Flexible work arrangement request: Two mistakes to avoid

Let's face it: Approaching your boss about altering your work schedule can brew up a nervous stomach.  It's made worse if you don't have a plan and end up blowing it, which is easy to do if you fall into these two rejection traps.

Mistake #1: "Winging it."
I read somewhere that "Impulsiveness is the mother of regret." Isn't that a great line?

So, even though you need more time and balance now because you're...

  • tired of the hectic juggling of work and personal needs,
  • tired of weekends filled only with chores and errands,
  • and just plain tired!

...don't let your sense of urgency lead you into the proposal rejection trap.

Even reasonable bosses can get irrational when it comes to non-traditional work schedules.

First, you risk an outright dismissal of the idea.

Or, you might get an initial off-the-cuff, favorable response. Then, days later, the boss will dismiss the idea as unworkable. She may have had second thoughts, or after suggesting the idea to her boss, she's been overruled.

Either way, the opportunity to present and negotiate your case has just slipped away like sand through your fingers!

How to Avoid the Mistake #1
Set an appointment with your boss to present and discuss your proposal. And, be as prepared as you would be for an important job interview or business presentation.

Mistake #2: No written proposal. Whether you research and write your own, or go the proven, time-saving route with Flex Success, a written proposal is a critical 'must-have' when you present your case to your boss.

Without a well-organized document, you sap the muscle out of your flex work strategy. Here's how:

  • Having no proposal document deflates the seriousness of your request and the strength of your desire. Sure, your boss claims to be rational, but the truth is, even the most objective bosses weigh decisions on some emotional level.

Thorough preparation in the form of a first-rate proposal reflects intensity of purpose and desire. These are very persuasive elements. Translation: a yes is more likely.

  • Having no proposal document leaves your boss with doubts about ill-defined issues. There's a hard-to-acknowledge fear of losing control that many managers react to with a knee-jerk no when faced with a non-traditional work schedule request.

Your written proposal provides concrete comfort to help relieve the boss's doubts and fears, and it makes rejection of the request more difficult to argue down.

The structure and content of Flex Success is a major strength in this regard.

Having no proposal document leaves your boss ill-equipped when answering questions from superiors if higher-level approval is needed.

Yet, if you equip your boss with a ready reference and specific replies to likely questions, she's more likely to press your case.

How to Avoid Mistake #2 Prepare a written proposal for the boss's reference, detailing all the major issues that will put him or her at ease enough to agree with your plan.

Written? Yes! A document spelling out all the details wins the boss over. And a solid plan allows you to confidently negotiate for what you want.

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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