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How can I ask my boss to allow me to work on Flex schedule?

Friday November 29 2019

A modern open office plan in this picture taken on June 13, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

A modern open office plan in this picture taken on June 13, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU 

Q: I have tried requesting my boss to allow me to work on flexi time, but he keeps saying that I need to work regular hours. Our organisation is global and our managers in Europe allow employees there to work on flexi time. In fact, one can work three days a week and still be an employee in some countries. Is this possible in Kenya? How should I approach my boss with this issue?

Flexi time could mean different things to different organisations. Regardless of differences in its definition, various organisations have cited benefits associated with adopting flexi time. Besides allowing greater integration between the professional and personal dimensions of an employee’s life, some studies have shown that allowing employees the latitude to choose their preferred working patterns enhances engagement, which is a key driver of organisational productivity. Flexi time has also been used to enable companies extend service hours in response to customer needs, as well as to retain hard-to-keep talent.

As technology alters daily workplace operations and the weight of employee’s voices grows, organisational resistance to the concept of flexi time working is likely to wane. And while not all jobs can be subject to this idea, organisations could find ways of redesigning certain roles with the aim of creating opportunities for more flexibility. More freedom will no doubt feature prominently at the future workplace, and flexi time is bound to become more of a need than a mere treat. The eight-to-five job schedule will one day become irrelevant.

Factors that a company might consider when determining whether flexi time is suitable for their employees might include the nature of its operations, and the organisation’s culture.

Have you had a conversation with your supervisor to understand his qualms with flexi time? Is it that the nature of your job cannot accommodate flexi time? Is he concerned about your character? Does he worry that you might take undue advantage of flexi time to nurse indolence?

Would you like to work from home? Would you like to report to work early and leave early or vice versa? What gratifications do you hope to draw from the opportunity to work flexibly? Your supervisor might grant your request based on how compelling your reasons are. Suggest a test period during which your boss could assess the merits of his concerns.

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