flexible working hours

The trend of flexible working hours is picking up everywhere. Across the globe, companies are now encouraging their employees to do remote work and also make the most of productivity by giving them flexible working hours. In the UK, it is the legal right of an employee to ask for flexible working hours, provided they have already worked for the same employer continuously over the last 26 weeks.

Flexible working hours are a win-win situation for both the company and the employee. The company benefits because research shows that employees who get flexible hours are able to dedicate or give focussed attention to the task at hand. Attention to detail helps to improve productivity. It helps them to get a more diverse workforce. Since the employees are also getting more flexibility in their personal lives, it does make sense to provide them with a benefit that could be mutually lucrative for both parties.

So how do you go about asking for flexible working hours?

Know your company’s policy/ culture

Every company is different, and so are their norms and culture. There are startups on one hand that encourage flexible working hours and remote working being a more contemporary school of thought. On the other hand, some older companies, especially standalone ones, seem to have a rigid attitude towards flexible working and don’t encourage it. However, most multinational companies do allow flexible working to a certain extent. You can check with the HR or your colleagues about your company’s policy on the same. Do they allow it after a certain number of weeks or months? How many days can you work from home or opt for flexible hours? Knowing this would help you get a clearer picture of whether you qualify for this benefit or not.

Watch out when you are asking

There are times when there’s enormous work pressure and deadlines to be met. In such scenarios, it is best to abstain from asking for flexible working hours. If there’s an emergency like your kid is not well or there’s a medical condition that needs attention, you can still go ahead and ask for flexible hours. But if it is a more general reason like a birthday or finishing your shopping list, it can wait a little bit. If you are asking for flexible hours when the entire team is staying back extra hours post-work, it is most likely that your request would not be accepted.

Get rid of employer fear

Many employers fear that if the employee is working from home, they would have no control over their work. Quality control is something that they probably fear. So make sure that you convince your boss about the same. Let them know that your work quality would only be better because you are giving more focussed attention rather than not concentrating. Convincing them, and ensuring good work quality, would help you to reap the maximum benefits.

Show your flexible side

So you were able to ask for flexible working hours and got the same. But if you want this to be a regular affair, make sure that you also show flexibility when it comes to working. Be ready to put in extra work when required, volunteer for doing some extra when there’s lack of help — especially around the holidays. This reciprocal attitude would help you secure many more flexible hours in the long run.

Jappreet Sethi


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