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Negotiating Your Schedule


Summer is often a time when the grass on the other side starts to look even greener than normal. Our friends seem to have unlimited amount of vacation time. If you’re a working mother, it seems like other parents are spending a lot of time pool-side while you feel stuck behind a computer monitor.

The chaos of summer, combined with vacation pictures from coworkers, can often leave you wondering just how flexible your 8:00 – 5:00 job is. We’ve compiled a few things you need to remember when these thoughts start to creep in:

Your Time is Negotiable

Just like your salary and benefits, your time is also a piece of your compensation package with which you can negotiate. When a pay increase isn’t in the cards for your company, maybe flexible time or vacation is a different way to negotiate. Before we go any further, keep in mind that each company, supervisor, and position is different. Tread lightly and knowledgeably if this is a bargaining chip you want to use.

Know What You Want and Need

Yes, we all want our vacation time doubled and to not work on Fridays, but that’s not we need. Figure out what is at the root of your desire to ask for a flexible schedule, decide what would fix that problem, and develop a reasonable plan from there. If you’re missing out on a family vacation each year because your company is stingy with vacation time, you need and want a few days added to your vacation time. If you’re spending an absurd amount on babysitters during the summer, maybe you want and need to ask to work from home one day a week during the summer.

Know Yourself and Your Job

Taking into account what you want to ask for, decide if you think it would be a fit at your company and yourself. Will what you’re about to ask for cause more issues for others at your workplace? For instance, if you’re going to ask to work from home on Fridays, and Friday is when most presentations with clients happen, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Take into consideration the ebb and flow and workload around the office and be honest with yourself about how you think your ask will be received.

Prepare Your Ask

Prepare yourself by looking into any existing HR policies already existing within your company. Do some less-official “research” (water cooler talk) and see if anyone else within the office has a flexible schedule or has made a similar ask. Once you have a base knowledge, anticipate any concerns or questions that may arise. You probably spend more time with your supervisor than you do some family members. You should have a good generalization of what bothers him or her and what does not. Is she a stickler for time management? Have you never seen him take a vacation? Take all of this into account when preparing to make your ask.

Make It About the Company

While it is ultimately about you, your job satisfaction, and work-life balance, you can’t say that. Tell them why it would be good for the company or how it would make you more productive and better equipped to do the job they pay you to do. Don’t get emotional or get too deep into personal matters. It’s not personal – it’s business.

It’s not an option for every person or every company, but asking for flexible time or additional vacation is another tool in your negotiation tool box. It’s always important we know our value and push for the compensation and benefits (including vacation) we deserve. For more tips on asking for a flexible schedule or more vacation, click here.