In June this year, the government rolled out the right to request flexible working to everyone – whether a parent or not. While there are those are all for this, many parents feel slighted.

If you’re a working parent, there may be more ‘competition’ in the flexible working stakes, so you need to make sure that you make your application as watertight as possible. Here are some tips:

1. Put it in writing
Having a passing conversation with your line manager about changing the way you work just won’t cut it.

You need to spend some time thinking about all the possible reasons that he or she can use to decline your request. Look for ways to counter that, so that they can’t say no.

Research by YouGov on behalf of Citrix GoToMeeting found that bosses in small to medium-sized businesses have no idea about this recent change in legislation, so don’t be surprised if your request is met with some shock. But don’t let this put you off. If 4.3 million people (that’s 13.9% of the UK’s workforce) can do it, then you stand a chance.

2. Speak to colleagues who work flexibly
Without telling the whole workforce that you want to make a request to work flexibly, try to find out what colleagues in the same or similar roles make working flexibly work. Do they have any connection issues that cause inherent problems on a regular basis? Do they have a change in their contract?

These are just a small handful of questions your could ask, but you’ll know more about your work and the company you work for, so have a good think.

3. ‘Sell’ the idea
Show your line manager/organisation that your working from home won’t have a detrimental effect on the business. Give as many positives of you working from home – more work time because the commute to work has been taken away. If you work with an international office, your working from home could be a positive – you can start working earlier r later, for example to cover any meetings or workflow requirements with that office.

According to research, if your line manager is aged between 25 and 34 (which is quite unlikely), they are twice as likely to to support your request, but if your boss is aged 35-plus, you’ll have quite the task ahead of you, so think and plan your application carefully.

4. Think technology
Think about how you can make working from home as simple as possible, and cost efficient for the company. Is the right infrastructure already in place? How will you connect to the company’s server? How will you attend meetings?

Technology has moved on so much these days that there really is something out there for just about every type of worker:

  • Forever in a meeting – not being physically in the same room as your colleagues doesn’t mean you can’t e involved. Web conferencing software, video conferencing software and mobile technology make it possible. One of our favourites is GoToMeeting.
  • Email envy – if you live and breathe emails all day, you can ask your IT department to set you up on your mobile phone. If you’re not using a smartphone (really?), you’ll need one – it will make you see working life through a different set of eyes.
  • Security – whether it’s VPS or some other secure connection, technology has moved on, so there’s bound to be a solution. Speak to the company’s IT guru – there’s bound to be a cloud-based connected you could use.

5. Know the process
Your employer has a legal duty to seriously consider your request once you put it into writing. They need to respond to your request within 28 days, and if they reject it, they need to show a business case for doing so. Make sure you know about the entire process before you start so you are fully prepared for all eventualities.

Take a look at the infograph below to get an idea of your writes, and for some interesting facts and tops on flexible working:

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