This advice applies to Northern Ireland. Change country
Flexible working - your employer agrees to your request
If your employer agrees to your request, this will mean a change to your contract of employment. If you made a statutory request, it will mean a permanent change. If you made a non-statutory request, you may have been able to negotiate a temporary change for a fixed period.
Either way, you now need to make the new arrangement work for you and your employer.
This page tells you what should happen next and gives you some tips on how to make flexible working work for you, your employer and your colleagues.
Your employer has agreed to your non-statutory request
If your employer has agreed to your non-statutory request, this means the terms and conditions of your contract of employment have changed. This is the case even though your request may have not have been made under the law on flexible working.
This change will be permanent unless you have agreed otherwise with your employer, for example, if it is for a trial period only.
It's best to ask for any change to be recorded in writing in a letter or by making a change to your written contract of employment. This will prevent problems in the future if, for example, the manager who agreed to your request leaves or changes their mind.
Your employer has agreed to your statutory request
If your employer has agreed to your statutory request, this means the terms and conditions of your contract of employment have changed.
The change will be permanent. You and your employer should consider what arrangements need to be made to make your plan work.
You should also agree any process for reviewing how your new working pattern is going and possibly set a date when it will be reviewed.
Top ten tips for making your new arrangement work
Here are a few suggestions to ensure that your new working pattern works for everyone.
- Set out a clear communication plan for when and how people can keep in touch if you’re working off site. Be consistent in sticking to this so that people can’t say they never know where you are or when you’re going to be in next.
- Agree clear work targets which can be easily measured so that you know when you have achieved your goals and don't fall into the part-time trap of feeling you are never doing enough.
- Blow your own trumpet. Make sure you get fair recognition and that other colleagues know you are achieving your goals, even if you are not in the workplace so often.
- Plan ahead so people know what is coming up for you but also be prepared to be a bit flexible about your arrangement. Within reason, show that you’re willing to be flexible with your days occasionally if there are good reasons for doing so. On the other hand, be firm about not being taken advantage of too often. Others need to plan ahead too for this to work well.
- Make sure you have a good back-up plan in case of emergencies. At work, agree a buddy scheme in advance with a colleague so that you cover for each other and keep up to date with important developments when you aren’t at work. On the home front, develop a small network of support that you can call on if you have to go into work for an emergency. If you have a partner, talk to them in advance about how they might share some responsibilities if an emergency arises.
- Have strategies for making sure that you’re not forgotten when it comes to promotion. Make it clear if you’re still interested in going for promotion – it’s easier to get overlooked if not around so often. People may assume that you’re not interested in taking on greater responsibilities.
- Make it a team effort - the most successful flexible working is when it’s done as a team. So everyone gets some work-life balance and you all take responsibility for making it work for one another as well as for the business.
- Make it easy for others to check your availability for meeting planning and discussions when you’re not working. Keep your calendar updated, whether it’s online or a paper diary. Consider having a white board in your workplace, making it easy to see at a glance where everyone in the team is at any given time.
- Step back regularly to review how it’s all going for you and your colleagues. They’ll appreciate you thinking about them and you may find the feedback valuable.
- Don't expect anything to be cast in stone. Be prepared to review your arrangements from time to time to try to accommodate others' needs too. When the benefits of flexible working are shared fairly, it makes for good teamwork and more rewarding results all round.