6 Strategies To Ask For Workplace Flexibility


As you’re struggling to get yourself out of the house on time for work, slogging through your daily commute, freezing to death in an over-air conditioned cubicle and navigating tricky office politics, do you ever wish your job came with more flexibility?

How does working for a month from a glamorous city in Europe, South America or Southeast Asia sound?

A new service called Behere is aiming to help you do just that.

Behere curates remote work lifestyle experiences for women. Behere sets you up with flights, accommodation, a co-working space, and even extras like a fitness membership and networking events. All you have to do is convince your boss to let you work remotely for a month.

Behere provides clients with some suggestions on how to make the ask in a way that your boss is likely to say yes to. What I appreciate about their strategies is how they stay focused on ways this novel arrangement would benefit both your manager and your team.

Here are six strategies to ask your boss for more workplace flexibility.

1. Find out about your company’s existing remote, flexible, and/or telecommuting policies.

Are there existing policies in place that you could take advantage of? If not, have you seen anyone informally make arrangements for more flexibility that you could refer to as a benchmark?

2. Do other similar companies in your industry — or competitors — offer flexibility as a standard option?

Gathering your research about what the standards are both inside your company and in your industry peer group will help you determine whether there’s growing consensus, or even a standard, for workplace flexibility that you can refer back to.

3. Set aside time to meet with your manager and discuss your ideas in detail.

Don’t just drop this on him or her one day over lunch. Especially if you’re asking for something that’s not yet an established policy, you won’t want to surprise someone you care about. And anyone who you’re hoping to reach an agreement with is someone you care about.

4. Bring research and stats in support of your proposal.

This means anticipating what objections you might face from your manager and coming prepared to reassure him or her with as much research and evidence as you can gather. Think the boss will be concerned about your ability to be productive and contribute if you’re not in the same physical space as the team? Search for data from places like employee engagement firms and studies on the benefits of remote work.

5. Get very specific about what remote work would look like for you and your role.

Does your team already work asynchronously, or is it a nine to five kind of office? If you’re planning to work from a different time zone, be ready to discuss how that will or won’t that affect your team’s work output. What kinds of productivity tools (like Wunderlist, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.) are you already using that you can continue to rely on?

6. Start out by asking for a trial run.

Depending on what reaction you anticipate from your manager and how common (or uncommon) flexible work arrangements are, you could start out by asking to try working remotely on Fridays, or for one week out of the month, or even for one entire month. Make sure you’re both crystal clear about your deliverables and how you’ll troubleshoot any issues that come up unexpectedly.

This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.


Alexandra Dickinson

Alexandra Dickinson is the CEO and founder of Ask For It, a boutique consulting company working to close the gender wage gap by effecting change at both the institutional and individual level. We work with companies, schools, organizations and individuals through a combination of trainings, workshops and consulting. Our goal is for women and men to be paid based on their talents and skills, regardless of gender, and for our company to have been an important part of that change.