Negotiating Series: How to Negotiate for More Flexibility at Work

| Office Life

Feb 25 2014

Recently, it has come to light that more workers are defining success and happiness by how much flexibility their positions and careers offer them. Millennials particularly seem to have a penchant for flexibility, as when surveyed, 37% said they would take a smaller salary if it came with job flexibility rather than taking a larger salary with no work flexibility.

Many workers associate flexible working conditions with “flashy tech start-ups” or young companies where the average age of employees is somewhere around 25 and think it’s something that their workplace will never allow or go for. And while company culture will certainly play a part in any flexible scheduling, it still remains true that flexibility can be found just about anywhere – you just may have to negotiate for it.

Negotiating is a wonderful skill to have, although it can be difficult to do it well and with the results that we want. Here are a few tips in regard to negotiating for a more flexible working environment:

  1. Know exactly what you want: Not just a general idea. Work it out and have the specifics. For example, know the day(s), the timing and how a flexible schedule will be sustainable for you. Show how you will still be able to produce high quality work and expertly manage your workload with more flexibility.
  2. Know why you deserve it: Don’t just tell your boss that you want more flexibility; show why you deserve it.
  3. Know why it will be better: Obviously, you cannot predict the future and no one expects you to, but you should be expecting many advantages from more flexibility. Discuss how these advantages will not only make your work easier, but also how it benefit the company.
  4. Have examples ready: Do your research. Find out what others are doing and what seems to work. Talk to friends or maybe even other coworkers who have flexible schedules. This will help guide you when you are determining exactly what to ask for. It can also help to have some other instances of success that you can show your boss to help convince them that this is a great option for everyone.
  5. Practice makes perfect: It may be an overused phrase, but only because it is so incredibly true. Practice your pitch for more flexibility in the way that works best for you whether speaking to your reflection or writing notes down on note cards to keep your thoughts and words organized. Just make sure that whatever method you choose makes you feel confident and empowered.
  6. Learn from it: Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, it’s sure to be a learning experience, whether it’s your first time negotiating or your tenth. Listen to what is said and pay attention to what you did that worked and what could use a little bit more polishing.

As the old saying goes, knock and the door shall be opened. So if you don’t knock, you can’t really expect anyone to open the door for you. Maybe your negotiations will work out how you envisioned them and maybe they won’t. Either way, at least you had the courage to knock.

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