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How To Make a Flexible Work Request

Before we get into what you should include in your flexible work request, you need to work out what kind of flexibility will work best for you.

In this article I’ll cover the 8 different forms that the government recognises and are therefore more likely to be included in your company’s flexible working policy, or considered in your request.

1. Job sharing - two people do one job and split the hours.

2. Remote - usually working from home, but some companies will allow you to work from anywhere. We occasionally find some of our clients working from a cottage in France or on the beach!

inflatable flamingo on water

3. Part-time - self explanatory. We find it more useful to call this reduced hours, and to negotiate in hours rather than days.

4. Compressed hours - working a full-time role but over fewer hours. Has the advantage that you get paid 100% of a salary. Compared to a 4-day week where you still end up putting the hours in but only get 80% of a salary.

5. Flexi-time - you choose when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but work certain ‘core hours’, for example, from 10am to 4pm. Different companies have different interpretations, so check before including it in your plan.

6. Annualised hours - work an agreed number of hours over the course of the year depending on the peaks and troughs of the work-load. For example, a Tribe graduate works almost full-time hours in April and May, but 5-10hrs per week during the summer and in December.

7. Staggered hours - you work different hours to your colleagues. E.g. instead of 9-5 everyday, you work 10-6 so you can do the school drop-off, or 7-3 so you miss the rush-hour traffic and reduce your commute time.

8. Phased retirement - slowly reduce your hours until you retire completely.

Whether you are Returning to Work, or submitting a flexible work request to your current company, you should approach asking for flexibility in the same way.

Make sure you take the time to work out a Plan A, a way of working that is going to work well for you, and then think about what you are willing to negotiate on. You also need to be clear on what you don’t want so that you don’t get pushed into accepting something that you later realise won’t work for you.

In terms of what to include in the letter to your employer, you can find more information here, and a template here.

Toddler 'working' on laptop

But whether a flexible working request succeeds or fails largely depends on how much time and thought you have put into how you working flexibly is going to affect the team, and how you think it will benefit the organisation.

To really achieve this, imagine if one of your colleagues started working flexibly, and think about how it would affect you, the team, your manager and the wider organisation.

Your goal is to think of any issues before your manager (and HR), and present the solution(s) before these issues harden into blocks.


  • how much additional workload would you have to manage?

  • how much more pressure and therefore stress would it put on you, the team and your manager?

  • would your manager need to hire someone to share their job?

  • how would it affect your clients?

  • any data security issues created by working remotely?

Now you’ve thought about this, do you have a solution(s) that you can put forward?

Next, have a think about the advantages to the company of you working flexibly.

Do some research on the type of flexibility you would like and the advantages it has. Make sure you use studies and statistics rather than anecdotal stories from friends.

You are looking to sell the company the dream and make sure that they see your flexible working request as an opportunity rather than an obstruction.

Be positive and focus on what’s in it for them, not you.

If you need help, you can, as always, drop us an email or contact us through the Live Chat. We are here to help.

Take your time, think it through carefully, and Good Luck!

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