4 tips for applying for flexible working

4 tips for applying for flexible working

Flexible working can include a range of options to enable you to better manage your commitments while completing the duties of your job.

It can include:
• Working an agreed number of hours per day but with flexible start and finish times
• Working at multiple locations or home working
• Compressing your hours, so you can work your contracted hours over fewer days, or vary the number you work each day.
• Varying the weekly hours you week, so some weeks you work more than others.
• There’s also term time only working, career breaks and more.

All workers in the UK have the right to apply for flexible working and do not have to be carers or parents. Having these commitments however is likely to be the thing that prompts most of us to ask for flexible working.

I’m incredibly fortunate that I have tried several flexible working patterns since returning to work from maternity, encompassing both flexible hours and home working. I now work three long days split, primarily in the office with a few hours at home. So far it’s working.

But how do you put your case forward to apply for flexible working?

Each employer will have their own set of internal policies and processes for how this is administered. You will have to follow these, but in almost all situations you will have to make your case as to why they should give it to you. This “business case” usually sets out the benefits to the employer and give an indication of how it won’t impact negatively on their business.

So how do you make the most effective case for flexible working? Here are my top tips:

Be clear

Be upfront with what you are asking for. Don’t bury your aim in lots of dense text or conversation. Get to the point. For example, “I want to work x Hours a day on these days, starting at XXX time and finishing at XXXX. This is a total of XXX hours per week.”

Offer solutions

Make a list of what you do and how you will be able to fufill all your duties. Do any of them need to be done in prescribed times or at specific location? Does someone else need to do some of these and if so who. Set out how you can work around these. In short, be specific and offer solutions.

Softer benefits

It’s easy to forget about the mental benefits or other less obvious benefits. For example, would your new pattern mean you spend less time commuting and more time working. Would the flexibility mean you are able to accommodate later nights or earlier starts as and when needed.  This isn’t about being emotional, it’s simply stating the less tangible benefits to your proposed pattern. This will wash better with some organisations than others of course.

Know your compromise

There is always the possibility that your first proposal may be rejected. Have a fall-back position. What would be acceptable if they can’t give you your ideal solution? Make sure you have done some thinking about this so you can offer up an alternative.




  1. Frankie
    15th March 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Great post, it’s definitely worth being very clear about what you want #ukbloggerclub

  2. 6th March 2018 / 7:10 pm

    Really helpful tips here. I’m lucky that I work flexibly with my work, although actually only on my boss’ agreement rather than the business (which is insanely unflexible). But as we’re both mums, she understands the need for flexibility which is really helpful. Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x

  3. Winnettes
    6th March 2018 / 4:56 pm

    This is such a useful post. I was lucky to work for the nhs who were as flexible as they could be but when it came to school hours, they just don’t suit nursing shifts. I’m sure this will be so helpful for someone and I wish I had read this when I first applied for flexible hours. I was so nervous.
    Thank you for joining #ThursdayTeam

  4. 5th March 2018 / 1:07 pm

    Great advice! I know so many companies now that are becoming more flexible and it’s great to see. Let’s hope more follow suit. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  5. 4th March 2018 / 8:51 pm

    This is so useful. I think flexible working is the holy grail for many parents but it really shouldn’t be so difficult to achieve. I sense the tide is turning, but it’s happening slowly, so advice like this is brilliant for anyone looking at returning to work, or just looking to change their working pattern. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  6. 3rd March 2018 / 1:55 pm

    In my last job I worked fulltime hours over 4 days, it meant I had one day a week with Ben just one on one and I loved it. It also made my week go faster as after maternity leave I just couldnt face a usual 9-5 job!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

  7. 2nd March 2018 / 1:20 am

    This is a great post! I don’t know if there are any specific regulations in Canada about Flexible Working. I’m lucky to work with a great boss who can be very flexible when needed. I can’t do my job from home, but I can ask to step out for a bit if I need to. Just today I had a meeting at the school at 2pm(!) so I was able to leave work for an hour to attend.

  8. 1st March 2018 / 2:03 pm

    These are some great tips. I’m lucky to work flexibly – starting earlier some days, having shorter lunch some days, and finishing for school pick up on a Friday. It works really well thankfully, but our company is very good about accepting flexible working (maybe too good because it’s very hard to get meetings in with some people!) #sharingthebloglove#thelistlinky

  9. 1st March 2018 / 1:14 pm

    Great advice. It can be scary to ask for but definitely worth it to make life easier. I work shorter days so I can pick my daughter up from school and it’s a life-saver! #SharingtheBlogLove

  10. 1st March 2018 / 11:08 am

    I think it’s definitely worth specifying how you want to work from the off rather than starting and think you can renegotiate later. Much harder to change people’s minds once they have got used to something, whereas if it’s what you’ve always done, it’s easier to say it’s out of the agreed time / conditions #thurdsdayteam

  11. 28th February 2018 / 8:43 pm

    I wrote a similar post and yours is way more useful! 🙂 Seriously – it’s such an important topic and it’s so key to get the application process right. #fortheloveofBLOG

  12. 28th February 2018 / 3:49 pm

    Some great tips! I wish I had known after my first maternity leave. #TheListLinky

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