Scripts

How to Ask for a Flexible Schedule

A script for convincing your manager to let you work from home or deviate from traditional work hours

Rebecca Fishbein
Forge
Published in
6 min readJul 16, 2019

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Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

IIt’s never been easier to get things done outside the confines of a 9-to-5 workday. Video conferencing, Slack, and a slew of productivity and project-management tools help blur the lines between time in the office and time outside of it.

This ability to work wherever, whenever, has obvious downsides, but it also comes in handy when life throws a wrench into a more traditional schedule. You might regularly have to pick up your kid from school at 3 p.m. You might have a chronic medical issue that requires regular appointments. You might need to care for an aging parent, or an ailing pet, or an apartment under bedbug attack, with exterminators set to spray every two weeks. Or you might need to move to a different location, and want to hold on to your job.

Life has a tendency to make demands that compete with work, says Jamie Klein, president and founder of the consulting firm Inspire Human Resources. “Anyone who’s human and an adult has responsibility in addition to work,” she says. “Period.” And then there’s the reality that some people work better outside of a traditional office environment. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to ask your boss for some flexibility. And while some managers are fine with employees mixing it up, others will need a little convincing. Here’s how to make your case.

Gather data

Before you ask your boss for a schedule change — which, ideally, you should do in a private face-to-face meeting, and not over Slack or email, or on a video call — you want to make sure you’re armed with some cold, hard facts to support your case.

To start, Klein suggests researching whether other employees at your company have been able to take advantage of more creative work hours or remote work. “It’s always hard to be that first person,” she says. “If there is precedent [for someone] senior or junior to your level, that helps. If it’s a peer, it really helps.” Talk to these people about how they made it work, and point to their success in your own conversation, tailoring the salient points to your own situation. (Of…

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Rebecca Fishbein
Forge
Writer for

Rebecca Fishbein is a writer in Brooklyn & the author of GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE YOU HATE, out 10/15. Find her on Twitter at @bfishbfish.