Employee's Guide for Requesting Flexible Work

What to Consider Before Asking for a Flexible Work Schedule

  • If you are interested in requesting a change to your current work schedule, think about how flexible work would affect you personally, how it would affect your ability to do your job, and the impact it would have on your work group.
  • Regarding your personal needs, consider how flexible work might relieve stress caused by other time restrictions (such as child care or elder care demands, your commute to work, class schedule, doctor appointments, etc.)
  • Determine if your personal productivity would improve if you could alter your current work schedule or if your new schedule creates additional challenges.
  • If you decide to pursue this possibility, it’s important to write a thoughtful, concise proposal or business case for flexible work.
  • Check with your Human Resource (HR) department to see what the policy is in your unit or school regarding flexible scheduling and flexible workplace. See if what you are considering is an exception to a current policy, is aligned with current policy, or is something new for your unit. U-M as a whole does not have a flexible work policy, only guidelines for how to implement it in your unit. Keep your HR representative in the loop as you develop your request.
  • Put yourself in your manager’s shoes, and think through the business reasons and ramifications of changing your schedule. Talk to your co-workers to determine if they support your proposal. If they have concerns, identify how you can address them.
  • Include suggestions about how you might be flexible to cover peak-time coverage, meeting times, special events, communication with clients, co-workers, your supervisor, etc.
  • Identify if there are any additional changes that need to take place in order for you to meet your job-specific performance goals and objectives.
  • Offer to make your proposed work arrangement a "pilot” of 3-6 months, with scheduled meetings during the first few months to assess how things are going and make adjustments as needed.
  • See the list of frequently asked questions about flexible work, and consider how you might address questions or concerns that your manager and co-workers may have.
  • Aim to be flexible and have a backup plan in case you need to alter your goal. Managers' ability to offer flexible work options varies by department and employee job role, and limitations may be needed to meet your department's business needs.

Additional Questions to Ask Yourself as you Plan a Proposal

  • What type of flexibility would I like?
  • What type of flexibility would work in my position?
  • How will this change affect my pay and benefits?
  • How will my flexible work option affect my customers?
  • How will my flexible work option affect my co-workers?
  • How will my flexible work option affect my manager?
  • How will others have to change to accommodate my schedule?
  • How can I make this easy for them?
  • How will this affect my family?
    • Additional or fewer child care hours needed?
    • Does this change who does child care drop off and pick up?

For Remote or Flexible Workplace

  • Do I have an appropriate space to work at home?
  • Will I miss the camaraderie of the office?
  • Do I want to do this all the time or some of the time?
  • Will I be able to devote my full attention to work when physically at home?

For Compressed Workweek

  • Will my energy be sapped by long days?
  • Do I have enough workflow to fill ten-hour days?
  • How do I handle weeks with a holiday falling on my off day?

For Starting the Conversation

This sample (UHR) flexible work proposal form can be used to start the discussion of requesting a flexible work arrangement. 

If you come to an agreement on a flexible arrangement, you must complete the appropriate Remote or Flexible Work Agreement forms.