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Making the Proposal
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Making the Flexible Work Arrangement Proposal

How to Propose a Flexible Work Arrangement:

Some of the best flexible work opportunities are where you currently work – you are a proven performer and the company has already made an investment in you. Before you decide to look for a flexible work arrangement at another company, we strongly recommend that you start right where you are to discuss options such as project work, telecommuting, a job share, or a part-time job.

Below is a step-by-step guide to preparing a thoughtful,
well-written proposal.


Do your homework

Identify the different types of flexible work arrangements – project work, telecommuting, a job share, or part-time job – and consider which one(s) make the most sense in your position.

Contact your Human Resources representative and find out what types of flexible work arrangements your employer may be open to and what guidelines, if any, are in place.

If there's a written policy, review it and learn how benefits, compensation, and career track are affected by flexibility.


Write a formal proposal

It should include the following:

  • Your accomplishments, prior accolades, special/unique skills, and/or client relationships
  • Answers to the following questions:
    • What is your current role in the organization?
    • Who are your customers and what are your deliverables?
    • How will you tailor your job responsibilities to fit your schedule?
    • What will your schedule be? Be very specific (eg, days, hours, seasonal changes, or crunch period changes). How will you meet your performance goals on this schedule? Will they require revision?
    • How will you communicate on your off-days (eg, voice mail, e-mail, home office phone)?
    • How will daily issues be resolved?
    • How, if at all, will the rest of the department be affected by your new schedule? Will some responsibilities be reassigned?
  • Your ability to be flexible – Address how your schedule could be modified to meet changing business needs, such as staff meetings, training sessions, or seasonal ebbs and flows. Have a well-thought-out contingency plan for the occasional emergency.
  • Pre-established boundaries – Set guidelines so that your off-time is not constantly intruded upon. What is acceptable notice for a staff meeting that falls on your day off? What is an acceptable window for returning calls on your days off? What constitutes an emergency that requires your involvement on an off-day?
  • Necessary technology – Will you need any office equipment (eg, laptop, Blackberry or PDA, fax, phone line, video chat, phone conferencing)? If so, who will pay for it?
  • A suggestion for more frequent review periods – This is especially important during the first year to ensure that all expectations are being met.
  • Compensation guidelines – Suggest that your new pay be a percent of your current compensation. If you'll be working three days per week, you will be accountable for 60 percent of deliverables (eg, sales, billable hours, customers serviced, etc.) and therefore paid at 60 percent of salary. If ineligible for benefits as a flex-timer, increase your total salary accordingly.

         It’s important to prepare a convincing proposal, but it’s just as
         important to present it well. If you are a salesperson, this may
         come naturally. For most of us, however, it will take some practice.



Follow these guidelines:

  • Consider the timing – The proposal should be presented in person when you have your manager's time and attention. Don’t procrastinate. Present your proposal with ample time for review.
  • Think like your boss – Anticipate objections. The last thing he/she wants is more work. Make sure your proposal is complete and convincing.  In other words, an easy "yes." Be sure to role play ahead of time so you feel comfortable with what you are going to say.
  • Be flexible, but know your limits – Listen to counter proposals and be prepared to make concessions. At the same time, know your bottom line and stick with it.
  • Stick with the business case; avoid the tendency to justify – Flexible work arrangements are a smart business decision. Whether you are proposing an arrangement based on child care issues or for recreational pursuits, your reasons for wanting a flexible position have no place in your discussion.
 If you've made valuable, consistent contributions to your company's business, it will cost them far less to grant your flexible work needs than to replace you.