A few people have asked for my advice on this topic so I thought I would share my recipe for a successful flexible work arrangement.
If you have a company policy to support flexible arrangements, I do find the more you own and the drive the process, the more successful it will be. If you do not have such a policy in place, these are some great guidelines for a process.
- First thing you should do is write up a proposal for your work arrangements
- Clearly state when (days and hours) and where you will work
- Set goals with timelines (I will complete this report by March, I will obtain 100% customer satisfaction by the end of the quarter, etc.)
- Set clear check in dates in advance and schedule them. Frequency should be higher at the beginning and phase out thru time (30 days, 60 days, 90, then decide the new reoccurring frequency)
- Decide on your output (email, monthly report, or a format that works for you and your manager that will summarize your activities during the arrangement)
- Sign off Meeting
- I suggest setting up a meeting to propose the arrangement
- Provide the document and be open to feedback
- Get something officially in writing (email is fine) that the arrangement is approved
- Check in Meetings
- During the meetings, you should show how you are progressing toward the goals
- Set new goals and metrics for the next meeting
- Ask open ended questions and close with pointed questions like, “Am I am meeting the needs of the role? Anything I can do to improve? Is there any time this arrangement has caused a problem for the business?”
- Get the feedback, adjust and move forward. It is important to be clear and concise and show a pattern that you can perform the same, if not better than when you were not in a flexible work arrangement.
A few other tips:
- Be consistent with your schedule. If you will work Monday thru Thursday. Don’t change the days
- Make sure your out of the office message on your email and phone clearly state as per my flexible work arrangement I am in the office on these days and will return your email or call at that time
- Work the hours you are paid to work. My biggest concern for women in these arrangements is that they really take on too much out of guilt and ended doing the work of 40 hours and may only get paid for 30. Be honest with your time for yourself and your manager. In the beginning, to ensure the success of your FWA, you may need to put in a little more time but keep a close eye on your time as you progress.
- Make the arrangement as little work as possible for your manager. The more you own and drive the process the better. It will get less onerous as time goes on but showing success is key.
- Be flexible for the business. If there is a required staff meeting, a customer event, simply state with your manager that you will be working those days and therefore modify your schedule accordingly. Always do it up front and before the required meetings. This is only for business reasons.
- Technology is your friend. Use the tools with video to make a more personal experience.
Need help talking to you company about flexible arrangements? Do your homework. Quote articles on the web and talk about your competitors who are offering such arrangements to their employees. Remember the most successful employees are those that can find a work/life balance and focus on work when at work and home when at home. If you have any best practices or something you would like to add, please do so in the comments. I would love to hear what works for you.
Buzz Worthy Lesson of the day: Everyone can have a flexible work arrangement but you need to be in the driver seat and push the gas pedal full steam ahead.