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How To Negotiate Flexible Working

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There’s a lot of talk about flexible working these days and the Government says it wants the right to request flexible working to be extended to all workers. Currently it is only available to parents of children under 17 and carers who have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks for their organisation. Some employers, however, already offer flexible working to all employees... In many cases this is on an informal basis, such as granting the odd day of homeworking. Some companies prefer to make things more formal so employees have to go through a formal procedure. Even for those companies that promote flexible working, however, a request has to be backed up by a good business case for agreeing it. So what is the best way to negotiate it?
What you'll need: 
Your Company's Handbook (if appropriate)
Your working contract
You need to check out what your company’s policy on flexible working is. All companies are obliged to consider flexible working for parents and carers, but they are not obliged to agree to every or any request. However, some companies are more innovative in their policy on flexible working and may already have trialled different forms of flexible working from the usual ones of working different shift patterns or cutting your hours. For instance, they might offer term-time only working or working from home or annualised hours. 
You should be clear about the hours you want to work and how you want to work them, for instance, could you do some of your work at home in order to cut down on travelling time? Can you afford to work part-time?
Once you know the hours you want to work and how, make a business plan which emphasises the advantages for both you and the company of working this way. For example, you could say there are aspects of your job – research, reading, data input – that could be done better at home with no other distractions around. 
It is also worth talking to other people in your company and elsewhere who have negotiated flexible working and asking them about their experiences and tips. 
You should then put your request in writing to your line manager and sign and date the letter. Your employer has 28 days to arrange a meeting with you to discuss your request. Be calm and business-like in your negotiations. Don’t lose your calm if they turn you down flat [this is actually proof that they are not abiding by the legislation as they should at least consider your case properly and give you reasonable grounds for turning you down]. Similarly if they do not reply to your request, this goes against the legislation. They should reply in writing within 14 days of the meeting. 
If you suspect your manager has not followed procedures properly or has not given due attention to your case, make an appeal to his or her line manager within 14 days of receipt of their decision. Reasonable grounds for dismissing requests for flexible working include that it would have a detrimental effect on other staff or on the company’s ability to meet customer need. 
If this appeal is not successful, you could lodge a claim with an employment tribunal on the grounds of sex discrimination, particularly if the decision forces you to leave your job.
Good luck!
Make sure you make a good business case for you working flexibly.
Do your research in advance.
Be prepared to negotiate and to show some flexibility in return.


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