my childcare. I have spoken to my colleagues who believe 4 days is feasible. I have also suggested the reduction be approved for a 6 month period trial period to be able to fully assess the impact of the reduction.

Can anyone think of any more suggestions to help support my application?

Thanks for reading!!

Scholes34 Fri 03-Jun-11 10:03:33

I originally returned to work four days a week. I found I had to work especially hard to prove that the arrangement was workable. I did this for about six months, then reverted to five days a week, when it was almost a relief to be able to leave things undone at the end of the day. This all came to and end with a second round of maternity leave and my DH's relocation to another city.

It might not be a good idea to offer to deal with phone queries on your day off, but rather offer to go in, as you've suggested, if absolutely necessary. It's not impossible to make this work, but the hard work will be trying to get the support of your colleagues. I currently work 25 hours a week, and always get comments along the lines of "knocking off early?" when I leave. I remind colleagues I work part time and get part time pay!

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 03-Jun-11 16:40:28

Expecting colleagues to take on the extra workload is unfair hence why you are being asked as to how you plan to cover the loss of a day. Will taking urgent phone calls really mean that you dont impact on anybody elses workload as thats all I can see that you have covered bar working if need be. You need to state how you plan to fit 5 days into 4 given you dont appear to be looking at a job share situation.

latermater Fri 03-Jun-11 17:13:11

I have been here. Try to avoid too many promises up front to work for free to do things you used to be paid for: people will take you for granted after a while whilst still asking you (for years) "which days are you in again?" as if you just occasionally drift into the office (this was when I did a 9 day fortnight and then spent my day off scheduling playdates, naps and shopping around conference calls, grrr!) On a more practical note, you need to respond to these queries:

1. is anyone else managing to do a role like yours (or even partially similar to yours) part time - how do they deal with these issues (and were they put to the same question when they applied for flexible working)? Your company will need to be seen to be treating you in the same way as others who have been granted flexible working in the past, and if there are successful examples (not necessarily in the same department - ask around) that would be useful.

2. Could some or all of the 20% salary you are giving up be used to deal with urgent queries on your day off - for example by paying some bright person on the support staff a bit extra to filter the calls which come in on that day for you, sort the easy ones, keep customers informed and happy that their business will be dealt with promptly, and contact you if really necessary?

3. The point about the six extra units is not - it seems to me - directly relevant to your request for flexible working and should properly be put to every member of the team: if you will all have to take on extra work then you will of course have to offer to do your proportionate share.

4. If you do offer to cover work on your day off (either remotely or by coming in to the office) you should qualify this by being as specific as possible AND BY POINTING OUT THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO BE PAID FOR IT. If you are committing to spend 2 hours every Friday catching up and returning phone calls then it's not a 20% reduction in your working week. Much easier to spell that out up front than claw back the hours later (especially in a climate where budgets get cut and the savings from part time working are often "given up" to avoid people being made redundant - as a manager I have done this).

4. A six month trial is common - and my experience (as a former part timer and a manger of many part timers) is that if the employee has the right attitude to their work as a full timer then - in the vast majority of cases, the part time employee will make it work, even in very demanding customer facing roles. Where it doesn't work it has also been my experience that it is usually the employee saying I need to return to full time to do my job.

sorry for such a long post - hope it helps and good luck!

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