How many minutes do you spend commuting to and from work each day? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute is 26 minutes each way. That’s nearly an hour round-trip! And of course, if you’re like my friends in Los Angeles, you’re lucky if your commute is under two hours each day. There’s only so many Serial Podcasts and Kanye West you can listen to before the commute gets old, amirite?!
I have friends who tell me their work schedule and commute really affect their productivity, mood, and overall lifestyle. I know this because I once experienced the hour-long traffic commute, too. By month three, I was over it but never admitted it to my partner because I knew he would say I told you so.
So, day in and day out I went on with a happy face, even though I was absolutely drained, cringing every time I checked my mileage meter creeping up and sighing at the gas pump I filled once a week.
When to Bring Up Your Flexible Work Schedule Request
There isn’t a hard rule to follow when it comes to asking for flexibility in your commute or work schedule. If I had to pinpoint one moment of your career though, I would say immediately after a positive performance evaluation. Hopefully, before you make any type of request, you prove your worth, dedication, and work ethic to your employer.
If you just accepted a job and already find yourself frustrated, your boss might wonder, “Did you move? Did anything change since accepting the job? Didn’t you know where we were located?” They might judge your request as short-sighted and wonder who you think you are making these types of special demands so early on. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you build up their trust first before asking for special accommodations.
I’ve Shown My Worth and Value, Now What?
Now that you’ve shown your indispensable value, there are four steps to follow.
How to Ask Your Boss for a More Flexible Work Schedule in 5 Steps
1. Set Up a Formal Meeting With Your Boss
It’s best to have a meeting without any distractions. If it’s in your company’s culture, you may want to ask if you can take a walk outside or set up a meeting in a conference room. You want to feel as comfortable as possible without any interruptions from emails, phone calls, or knocks on the door.
2. Reiterate Your Interest in Your Role and The Company
Before asking for this request, it’s important to let them know you love your work, your teammates, your company’s mission and culture, etc. Emphasize that no matter what, you’re committed to growing with the company for the long haul!
3. Share What’s Really Coming Up
Without bringing in emotions, let your boss know you want to have an open and honest conversation. Let them know how your commute is affecting your overall lifestyle. For example, if you find yourself commuting in heavy traffic that is doubling your average commute time, let them know you feel you can respond to all emails before you leave the house and that way you not only clear out your inbox, but you also become more energized and focused when you reach the office.
4. Propose a Few Options as a Trial Run
Remember, if you’re making the request, it’s your responsibility to present some possible solutions. Let your boss know you’ve brainstormed a few ideas that might work out well, and you’d like to see if s/he would allow a trial run. Be specific about how long this trial is so you know when to re-evaluate.
Some possible options could be working remotely once a week when there are no scheduled meetings, or come in earlier/leave earlier or come later/stay later to avoid the rush hour traffic.
5. Emphasize The Benefits
Emphasize again how this solution will benefit the company. Let them know you believe your productivity and energy will increase thus resolving some of the specific issues you may be encountering.
What If My Boss Says No?
Some positions and companies may have a strict policy just due to the nature of the business. If this is the case, don’t feel disappointed. You tried, you asked, and now you know your answer. It’s important to remain positive and upbeat, “No problem, boss. I just wanted to ask and I appreciate you letting me know your decision so quickly. I look forward to continuing working everything out and providing the best results.”
What If My Boss Says Yes?
Woohoo. Now that you passed the trial run, this is your chance to work harder and produce better results. Take proactive action to reach out to your boss before you are almost ending your day to see if there is anything else they may need help with. Once they see your work quality and productivity through the roof, it would be impossible for them to say, “Sorry, this isn’t working out.”
You can then create a longer and more permanent arrangement. Remember, you got this! Follow the five steps and you can confidently lead an open conversation which hopefully results in increased motivation and sanity!
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- How to Ask Your Boss for a More Flexible Work Schedule in 5 Steps - September 6, 2017