Flexible Hours - Best Way to Ask

Updated on February 03, 2012
C.S. asks from Burbank, CA
11 answers

When I return from maternity leave, I want to ask my boss to change my hours from 9:20a-6:30p+ to 8a-5p+finish stuff at home. Someone else in the company already does this. Is it better to bring up prior to me starting my leave in a few weeks, or should I wait until closer to my return?

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answers from Kansas City on

I would wait until my husband got a job. Don't put the cart in front of the horse.

You will definitely want to frame it in the ways that it will most benefit the company. I agree with Adansmama, their first priority is making sure that all of the work is done in a timely, professional manner, not how your family is impacted. And don't wait until you're on maternity leave already, unless your husband has not yet found a job. That doesn't seem very professional.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

since your relationship with your boss is not optimal, I would wait until this is a need - not a desire on your part.

Your plans sound great. But since you've already lost part of your work to a temp, that's not a good sign. The fact that you had to have repeated discussions with him, with him inviting HR into the mix...is truly a concern. He is already questioning your abilities & asked for help in dealing with you.

For these reasons, please wait to rock the boat. Wishing you a safe & speedy delivery....& a promising career!

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answers from Kansas City on

first off i am on your boss' side of this, viewpoint-wise. and we recently had a girl (with completely twisted priorities, imo) who had already worked with us once, then quit to be a sahm when she got pregnant. well she came back and has done it to us again. first she asked for six MONTHS maternity leave (ok in a perfect world that would be great for all moms but come on, be realistic!) then she gave her notice. (technically it was because her husband got this job that supposedly pays $100,000 a month, but since he doesn't even start for another two weeks and she already gave her notice i think she's an idiot, but that's my issue. that's not looking out for your family, that's being irresponsible and leaving your employer in a lurch for no reason. what if the job doesn't work out? what if something happens?? anyway...)

we ALSO just had to get everyone on a new schedule, and people are TICKED. but the thing is, you schedule your life around your job, not schedule your job around your life. that is key #1. IF you can honestly say that this is good for business or won't affect business, then i would go that angle. it sounds like it is a good business decision to come in earlier. but you will have to be sure of that. just keep in mind, to the company, business comes first, not your family. to them i mean. i am a mom first too, but if my job was not compatible with my family life, it would have to go. but to me making it work with my job IS taking care of my family. that job provides for my family so i will do everything earthly possible to succeed at that job.

anyway, i know i am rambling so i will stop with apologies. if you can sell this as a business decision (and it sounds like you can, between the other girl working that shift, and east coast business, etc) then approach your boss professionally. maybe even leave your family reasons out of it if you CAN, or save them for one of your last reasons for switching. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

I would write up a proposal about the change and what it would/could do for the company. Mention that you would work from home to complete any unfinished word. Do this before you leave for maternity leave. Remember the last time they brought someone in to do your work while you were out. Be a few steps ahead and have good answers to their questions.

As another poster put it, working for a company is all about what the company needs to succeed in business. You work your needs around what they want -- they don't care that the babysitter didn't show up -- you need to be there from a to c to collect check.

Don't count on hubby and his job. Work with what you have and go from there. You can't count on what you don't have.

Good luck with changing your times. Make yourself valuable to the company. There are many people jumping and biting for the chance to fill your shoes. Think wisely.

The other S.

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answers from Detroit on

I think you are well within your rights to ask, esp. if there are others in the office who work alternate hours. As long as you offer to finish up at home if needed, or check your email, voicemail, etc. between 5 and 6, I think it would be fine. I would bring it up now -- say you are just exploring options as you are figuring out daycare for the baby. If you get a resounding "no," you'll have more time to plan. If you get a "yes," you can relax stop thinking about it for the next several months! I would offer it as a "trial" idea -- let your boss know that if it doesn't work out, you'll work out other arrangements to be there at the scheduled time. If your boss agrees to it, remember to check in when you are a few weeks away from returning to work -- when you let them know your date to return from maternity leave, just say something like, "I'll be returning May X, working 8-5, and checking email after hours." Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

Since many of my friends husbands are out of work and have been for around the 2 year mark I suggest not making a ripple in a schedule and making sure you are the indisposable one since you are the breadwinner. Unless you can present it without having anything at all to do with you and can have amazing benefits for the boss and company that are tangible you as all of us women are perceived as "whiners" and when we are accomplishing that one we are witchy over achievers...never win. So put together a proposal so that when the need arises to change, it will be a slam dunk...no questions that you have the best idea since sliced bread. Make sure you give it your al daily until then...not late, always progressive, proactive thinking...yes suck up. Make it about them and not you it is a rule of customer service, a rule of salesmanship and should be a rule followed in marriage and kids and all things in life could go smoother...the benefits come full circle back to being about you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Well, I think you have some red flags. If the work hours are 9-6 you state that you start about 9:20. That's late.

I understand your attempt to justify this change but in all honesty I would wait until your husband got the job before I asked. Your boss appears to have concerns about your work in that he gave a portion of the load to a temp.

What if he says no? Will you quit? Since you are the only one working in your family right now, I would not rock the boat until my husband had another job. Work supports the family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

First things first, know exactly what you're asking for. It doesn't sound like you're asking for flexible hours. That would be where you agree to work 9 hours a day, but they can be any hours, or can vary Monday versus Tuesday. What you're asking is to change the hours you work from 9-6 to 8-5. If there is already someone doing that, then you're probably fine.

When you talk to your boss, frame it in terms of how it will help the company, not how it will help you. Show examples of how it will improve your productivity with East coast clients. And offer to be available after 5 if it is needed (if you can). I don't think it matters when you ask, but if you think your boss will have a problem with it, I guess delay the discussion as long as you can.



answers from New York on

I work flexible ho urs and have done so since my second child was born 12 years ago. The very best argument you can make for a flexible schedule is to do your job really well and keep your clients happy. The next best argument is to not be one of the higher paid people - cuz then they'll look for a reason to get rid of you.
It's all about showing your boss "what's in it for him". While a smart manager will want his employees to be happy and productive, his goal, as manager, is to get the best results out of you. SO make a list of how it's going to be good for his goals - and don't even mention the benefits for you. He knows it's in your best interest - or you wouldn't be requesting it. And whatever you do - don't even bring up other people by name. This is not about the other employees - this is about you wanting something from him, showing him how it won't be a bad thing but will be a good thing and help him achieve his goals at not extra cost.

Good luck mama! My kids are now 12 & 15 and I will never go back to full time - even when they're in college. Between home and work it's more than full time.



answers from Pittsburgh on

The company has already set a precedent by allowing the woman in your next dept. to work 8-5. That's huge.
In all reality, they would probably rather keep you (modified schedule) than lose you completely.
You're not really talking about "flex time" here--that can be different schedule every day)a modified, set schedule.
I agree that I wold wait to discuss until your husband is in a job.



answers from San Francisco on

I would wait until your hubby has a job to ask.

BUT if I were your supervisor, my first thought would be 'if she can't get here by 9:00 how is she going to get her by 8:00?' To me, that sounds like the biggest obstacle.

And I would watch out for that temp. That person is a temp because they can't find full-time, continuous employment. Your employers may very well be planning to replace you with the temp when you got out on maternity leave thinking that if you can't get to work on time having two kids, how are you going to get to work on time when you add a newborn in the mix.

So, between now and the time you go out, I would make more of an effort to get to work at 9:00. I truly believe you're being 20 minutes tardy every day is more of an issue than you think.

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