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HELP Someone please look at my flexible working request

(20 Posts)
Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 12:33:40

I'm just putting together my flexible working request, but am really thrown by a conversation I had with my boss this morning. I thought they would look at it quite favourably, from the discussions we've had about it in the past, but from talking to him this morning, he sounded really quite negative, so I'm now depserate to tick all the boxes. I'm on Mat leave atm, which ends on 4th Jan, but planning to return to work on 3rd Nov (if request agreed). Have never made a flexible working request before, so am a bit lost really. This is what I've got so far, and I would really appreciate any comments.

CURRENT WORKING PATTERN (Include details of days/times/hours worked)


REQUESTED WORKING PATTERN (Describe days/hours/times etc)



I think the requested change in my working pattern would affect service delivery and my colleagues as follows:

No line manager available on Fridays for the section
Reduced hours in a period of heavy workload
Lack of attendance at Events/conferences/urgent meetings if they are on a Friday


I think the effect on service delivery and colleagues could be dealt with as follows:

By accommodating my request, the business will be losing only 5 hours a week – not a full day’s worth. Furthermore, this request is not for an indefinite change to my working hours, but for a 12 month fixed period
Available for contacting via home telephone/mobile in case an urgent decision needs to be made
Can make arrangements to work on Fridays on occasion if required, and given sufficient notice

That's all I have so far, desperately racking my brain to think of more.

pooka Wed 17-Sep-08 12:39:45

It seems a bit weighted on the negative impact to me, with not enough explanation of how the impacts could be overcome?

But should point out that I know nothing of such things....

titchy Wed 17-Sep-08 12:54:58

Could add the salary savings could be used to resource some temp help?

Miyazaki Wed 17-Sep-08 13:00:33

Can you add something about the requested change affect your colleagues positively, ie giving them the chance to shadow you, increase their skill base, offer chance for growth in their role leading to enhanced holiday cover.

I'm guessing that you have already ruled out doing 5 days a week with reduced hours - employers seem to respond more favourably to that one ime?

Can you organise remote access to your work files so if extremely busy you could answer emails in the evening (even if you hardly ever have to do this it is v assuaging

nervousal Wed 17-Sep-08 13:01:51

As said above - too focussed on the negatives (which they will already be well aware of!) You need instead to focus on how these could be overcome. Are Fridays the busiest day?

Could someone else be trained to act as line manager on a Friday - good for succession planning and personal development?

Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 13:10:27

Thanks for the feedback, will def use those ideas. I agree, I need to make it more positive sounding,just struggling a bit with how. Bit more background: Work in the public sector, Fridays are usually the slowest work day, they've recently introduced super-flexitime with no core hours, but also have some new reporting duties that the team is struggling with, was offered the job while on mat leave, and 2 out of three posts I'll be supervising are vacant atm, which is adding to huge stress for my manager.

gameboy Wed 17-Sep-08 13:28:34

Are you filling a pre-defined form out, are have you been asked to lay it out in a letter format?
The reason I ask, is because it's automatically structured in a negative way e.g. "I think the requested change in my working pattern would affect service delivery and my colleagues as follows:"

If you have the flexibility to do this, I think you need to re-phrase it, so
e.g "Possible impacts on service delivery and colleagues: " (so they have been identified as 'possible', but in the next section you go on to show that you have thought carefully about them and can put steps in place to avoid the impact)

I think the second section also sounds a bit defensive - "the busines will only be losing 5 hours a week" etc

If you can, I'd de-personalise it and put it in the third(?) person - so something like:

CURRENT WORKING PATTERN (Include details of days/times/hours worked)


REQUESTED WORKING PATTERN (Describe days/hours/times etc)



Possible impacts on service delivery and colleagues:

Deputy line manager required to manage the section on Fridays
Advance workload scheduling required for Friday.
Early notice required for attendance at events/ conferences, if required on Friday.


Impact on service delivery and colleagues could be dealt with as follows:

Training and coaching of deputy manager(s) to ensure confident cover.
Review of workload scheduling mid-week, and plan accordingly.
Employee is willing to be contacted via home telephone/mobile in case an urgent decision needs to be made
Occasional Friday working will be possible, if required, given appropriate notice.


Even if you don't feel it, you need to be confident in your approach to this, and try to (postively!) overcome any objections:

- Stress how keen you are to make sure it works for both you and your employer
- If they aren't willing to accept THIS proposal try to compromise - does it HAVE to be Mon-Thurs? Could it be Tues- Fri instead? (IMO employers are always wary of the 'Friday off' thing - they sometimes think it sends the wrong message to the other employees)
- Agree a 'trial' period - 3-6 months (and then bust a gut to make sure it 'works'!)

Do you know how your colleagues will feel? Are they likely to be supportive or not? Could you offer to have a chat with each of them to find out what their concerns might be about the arrangement, and overcome any potential issues? (If you do this, there's also less chance of them all stabbing you in the back when it's a sunny day outside, and they're in the office with the heavy workload on your day off!)

Hope this helps!

gameboy Wed 17-Sep-08 13:30:49

OK - sorry - X-posted - the 'deputy' manager seems a bit unlikely right now!!

happynappies Wed 17-Sep-08 13:32:34

Do you have to have the Friday off? Could you leave it 'open' i.e. your proposal is that you are in work for four days instead of five, and suggest that if it suited the organisation you'd be happy to not work on Friday, if it is their slowest day. I know from my own flexible working request that Friday can be problematic, as often people want to book their annual leave and make a long weekend. All I'm saying is perhaps you'd sound more flexible if you were able to fit in with which day suited them? I don't know what your commitments/childcare etc are so ignore me if not relevant!!

Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 13:48:32

Thanks so much gameboy! I am filling out a predetermined form, hence the negative sounding titles. ASAIK colleagues should be ok with the arrangement, as we already have three people in the team who work part time or compressed hours.

Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 13:50:07

ooh, good idea happy nappies, but I'll need whichever days I'm working to be fixed - childcare is flexible, but only up to a point. Hmm, how can I phrase this?

happynappies Wed 17-Sep-08 13:55:14

I'd say that you are flexible about which day you didn't work, (but would need the day to be fixed to arrange childcare) and make this into a positive i.e. the organisation can decide according to workload, other staff working patterns etc. When you have your meeting to discuss this with your line-manager/HR representative or whatever you can expand on what you can or can't do, e.g. say you don't work on Tuesdays, then after a few months Tuesday suddenly becomes a busy day, given sufficient notice to re-arrange childcare you could change the day, but obviously couldn't do a different day each week with no notice! That sort of thing...

flowerybeanbag Wed 17-Sep-08 14:50:36

Definitely agree too negative focused. Needs to be all about how wonderful this is for your employer, not all the problems. 'Impact' can be positive as well as negative, so at least start that section with a few belters of positive impact, then make sure any less positive issues are fully addressed so they are not actualy negative at all.

Have a look at workingfamilies website, there is an online guide to flexible working an some excellent factsheets to help you make your case all about the positive benefits for your employer.

Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 17:55:36

Thanks for all the help, I have now come up with a (I hope) better draft. The advice really helped, as I didn't feel I had a clue what I was doing before!

OK, here goes (bits in bold are the standard form)

2 *CURRENT WORKING PATTERN (Include details of days/times/hours worked)*


3 *REQUESTED WORKING PATTERN (Describe days/hours/times etc)*



Possible *impacts of the requested change in working pattern on service delivery and colleagues include:*

• Reduced working week will enable the employee to be fully focused on work when at work. People who are working hours that suit the rest of their life, and who are working for a reduced period, are more likely to stay fresh, energetic, creative and less stressed during the hours they work. This can lead to improved output.
• The organisation will benefit from an improved image if it is seen to promote a healthy work/life balance. This could improve morale amongst existing staff and encourage high calibre applicants to apply to it in future.
• Flexible working has been shown to lead to lower absenteeism and reduction in staff turnover.
• Advance workload scheduling for supervised employees required for the 5th day.
• Early notice required for attendance at events/ conferences, if required on the 5th day.


I think the effect on service delivery and colleagues could be dealt with as follows:*

• Improved output may mean that the line manager will have more time for planning work strategies, and increase the proactive responses of the team
• Accommodating flexible working means that the organisation will save costs by reduction in staff turnover and lower absenteeism
• Review of workload scheduling mid-week, and plan work so that staff supervision is done in advance of the employee’s non-working day.
Employee is willing to be contacted via home telephone/mobile in case an urgent decision needs to be made
• Employee is willing to check their email at 3pm on their day off to see if there are any urgent messages
• Occasional 5th day working will be possible, if required, given appropriate notice
• Employee is flexible over which days are worked, as long as they are fixed for childcare arrangements
• Proposed 6 month trial period

Fragolina Wed 17-Sep-08 17:56:52

oops - couldn't quite figure out how to bold sentences blush

hotbot Wed 17-Sep-08 20:24:10

i think you need to explain more how yuor job can be done and the resposibilities can be covered a bit better
eg it is not practical for you to be doing work whilst you are not meant to be at work
also there is an undetone of suggestion at you leaving if they dont comply with your request?
look at your job description and identify the real issue with you having a friday off and try to suggest way in overcoming that.also how will you have imoroved output but with less -how is that possible . this needs to be factual not a wishlist - sorry dont mean to be negative but it really needs a factual response to back them into a corner and make them comply with your wishes
hth - what do yuo do btw?

maxmissie Wed 17-Sep-08 20:48:36

Hi there, I agree with hotbot to some extent in that you probably need to make it more specific to your actual job rather than more general statements that could apply to anyone, e.g how will work be dealt with in your absence, colleagues will have to check your in-tray and deal with any urgent matters, take messages on your behalf, you can arrange appointments outside of work time so you can be in the office all of your working hours

also set out more specific things that could be done to overcome these effects, e.g.set up a handover book, put details of your working hours on any letters that go out, set up voicemail/email out of office reply, work flexitime to allow some flexibility within the hours you want to work if something urgent needs to be finished

also set out what the benefits to your employer will be of you working part time and of retaining you as a member of staff e.g your experience, good work/life balance

I work in the public sector as a senior officer but don't have any managerial responsibility so not quite the same as you. Wasn't sure whether they would accept my request but they did (20 hours over three days). I've got my request saved on my pc which deals with the two main headings you've set out, am happy to email it to you if you want, although not all of it may be relevant to your job, it does flesh out the points I made earlier.

Hope this helps a bit!

hotbot Wed 17-Sep-08 21:14:50

im surprised you could read my message with my typing - your post put what i meant , but you put it so much better.. grin

Fragolina Thu 18-Sep-08 09:01:17

Maxmissie, please do email it to me at faridina at hotmail dot com, that would be a huge help. I didn't think I would find this so difficult, but I really am (scary, as starting to wonder if my brain has died over maternity leave!).
Hotbot - gosh! I didn't realise I implied I might leave if they didn't comply (I wouldn't, but would probably look for another job asap)

Fragolina Thu 18-Sep-08 14:49:59

Anyone else who is willing to let me look at your flexible working request for ideas, please email me at faridina at hotmail dot com - I need all the help I can get! Thanks!

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