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I've been in recruitment for many years and often had to negotiate a job offer that included flexible working between the candidate and hiring manager. Flexible working is the holy grail of employment benefits available and asking for it can be a difficult task, if you know how to avoid three common mistakes. So many parents fall into these traps, so I want to make sure that you know what to say – and what not to say – when you have that all important meeting with your boss.
The first biggest mistake I’ve noticed is that a lot of parents are too scared to ask for flexible work in the first place. I know from experience that when you return to work, there’s that huge feeling that you must work your arse off to avoid the sack but underneath, you’re overworked and exhausted. Not putting your needs first not only affects your health but also your working performance. So, when you have a moment, take a step back and think ‘what are the top five things that I need to make my work/life balance more comfortable?” Is it, asking for shorter hours, working from home days, childcare vouchers etc. What are the things you need from your job that would make you happy? Once you’ve written out what you need, ask your manager for a meeting and discuss. Being assertive and confident with your boss about asking for flexible working but not failing to show you’re still keen to be working will pay dividends on your happiness. I know its easier said than done, but if you don’t act, you’ll never receive the balance you need.
The second mistake I’ve seen a lot of mums do is forgetting the business needs as well. You might be thinking, ‘but you’ve just talked getting my needs back.’ Yes, I did, but when asking for flexible working, you need to think about how you can work around your needs with that of the business’s as well so that both of you can come to an amicable agreement. Not thinking about how your flexible working needs will work with the business’s structure etc could lead to a clash with management so, try to see it from their side and work towards a way that your flexible working needs will work for them and for you.
This leads to the third mistake – being too inflexible! Sometimes, to achieve a balance in your life, you need to learn to negotiate. Being too rigid with your needs can lead to a clash which is something you want to avoid. So, don’t go into that meeting with your boss with a mindset that you’re going to war. Instead, be prepared to negotiate when asking for a flexible working pattern so you can achieve a comfortable work/life balance.
So here you have my three biggest mistakes when asking for a flexible working pattern. A healthy work/life balance is so achievable if you play your cards right. You’re amazing in every way so its important to put your needs first and negotiate a working pattern that would fit well with your life and that of the business so that YOU FEEL HAPPY! And that’s what’s important in life-your happiness!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to my course “Negotiating Flexible Job Offers” so that you can learn how to get the right work/life balance for YOU!
The biggest thing I’ve learnt from having a career and being a mum is the ability to be strong enough to say, “this is the life I want” and not feel guilty for saying it. I know, it’s easier said than done right? But, I’ve been able to do this by organising my career in a way that doesn’t inflict on family life.Discover more