Image of a notebook with a pen and an open laptop on a table. Used for a blog on Manisha Dorawala's website about what to consider before asking for a flexible schedule.

Flexible schedules are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. There are various reasons why someone would want to work a flexible schedule; maybe you’re a new parent, have a difficult commute, or have a chronic illness. With technological advances, many jobs can be done from the comfort of an employee’s home. If you’re looking for a more flexible work schedule, there are various options, such as working from home full- or part-time, working earlier or later hours in the office, or only coming into the office a few days during the week and spending the rest of the time at home. If you think a flexible work schedule is something you want to ask your employer for, consider a few points before making the plunge!

Know if it’s best for you

While working a more flexible schedule may sound incredibly appealing to you (it probably appeals to most people, honestly), it’s vital that you consider whether or not it’s the best choice. Some people work better spending time in the office, because they can get easily distracted by what they have to do at home. For others, they feel left out if they aren’t in the office every day, socializing. Working remotely poses its own challenges that you need to consider as well. Be honest with yourself about your organization skills and whether or not you can separate work from home while working remotely.

Decide what you want

Like I mentioned above, working remotely isn’t your only option when it comes to a flexible schedule. You can choose to put in extra hours on some days and switch to a four-day work week. You can go into the office later and stay later to avoid a difficult commute. You can work a set number of days from home each month and you can decide when you want to use those work-from-home days. The first step to creating a flexible work schedule is to decide what type of flexible schedule works for you.

Consider how it benefits your company

If you want to make a truly convincing argument, you’ll need to learn how to present your request for a different schedule in a way that highlights the way being a flexible employee benefits your company. Your employer will be infinitely more likely to agree to let you switch to a flexible schedule if you can show her that it ultimately benefits the company as well and one of your focuses is making sure the company does well.

Outline what you’ll say

Once you’ve determined what you want, it’s time to plan how you’ll ask for it. You cannot just walk into a meeting and ask for a drastically different schedule without rehearsing what to say ahead of time. Write down what you want and the points you’ll make to convince your supervisor that a flexible schedule is a good decision. Rehearse your talking points a few times before your actual meeting, so you’re comfortable with what you’re talking about and can remember all your points.

Wait for the best opportunity

Finally, you need to learn when to ask for your new schedule. You don’t want to go into your boss’s office first thing Monday morning and ask to spend less time in the office. Timing is particularly important if your workplace doesn’t have a precedent for working a flexible schedule, because it’ll take more convincing to get what you want. Wait to ask for a different schedule until you’ve landed a big sale, closed a huge deal, or had a really productive week. When you’re sure that your boss recognizes your devotion to your work and your talent, it’s a good time to ask for a flexible work schedule.