The business case for flexible work is well-established. Progressive employers know that workplace flexibility is a business strategy that expands recruitment options and enhances employee retention, to name a few bottom-line benefits.
But those benefits are not the reasons why YOU want a flexible work arrangement, right? Typically, individuals want more flexible control over their time for a variety of reasons:
- Having a baby
- Building a new side business
- Visiting friends and relatives
- Taking an evening MBA program
- Going for regular workouts
- Wanting quantity time with kids
- Meeting elder care demands
- Volunteering in the community
What do these reasons have in common? They’re all related to personal life and…
…your manager probably doesn’t want to hear about them!
It sounds harsh, but it’s generally true. So when making your proposal for a flexible work arrangement, appeal to the interests of your manager and the bottom-line concerns of your employer, even though your interests are closer to heart and home.
The Business Case Does NOT Look Like This
A development officer for a non-profit organization in San Francisco told me that she was about to make her pitch for a part-time schedule by sweeping into her manager’s office with an emotional plea of “I miss my baby!”
Fortunately, she said she first came across my advice on the #1 Big Mistake to avoid when requesting flexible work, and followed through with a more effective approach: a detailed proposal which included the employer payoffs. (Her request was approved.)
Don’t Get Personal!
Likewise, your proposal needs to emphasis the employer advantages to agreeing to your request to work from home or reduce your workweek or whichever flexible work arrangement you want.
In other words, don’t get personal when making your pitch.
Even if “family” is the reason. (Use these three tactics and scripts to get around the “why” related to family.)
Ideally, in turn, your manager should make the decision to accept or reject your proposal based on the business merits, not based on the reasons why you want it.
This advice parallels that of asking for a raise; personal need is not the issue. “My two kids need braces.” “My car needs repairs.” “We’re remodeling our kitchen.”
It just doesn’t fly.
Your justification for a raise must be based on the merits of your performance and contributions to your employer. Leave orthodontist bills and the high cost of hardwood cabinets out of the discussion.
It’s the same when asking for a flexible work arrangement.
- What’s in it for your manager?
- Your department?
- Your employer?
- How will they benefit?
Although your motives for a flexible work arrangement are personal—even emotional—resolve to present the business case for flexible work in an objective, professional manner to boost the likelihood of getting your request approved.
Easy 101: Make the Business Case for Flexible Work
Find the business advantages you need woven into my flexible work proposal templates, making it easy for you to be convincing when making your request. Pick and click a cover to learn more. In a hurry? Download one today and be done by tomorrow.