Yes that may appear obvious but no employer, no matter how good is going to telepathically know that you want more flexible hours. You need to open up the conversation and get a feel for how it is going to be received. Remember, you don’t always know what is going on behind the scenes. There could be cost cutting measures which mean they would be only too delighted to grant you a four day week or five half days.

What’s in it for them?

People often get caught up in why flexible working would work for them. Childcare, a partner’s shift work, long commutes whatever… Most employers don’t really want to know the minutiae of your daily domestic routine. What they do need to know however is how is this going to benefit them. Or at the very least not disrupt their lives in anyway. Remember, most bosses have busy lives too and the last thing they want is more hassle. So think about why this will for the company, not why it will work for you.

Be prepared.

Think long and hard about why this won’t work and what the obstacles are. Then have a solution prepared for every one of those problems. Really try and have it thought through, not just from your perspective but also from your work colleagues, your clients, your boss, their boss, everyone. The only way flexible working really works is that if it is seamless and hassle free for everyone involved.

Do it on a trial basis.

Most companies will shy away from committing to something long term. Especially it is untried. Offer to work flexibly for a short period of time only. Perhaps over the summer months or for one quarter. Set up an appointment to review it with your boss and see how it is working for everyone, not just you (remember point 2!). Also be prepared that it may not just work for your job or situation and be gracious if it does not. If the trial period was a mess of missed appointment and stressful phone calls then just own up to it and agree that it is not working. Then really ask yourself which is more important the job or the flexibility. It may be that you are happy to stay and having tried working flexibly decided it isn’t for you. Or it may be that you need more flexibility, in which case come back to us here at and see if we can help you.

Don’t get emotional

No meeting ever ends well if one of you is in tears after it. Take deep breaths and be prepared for all outcomes. Remember this may just be an opening salvo or it may be the start of realising that you are the company you work for are incompatible in terms of your values. Either way you will learn more by having the conversation then sitting at your desk wondering if this was ever going to be a possibility.