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cutting hours at work wwyd?

(10 Posts)
1dilemma Tue 05-Aug-08 13:45:37

Hi Not sure where to post this so please redirect me if you can think of somewhere better.
I may approach my employer about cutting my hours at work, I could ask for a 4 day week for 80% of salary or presumably compressed hours.

If I ask for a 4 day week, they will want me to drop a day when I have little in the way of what we call 'fixed committments' to do and will then shunt any remaining work onto the remaining days I am working.
Compressed hours would be better for me since I always work through lunch anyway, I could then offer a 6 pm finish (which I do half the time anyway) or 4 hours from home.
" half days offers me no benefit because of nursery fees and would always end up being late.

So how do I convince them to compress my hours, if they dig their heels in how do I make sure they don't just end up getting me 20% cheaper for the same amount of work?

TIA

flowerybeanbag Tue 05-Aug-08 15:20:21

What about your colleagues 1dilemma? If you feel compressed hours would work for you because you always work through lunch anyway and often work late, you are effectively saying you want to maintain your current working pattern and salary but have a day off every week. That's fine, but if all your colleagues work full time and also work through their lunch and work late regularly, you can see there might be difficulties agreeing it.

It terms of reducing your hours and making sure they don't just get you cheaper, the key is identifying how you can do your job in less hours/days. What tasks/responsibilities will you no longer be doing/will do differently? Identify specifics of how your job will be reduced and monitor it carefully to make sure it doesn't creep back.

willweeversell Tue 05-Aug-08 16:27:09

Hi Dilemma

when i returned to work last year after mat leave i negotiated compressed hours, 26 hours over 3 days (as opposed to the usual 22.5). For me this was the optimum balance of work/salary/minus nursery fees. The upside is lower nursery fees and more time with ds but the downside is that I definately do more than 3.5 days in terms of workload. I know this as I work in a situation where qwe all have 'caseloads' and we roughly know how many cases we should have per day we work.

I think flowery is absolutely right in her suggestion of looking carefully at how you will reduce your days.I supect that in most environments this would be possible, in the organisation I work in even quite senior managers have the option of flexi-working as long as there is some cover in place for there non working days.

I don't agree that if others are already working more than full time (through breaks, evenings etc) with no additional pay that that should hold you back, that is for them to take issue with. basically if you are contracted for f/t hours you should be able to negotiate less hours for less money or frmalise the fact that you already do f/t hours but over 4 days, and formalise that contract wise.

Compressed hours works well for me, i am no tirede doing the extra hour per day than not, and the at present i am happy to be doing a bit more in terms of workload as I see that as being supportive of my colleagues as they have been of me, am not suggesting that is the stance that should be taken but its worked well for me.

willweeversell Tue 05-Aug-08 16:27:12

Hi Dilemma

when i returned to work last year after mat leave i negotiated compressed hours, 26 hours over 3 days (as opposed to the usual 22.5). For me this was the optimum balance of work/salary/minus nursery fees. The upside is lower nursery fees and more time with ds but the downside is that I definately do more than 3.5 days in terms of workload. I know this as I work in a situation where qwe all have 'caseloads' and we roughly know how many cases we should have per day we work.

I think flowery is absolutely right in her suggestion of looking carefully at how you will reduce your days.I supect that in most environments this would be possible, in the organisation I work in even quite senior managers have the option of flexi-working as long as there is some cover in place for there non working days.

I don't agree that if others are already working more than full time (through breaks, evenings etc) with no additional pay that that should hold you back, that is for them to take issue with. basically if you are contracted for f/t hours you should be able to negotiate less hours for less money or frmalise the fact that you already do f/t hours but over 4 days, and formalise that contract wise.

Compressed hours works well for me, i am no tirede doing the extra hour per day than not, and the at present i am happy to be doing a bit more in terms of workload as I see that as being supportive of my colleagues as they have been of me, am not suggesting that is the stance that should be taken but its worked well for me.

flowerybeanbag Tue 05-Aug-08 17:39:25

Supportive colleagues are pretty essential to make any flexible working arrangement successful, as there is almost always an impact on others.

I think you need to bear that in mind if you request compressed hours. If your colleagues see you successfully negotiate an arrangement where you all continue to work hard, you all continue to get paid the same, but you get an extra day off a week, they are likely to be resentful, and regardless of whether that resentment is misplaced or not, it's not going to help you.

I think with any flexible working request the key is to see it from the point of view of your employer, and explain to them what the benefits to the business are in going ahead with your proposal.

If you propose to work just as hard each day as you do now and get paid the same but have extra time off every week, you're going to have be very creative in your explanation to get your employer to see the benefits of this for them.

I'm sounding all down on compressed hours now! That's not the case. If you think it can work in your job and in your organisation, then that's fantastic. It can work wonderfully well and bring benefits to all. But often it doesn't and I think sometimes people have a bit of a rosy tint to the arrangements that suit them best and taking the viewpoint of the employer is always a good idea to help you draft a request that works for you and your employer.

Only you know the realities of the job you do, the working environment you are in, the team you are working with and the attitude of your employer and all these things are crucial in deciding what to ask for and how to ask.

RuthT Tue 05-Aug-08 20:12:09

This is interesting as I am proposing it for my dh at the moment. I have also been on the receiving end of requests for it and was part of a group advising on the change of proposal to explicitly state we won't accept requests for compressed hours (ps I did not agree with this approach).

My personal view is that compressed hours is no picnic for the individuals if they are committed and do the same 'extra hours' as their full time 5 days a week colleagues. Which means extra work in the evening and weekends over and above that which is already done.

This is why when your colleagues (really) think about it they may conclude it wouldn't suit them, which is why a good conversation with them is worthwhile. It is when people think you may just be getting paid more for doing less that they take umbrage and this is the perception you will need to fight against and be clear about.

You need to be honest - do you do the same amount of work/hours as your colleagues currently and will you really make that up elsewhere?

1dilemma Wed 06-Aug-08 09:34:42

thanks all

kids needing attention (on annual leave) will reply tonight

1dilemma Wed 06-Aug-08 15:13:17

Thanks all and flowery,
I may have an advantage in that I am the only one doing my job one question is surely noone else will know what arrangements I have come to with my employer?

To explain a bit I work in a university building but am paid by someone else, surely I would negotiate with the organisation that pays me what I do when, no one else should know whether I'm being paid 80% ot 100% of my salary (they will of course I realise that wink)

The other advantage is that no others don't work through lunch/stay late (again here I agree with wws) but do see your point flowery. The reason I work through lunch is that one of the people I work with is such a pain, she interrupts me every 5 minutes and is always yelling my name so it's the only peace and quiet I get!!However I'm not sure I can use that as an explanation for my employer!!

I see your point about the advantages for my employer however aside from my personal work life balance and the ability for them to say how cuddly they are surely there are no advantages for them? the lights will still be on others will still be doing their work.....T

Thanks again everyone I shall have to go and think some more

mamababa Wed 06-Aug-08 15:31:09

You have to think of the potential impact on the business and how you will overcome that. What others do or dont is irrelevant, each case needs to be considered indidually. There are only certain grounds that you can be refused on anyway. Google 'applying for flexible working' or 'applying for compressed hours' and follow the links for gives you hints and tips

flowerybeanbag Wed 06-Aug-08 19:17:57

Have you see the workingfamilies website 1dilemma? Lots of handy stuff on there.

It does sound as though your individual working situation might make this request easier which is great. It can be difficult to explain the advantages for an employer, have a look at the link for some stuff. I think my more immediate concern was that it sounded as though you just wanted to formalise your current working arrangement and add in an extra day off for the same salary, meaning that your employer would see no difference other than a 20% drop in your productivity/availability. That's extreme obviously, and I'm sure it wouldn't actually be that bad but I think the point is you need to demonstrate some advantages for your employer but at the very least, how they will not lose out by agreeing to this.

I think making an application for flexible working without considering working arrangements in the rest of the organisation and in the immediate team more particularly puts anyone at a disadvantage. Yes individual requests must be considered on a case by case basis, but it would be naive to think that whatever else is going on is going to have no impact on your employer's decision, so considering it at least when making the application is only sensible and realistic.

Any flexible working arrangement will have some degree of impact on colleagues, and similarly colleagues' existing working arrangements will have an impact on your employers ability or willingness to agree your request. Mamababa for those reasons I really don't agree with your argument that what others do is 'irrelevant'.

In terms of refusing an application, yes there are specific reasons that must be given, but if you look at the list of what those reasons actually are, it's pretty broad and doesn't make it very difficult for an employer to refuse a request if they really want to.

For anyone interested, the reasons that can be given are

Burden of additional costs
Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
Inability to recruit additional staff
Detrimental impact on quality
Detrimental impact on performance
Insufficiency of work during periods the employee proposes to work
Planned structural changes

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