Don't get personal! Make the business case for a flexible work arrangement

New baby. Community work. School. Leisure time. Elder care. Marital nurturing. Burnout recovery. Kids who need quantity time.

These are some of the reasons and motives that drive people to pitch a flexible work arrangement to their boss.

What do they have in common? They're all personal. What else? The boss probably doesn't want to know or hear about it.

It sounds a bit harsh, but it's generally true. When making your proposal, you must appeal to the interests of your boss and the bottom-line concerns of your employer, even though your interests are closer to heart and home.

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 boss's office with an emotional plea of, "I miss by baby!"

Fortunately, she said, she first came across the Two Mistakes to Avoid article on WorkOptions.com about the dangers of 'winging it', and then developed a more sensible approach.

Likewise, plan on presenting the business case for allowing you to reduce your hours, telecommute, job share or otherwise restructure your job.

This advice parallels that of the request for a raise; personal need is not the issue. "My two kids need braces." "I'm a single mom receiving no child support." "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 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 boss? Your employer? How will they benefit?

The Flex Success Proposal Blueprint & Planning Guide details the answers. You can also pile up your plate of justifiers with some of the free goodies from the Work & Family Connection web site. Especially useful: Their page on the most important work-life studies of the decade.

You'll also find "100 News Bulletins and Soundbites you can use to help make the business case...", which is available on a pay-for-view basis for non-subscribers of their newsletter. Though your motives for a flexible work arrangement are personal - even emotional - resolve to present your case in an objective, business-like manner.

Pat Katepoo is the developer of the e-workbook, Flex Success: A Proposal Blueprint & Planning Guide for Getting a Family-Friendly Work Schedule. Click here for more info.

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