How many fathers even consider asking for flexible arrangements at work so they can spend more time with their children?
One such father told me he had never considered flexible working as he assumed it would be a non-runner with his employer. So much so that he hadn’t even considered the possibility, despite the fact that it would make a considerable difference to his family life, both personally and financially given it would mean less third-party childcare (and penalties when he’s invariably late for pick-up!).
Tips for Broaching the Subject of Flexible Working
1. Know the legislation on Flexible Working:
It’s always useful to know the foundation on which you stand before you launch forth! Check out current legislation on Flexible Working at www.fairwork.gov.au You may want to ask for more or less than you are entitled to but understanding the legal position is just good common sense.
2. Brainstorm the options:
Be creative in your thinking and consider the widest range of options you can think of. Think in terms of days, hours, weeks and location. Could you work less hours, re-arrange your hours, build up hours to be taken later, work from home, share your job with someone else? Literally brainstorm all options, no matter how crazy they may seem at first as it’s the way out ideas that sometimes trigger the best solutions.
3. Workshop it with your partner:
You and your partner need to work through the various options and apply them to your own personal circumstances and how they might work for your employer and your career. What will work best for you as a couple and as a family and for how long would you want that arrangement to continue? Think through a couple of preferred options so that when you go to talk to your employer you have more than one proposal for them to consider. Be flexible too!
4. Put together a proposal that thinks about both your personal and your work situation:
Your employer is more likely to be supportive if they can see that you’ve thought matters through from their point of view too. Consider the nature of the work you do and the impact of your proposals on that and your colleagues or team.
A really good proposal will be able to demonstrate that you will not adversely affect your output and even better, could have some business advantage.
5. Speak to your employer:
But first decide who best to talk to. It may be that you ask for an appointment to discuss the idea initially with your manager and your HR person, or, you may want to run the idea past your HR person or your manager first. Treat it like a work matter and think about the best way to secure support for your proposal.
Then, when you do have your discussion be well prepared and allow your employer time to ask questions and discuss impact. Ask for their thoughts and any suggestions. Listen and put yourself in their shoes, that way you are much more likely to reach an agreement.