Requesting flexible working arrangements can be daunting and in my work, I engage with many organisations and employees. Some organisations live and breathe flexible working arrangements and in my experience, the atmosphere in these companies is collaborative, fun and simply happier. Anecdotally, flexible employees appear to be more committed to outcomes and deliverables than being worried about being present at their office desk.
However, there still exists some managers, and organisations, that need convincing working flexibly will deliver good, if not better, outcomes for the bottom line.
Many employees ask me how flexible working arrangements can be instigated and agreed with their line managers so that all parties win. In these instances, I always make an employee aware of the Fair Work Guidelines.
Most people don’t know these guidelines exist, let alone they are available for any employee to use for templates, forms and processes to help kick off those flexible working discussions.
Here is a preview of some of the information provided on the site:
‘How do employees request flexible working arrangements?
Requests for flexible working arrangements have to:
- be in writing
- explain what changes are being asked for
- explain the reasons for the request.’
‘What should employers do with a request?
Employers who receive a request must give a written response within 21 days saying whether the request is granted or refused. They can only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds. If a request is refused, the written response must include the reasons for the refusal.’
The next reasonable question you may be asking is, what about my situation? … am I able to request flexible working conditions?
Fair Work outlines the guidelines to meet the criteria:
‘Employees who have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:
- are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is school-aged or younger
- are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
- have a disability
- are 55 or older
- are experiencing family or domestic violence, or
- provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence.’
The next step you can take to start the process is to use the letter template and examples provided on the site to submit your request to your employer. It’s important to keep in mind your workplace may have legitimate reasons for not enabling Flexible arrangements, and this is absolutely within the Fair Work Guidelines.
However, with honest, robust discussions, it would be hoped that a solution may be agreed on that suits both parties. And giving it a go can do wonders to one’s self-confidence.
Pam Dell is a founding member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches. She has been on a 30-year journey that encompassed a constant juggle between corporate life and raising 3 children. Her background covers HR, Business, IT, Mentoring, Career coaching, Outplacement consulting, Learning and Development. She coaches people every day to help them be better at what they do, land their dream role, crystalise their goals and achieve their potential. Her passion is seeing people gain confidence to do what they were meant to do (and more!)
You can connect with Pam through her FlexCoach profile here