According to an article about Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) published on The Edge Malaysia, Agilent Technologies claimed that the flexible work option evolved from a combination of the company’s trust and respect for their employees, and the need to retain talented employees.
Having a flexible working arrangement may seem appealing. However, before proposing this work option to your employers, it is important for us to factor in certain things as well such as, time management, responsibilities or work schedule. These are the things that we tend to overlook maybe because at that moment, it hasn’t occur yet. It is also natural for employers to want to know how will you be managing your job flow remotely, especially if you are working from home. Both employers and employees are required to look at this from a big picture before implementing a flexible work plan.
Most employees communicate with their bosses because it is a must, but if we understand the importance of communication, we will be able to establish a stronger trust and understanding between our bosses and ourselves. Like most people, employers appreciate that their employees keep them in their loop on job statuses at all times. When it comes to flexible working arrangement, a rule of thumb would be ensuring your boss or senior on how often will you be reporting in. It doesn’t matter how you report in, as long as you understand that you are doing it to maintain a good flow of trust and communication.
2. Understanding Your Job Description
Not all jobs are FWA material. Unfortunately, some job positions have responsibilities that requires you to be on site at all times or to report for duty everyday. You might want to discuss with your employers if you feel you a strong reason that you are FWA material. Perhaps you can make a list out of it so that your boss will be able to visualize your vision. Who knows, the open discussion between you and your boss may lead to a win win option.
3. Include a Work Schedule in Your Proposal
To convince your employers to embrace a flexible working arrangement, work out a schedule with timelines or deadlines to show your boss when you will be able to deliver your tasks. While working on a schedule, you need to keep in mind that it is important to work with your boss or senior closely. For instance, task reviewing can be twice or three times a week, followed progress and deadline.
4. Making Use of Technology
Compared to 20 years ago, technology these days have made employment and work so much more convenient. Online messaging tools such as WhatsApp, Skype and Google Hangouts for communication, or Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing. Include this in your proposal too under communication methods or inform your bosses that you will be using these tools to communicate with them as often as possible.
5. Implement a Trial for Starters
A flexible work arrangement will have its hiccups along the way. Both parties will need some time to get used to this new, unconventional arrangement. Suggest to your boss that you would like a trial run for at least 3 months or 6 months, which is somewhat similar like standard employee probation period for some companies. You can also include in a review date once or twice a month to check in with your boss to see how you can improve this arrangement. You might want to consider checking in by visiting your boss and colleagues in person every once in a while, and not just limit yourself to virtual communication.
6. Working with Colleagues
If your job requires you to spearhead a team or team up with colleagues, make sure you include them in your work plan. Remember, you will not be around all the time to see them, therefore, it is just as equally important to maintain regular communication with them, or set a time each day to touch base on job tasks. You also need to update yourself with office news or latest updates, so it is best if you try and check in as often as you can.
By doing this, not only will you be able to lead a successful flexible work arrangement programme, but also be able to show your employers that you are an independent employee with integrity and efficiency.