Welcome to Day 5 of 30 Days of Q&A.

Today I am going to be talking about how you can negotiate flexibility.

For those that don’t know, I am doing a 30-day series. Throughout this month of June, every day I am answering a career-related question: returning to work, job searching, job transitions, starting a business. All of those questions that are coming frequently from clients that I work with, people that I speak to and see often. Tackling those over the next few days and I have already tackled some. So, if you haven’t seen the first few videos, I would go and check those out.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Janine Esbrand and I am the founder of LightBOX Coaching where I help women to return to work confident and build careers that they love whilst raising a family.

So today we are diving into flexibility. All you want to know about how to negotiate flexibility especially if you are a working mum, the likelihood is you are going to want to figure out a way to work and also accommodate your childcare commitment. Flexibility is the key. But often people query how do I get that flexibility? I am going to walk you through the three things you want to do to achieve and negotiate flexibility in your role whether that is you are going back to your previous role or looking for a new position and speaking to your prospective employer about flexibility.

Prepare and spend some time thinking about what your skills are, experience, results you have achieved in the past and ultimately the value that you can add to an organisation

You want to be able to say that I’ve done this, I’ve done that. That is why I will be a good candidate to consider for flexible working because I am somebody who you want to have on your team and somebody who is going to be able to add value.  In order for you to sell that and put that forward as a proposition to your employer you need to do some thinking around that. You need to really take some time to list out some of the things you have achieved in the past. Think about your previous experiences. Often women are not that great in singing their own praises. It is much easier for men and more naturally to them to shout about what they are good at doing. But it is good for us to get into the habit of taking the time to say, “Actually, yes, I have been really good about what I have achieved a lot in this area.

I want to urge you to take some time to do that thinking so then you will be able to communicate it more effectively and confidently when you are speaking to your prospective employer. 

Think about what you are looking for in terms of flexibility

You can say ‘I want a good work-life balance’ or ‘I want flexibility‘. But that can come in most of different forms. For some people that might mean going in the office early and finishing early. But to others it might mean being able to work in normal office hours and then logging back on later on. For others, it means only working during term times. For others, it means doing job share. So, there is a lot of ways that you can work flexible. Think about what your ideal will be and then look around and speak to some people that are working flexible. Ask them how it works for them, the logistics, how their employer has found it. Because then you are going to be able to go into your negotiations and take some examples of how you can take the work and then you are also knowing what your ideal scenario is going to be. 

I will also suggest that you come check out my podcast. Because in my podcast, I interview a range of different women about their careers beyond motherhood and how they made it work. So, you might find some great inspiration by listening to them.

Think about your negotiations

When you go into it, you do want to think about what you want but you also want to think about the employer, the business case, how your proposal is going to work in practice and how that might affect the business and how it runs so that you are able to put forward your thoughts because that is what they are going to be thinking. They are going to be thinking this is going to work for us.

Do the thinking ahead of time. So, you can demonstrate to them well that this I what I want to do, and this is how I propose it working and how it is going to impact the clients, team around me so other people don’t have to pick up the slack. Just think about that so that you can communicate and make it easier for them to say yes.

Those are really the three things that you want to do. Think about how you are going to sell yourself as somebody who needs to be working within the organisation. Think about what you actually want to do in terms of flexibility. Then think about how that is going to impact the organisation. So, you can talk about ways that you can work together to make it work. One of the things you may want to do is suggest that you do it properly. Show that you are willing to be a bit flexible and suggest that you will stop in three to six months. Just to see how it goes on a trial basis and then you can come back and review. A potential employer that might make me feel comfortable rather than not committing to something and they don’t necessarily know that it is absolutely going to work for the organisation. Those are my top three tips for you in terms of achieving that flexibility that you want.

To recap, look at your skills, what you actually want and what the organisation needs.

I hope that is useful for you. All of the videos for the 30 days will be available in a central hub – sign up below if you would like access.

Do come and join me in my private Facebook group, Careers Beyond Motherhood community, where we can continue this conversation. If you have any questions about this topic, you can connect with some other like-minded awesome Mums who are committed to growing and building their careers beyond motherhood.

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