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Tips for making a flexible working request

(13 Posts)
EloiseIsLike Wed 19-Oct-16 19:50:34


I want to make a request to drop my days from 5 to 4. I already work from home on a Wednesday so I was going to suggest that as a day so it's not as disruptive.

I mentioned it to my manager and she seems quite sure my main boss will refuse.

My reasons are that I want a better balance at home and my health is suffering. I had an occupational health referral who suggested working 4 days a week but this was never followed up. I've recently been promoted so dropping a day would have less of a financial impact on us.

My work are aware I've recently taken on freelance work at the weekends but this is a symptom of my need for some flexibility, not a cause for applying. I eventually want to work entirely freelance as I am really struggling working full time and commuting for +3 hours a day. I have a mental health problem which they are aware of.

My work from home days I largely focus on my admin but I believe I could plan my workload more effectively to do that.

I've never done a request for and if it's not accepted then I need to look for a new job. Has anyone done one and had it accepted, and if so do you have any tips?

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Wed 19-Oct-16 19:55:20

I have. Mixed results from it but on the whole positive. Will post after bedtime.

SellFridges Wed 19-Oct-16 19:58:16

Some wisdom I have heard recently has suggested that requesting four days is not helpful to the business or the individual. Can you think about alternatives? Finish at lunch on a couple of days. Or do 6 hour days?

The weekend freelancing work negates any reference to Occupational Health suggesting you only work 4 days imo.

Nickanickname Wed 19-Oct-16 20:05:02

I think you need to explain to them how they can cope with it. Eg will someone need to cover for you when you're not working? How will you make that easy? Or will it just be that you get through less work so they need to find another 0.2 from somewhere else to make up for it? It depends what you do really.

I think 4 days is fine in some jobs - I have been doing it for a while. So don't necessarily be put off. It would make sense though to think about what others in your office do.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Wed 19-Oct-16 20:24:13

Hi OP, I have recently done similar. Currently work three days. Going down to two days a week soon. Also I work a slightly later start and later finish. My top tip is to make sure you fill out the correct form!! Seriously, I filled in the wrong form at first and my manager didn't tell me until I queried how my request was being processed hmm. Could have saved myself a few weeks' work and effort if I had double checked which form to put in (I also feel she should have told me but we do not get on to put it mildly).

Think about the effect on the business and how you would reduce that as PPs have said. Mine was definitely a compromise. Although I got the two days I wanted, I had to compromise on the hours and TBH am still finding the commute and the hours stressful.

Am no expert and particularly no OH expert but I agree with SellFridges - I think you might struggle to say you have been advised to work 4 days a week when you do extra weekend work. I do see your point about flexibility completely, my plan is to freelance too, just trying to see it from your manager's point of view. I actually put in my request that this would allow me to work extra freelance hours (not quite that simple but that kind of thing) and there was no issue with this.

There is lots on the internet - in particular the government webpages and the CAB. Also be prepared that you may be asked to contact your colleagues to get their opinions. I had to email everyone in the team but we are a small team. My relationship with my manager is appalling (frustratingly I get on fairly well within my organisation and with my team and immediate seniors) and I had to involve my union to make any progress.

Sorry if this all sounds really negative. Your company may be a lot more flexible. My request was approved but you do need to get your ducks in a row and be clear about what you are asking for and why.

EloiseIsLike Wed 19-Oct-16 20:26:33

In what I've been thinking of nobody would need to cover for me. I did my job at 3 then 4 days when I returned from maternity leave and managed fine. I'd have continued if possible financially - my old manager was in favour of it and she had suggested applying, but she's left now.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Wed 19-Oct-16 20:28:51

My old manager had approved me working much more flexible hours but I had never put in a flexible working request, then we got a new manager. Very dependent on who your manager is I find!

EloiseIsLike Wed 19-Oct-16 20:29:28

Thank you for the advice! I'm not expecting it to go well. I have a good relationship with my bosses, and technically my company prides itself on flexibility but I've never seen a request granted. Working shorter hours wouldn't really make a difference as my commute is still incredibly long, I wouldn't really gain any extra time.

camelfinger Wed 19-Oct-16 20:29:38

I reckon most jobs that are 5 days per week could be done in 4. 5 days a week is so arbitrary - the work expands or contracts according to the time available. I love working four days.

Munstermonchgirl Wed 19-Oct-16 21:27:27

My workplace tends not to favour requests for 4 days, as it's usually difficult to get someone else to cover for just 1 day. Job shares with a 3 / 2 day split are far more likely to be successful.

If you're claiming a 5 day job can be done in 4 days, in surprised in this day and age of cuts and a recent years-long recession, that employers are willing to pay for full time

SellFridges Wed 19-Oct-16 21:32:02

Ah, I missed the bit about the commute.

I think one of the big issues with working four days is that you end up doing a full time job on 80% of the salary if you're not careful. That's why I suggested thinking of alternative ways to work flexibly but I appreciate that is hard with a long commute.

SirNiallDementia Wed 19-Oct-16 21:32:27

HR person here, have a look at the 8 business reasons an employer is entitled to use to turn down your request and make sure your application demonstrates why none of those 8 reasons apply.

BikeRunSki Wed 19-Oct-16 21:37:35

I have worked various part time 3/4/job share/solo patterns for 8 years. My top tip is to show the company how reducing your hours will benefit them. So there's the 20% of your salary they'd save. Could the extra day a week be used for someone else to train in your role as development role to support you and provide business continuity and succession planning for the business?

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