How to negotiate flexible work hours when starting your freelance career

Finding the time to go freelance should be the last of your worries with these tips to negotiate flexible hours and free up your valuable time.

The decision to go freelance often involves weighing up the security of a regular job versus the freedom of working flexible hours. Switching from a steady 9-5 to being a full-time digital nomad can seem too big a leap. But, by negotiating more flexibility in your regular job and freelancing on the side, you can make your transition into freelancing more financially stable, and less of a sudden switch from employee to digital nomad. Try the following tips to give yourself the breathing room to kickstart your freelance career…

Do your research
Take a look at your employee handbook and familiarise yourself with your company’s flexible working policy, if there is one. It’s worth looking over your contract too. Does it place any restrictions on freelance work? Staying informed will put you in a good position to plan, and indicates to your manager how serious you are about changing your work arrangements. Seek out any colleagues who have negotiated their own hours and ask them for any tips they may have on requesting flexible working.

Plan ahead
Perhaps your company doesn’t have a flexible working policy as yet – what do you do now? Don’t panic. All employees have the right to make a flexible working request if they have at least 26 weeks service. Identify the times when you’re most needed in the office and work around those. Break your tasks down and explain how you plan to tackle each one remotely. This will help your manager visualise how things could work in the future.

Explain the benefits for everybody
Make your case for flexible working even stronger by preparing a list of benefits for the business. With reduced commuting time and the availability to make personal appointments, you’re likely to be less stressed and be a better performing employee.

Suggest a trial
If your manager needs further convincing, a trial period could make all the difference. Agree on a timeframe and schedule a review session. This will reassure your boss that you have the business’ interests in mind. Maintain your work ethic and keep an open mind about the possible criticisms from your manager’s perspective. Gathering results during your trial period will allow you to attribute productivity to flexibility.

The art of asking
Run your plan by a colleague who knows your company and manager well – have you overlooked anything that they can help you prepare for? You should also consider the timeliness of your conversation. Find a quiet time of the day away from a large project or looming deadline. Most importantly, you should prepare to be flexible yourself. Could you change the days that you work alternative hours? Show you’re willing to be flexible and your boss will be far more likely to do the same.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Images courtesy of Press Association