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How best to request a day working at home ...

(4 Posts)
RooTwo Sun 07-Apr-13 19:45:25

I work four days a week but am really struggling with it in terms of feeling that my work/life balance is all wrong - I just feel as if I'm always charging around dropping kids off/picking them up; trying to be in several places at once. I really feel that if I could work a day at home the balance would shift more and things would be a little more relaxed, and I could also work very well and effectively from home.

But I am wondering how to put this to my boss - my instinct is to be fairly honest, and talk about work/life balance and how this just isn't working for me currently (I think if they don't give it to me, I'll have to hand in my notice); but DH thinks I should be more hard headed about it and just appeal to their business heads - say why I NEED to work a day at home for work reasons, and why this won't be a problem for them.

But, I'd tried that tack last year (saying that I could get much more done in a day at home a week) and it didn't work - they didn't allow me to do it. I feel that now, a year on, I need to try something else - that it's been long enough that they value me and won't want to lose me, and would respect my feelings about trying to get a good work/life balance. It's a small company, and a new one - we have all started there in the last year and a half. I have a good relationship with my line manager, so that's why I'm veering towards more of the 'honest' approach. But am I being naive? Will they really give a toss about this?!

jkklpu Sun 07-Apr-13 22:18:56

I think it has to be a mixture of the two. If you tell them it's just to give you a better work-life balance, it's much less persuasive than showing that you've really thought about how to make it work. I certainly don't recommend an ultimatum about you leaving.

So, by all means say that you would like to try a day a week from how for a trial period, say 3 months. Then prepare to present to your line manager exactly what you'll do:
- what kind of work lends itself to having quiet time at home and that you can "save" this up for your day at home;
- that you'll call in at least once a day and participate in meetings by Skype/teleconference;
- that you'd like to start with X day at home, but that you will, of course, be flexible, should there be a business need for you to be in on that day sometimes and you can take a different day.

It's all about being flexible (flexible working requires flexibility from employer and employee) and showing that you really have thought it through. Are there other people in the company who work from home? Ask them how they keep in touch, what kind of planning ahead they do and how often then have to change their days.

Good luck with it.

tribpot Sun 07-Apr-13 22:32:00

I find requests for a regular WFH day very difficult to manage. It's all very well for you to want to save up the quiet work to do in peace - we all do - but it may be that other things then need to be arranged around your absence from the office (this is very dependent on the nature of the work of course) and it can become tiresome to put it mildly. Plus you are already part-time, which I think affects the way such a request will be viewed.

They presumably gave you reasons for turning you down last time; each of those needs to be addressed in your request this time. How will the team dynamic be affected by your absence? Would you be better off in a job share, so your own role could drop to 3 days a week with the job share doing the other 2?

jkklpu has made good points - you will need to present this well and carefully. Good luck.

RooTwo Thu 25-Apr-13 20:35:08

Belated thanks to jkklpu and tribpot for advice - I actually ended up requesting three days a week and suggesting a job share, which is very likely to happen, amazingly. So am very pleased as I thought they would not go for that at all! I realised that that was what I really wanted - 4 days with a day at home was just another not-quite-right scenario - and that I may as well just go for it ... always worth trying!

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