Requesting flexible working arrangements from your employer might seem daunting at first; but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these steps to become flexible-working-request ready.
Do your homework – Find out if your organization has a flexible working policy, and understand your options and limits. Speak with colleagues who work within a flexible arrangement to learn about some of the different types of arrangements that are in place in your organization.
Consider how it will work for your family – Take the time to think about what work schedule will best suit you and your family. Talk to your partner or family if applicable about your personal situation, and encourage their feedback as to what your ideal working scenario looks like.
Think about the needs of the business – Start to pull together your business case for working flexibly, outlining how it might impact your employer and ways to overcome anticipated challenges.
Put it in writing – Draft your request and send it to your employer. In Australia, a written request for flexible working must be answered within 21 days. Keep a copy for your records. (Scroll down for a pitch-perfect letter to use as a template to submit your request to your employer.)
Keep the lines of communication open – It might help your case to discuss the proposal with your manager before a decision is made. Request a meeting, and remember to be both prepared and open to listen. Recognize that flexible working requirements may change over time. Going forward, check-in regularly with your manager to make sure the arrangement is working for both parties.
Private and confidential
Dear [insert manager’s name]
RE: Request for flexible working arrangements
I would like to request to work a flexible work arrangement that is different from my current working arrangement.
I am making this request to help care for my child.
I can confirm I have worked continuously as an employee of this organization for the last 12 months and am employed on a [full-time basis/part-time basis/casual basis].
I would like to start working [include a paragraph to describe the flexibility you would like to have in the future including the days/hours/times you would like to work].
These changes will assist me because [insert reasons].
I would like to request this working arrangement to start from [insert date].
I think this change in my working pattern will affect my employer and colleagues by [include any information on the impact you feel your flexible working pattern will have on your employer].
I think the impact on the business and my colleagues can be dealt with by [include steps you feel can be taken to accommodate your flexible working pattern].
I would appreciate your response to this request and am happy to discuss this matter at a time that is convenient. I am willing to discuss possible alternatives to the arrangements I have outlined, and I am also willing to work with you to make sure that this arrangement works effectively for both the business and me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Source: Fair Work Ombudsman