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Paving the Way for Flexible Job Options (Part 1)

by Sarah Honey  |  4301 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

(This is a two-part article about successfully creating a new part-time/part-remote job—from both the employee’s and manager’s perspectives. Part 1 shows how Cara, the employee, got the ball rolling and made it happen.)

How do you convince your employer to let you work less, in an environment where everybody’s working more? You believe in your value. You show your employer it’s the quality of your work—not the quantity of the hours you log in. That’s what it came down to two years ago when I realized working round the clock at advertising agency wasn’t going to cut it for my family.

I had just had my second child and was going back to work after an eight-week maternity leave. Of course, like many moms, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic about going back to work. I liked my job. But now with two kids at home, it meant double the juggle and double the daycare cost.

Back in the office, things were just as they were before. Employees were still working like mad—working through lunch or sacrificing nights and weekends to meet crazy deadlines. However, with the demanding pace, it seemed like more people were choosing to leave. Thinking I’d follow the same approach, I started looking for a job that was less demanding. Then I thought—what if I could make my job part-time? So before I threw in the towel, I’d decided to talk to my immediate supervisor about it.

Since I had returned to work, my manager was very open and understanding. Because she had expressed plans to become a mother herself, I knew she shared my concerns about juggling work and family. So in our weekly one-on-one meeting, I brought the subject up. I asked if she ever thought I could turn my position into a part-time position. She was very excited about the idea and suggested we propose it to our department heads.

I knew in order to convince the agency of a part-time schedule, I would need to present a detailed proposal. The proposal would need to highlight how the situation would benefit them—not me. The obvious benefit was retaining a valuable employee. The cost of replacing an experienced employee can be up to 150 percent of an individual's annual salary. With more employees leaving the agency, I knew the word “retention” would strongly resonate with them.

As I started to compile information for my proposal, I came across a website called What a great resource for negotiating part-time, flextime, job sharing, and telecommuting! I decided use the website’s part-time proposal template. Within a week, I was ready to present my part-time request to my employer with a detailed proposal in hand. I set up my proposed arrangement as a three-month trial. After the three months, we could review my new schedule and address any concerns before making it official.

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