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Flexible Working, Work advice

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How To Ask Your Boss For Flexible Hours…

A few weeks ago, one of our members asked for some advice on how to ask her boss for flexible hours.  As a full-time worker, she felt like she was missing out on her children growing up, especially when it came to attending special events at their school. 

Sadly, there is no one size fits all answer, but we opened the question out to the LinkedIn community and got some great responses.  We’ve rounded up the advice to give you some helpful tips:


Angela Holland, Senior HR Lead at Pitney Bowes said, “As an employer, for me, any concerns or objections raised come from a place of wanting you to succeed in your role,”

So, Angela recommends the following approach

1/ Focus on outputs – show your employer that you can still achieve the same results

2/ See it through your employers’ eyes – spend time identifying the challenges they might find and have a solution ready in your application

3/ Show examples of success from changed working patterns

4/ Be open and honest – be willing to chat about options and be prepared to be flexible; the solution needs to be mutually beneficial to both parties to enable it to work.


Joanne Fourtanier, an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Specialist recommended using the 4 steps of Non Violent Communication as a way to organise thoughts around how to express the request.  The approach helps separate the emotional from the factual, helping you to make a clear request.

So, why not give this approach a go:

1/ State the truth about what’s happened or happening, without any feelings or emotion – just the facts.

2/ State how it makes you feel.  How does it affect your emotions?

3/ State what the need or value is that you personally have – what impact does it have on your well-being, performance and outputs

4/ Offer a solution/request that could help address this situation in the future


HR Professional, Holly Grattan, MBA, AMAC pointed out that if you have been with your employer for more than 26 weeks, you’re legally entitled to apply for flexible working (section 47 of the Employment Act:

“This must be done in writing and set out

1) Date of application

2) Change to the work conditions applied for

3) Date you want change to come into effect

4) Set out the effect this may have on the employer according to the employee and how they think this can be mitigated.

5) State the request is a statutory request. Provide details of previous applications (if any).

The law requires the consideration process to take place within 3 months including any appeal. The employer is under no obligation to grant the request but can agree or negotiate a compromise. There are specific grounds they have to state as to why any application is turned down.

Employees can complain to the employment tribunal if this process is not followed or if it is based on incorrect facts (under sec 80G) Compensation May be awarded.” (Source: CIPD Employment Law 14th Edition 2017)

Need some hints to the benefits of flexible working for employers then read our blog on "Flexibility is not just a job benefit - it gets better business outcomes".

It will also interest you to know, that employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting an application.  So be brave, do your homework and make the application!

Huge thanks to everyone that commented on our post. To see the full thread, click here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6437333770852016128/