How to Request Flex Time at Work

To some harried and overworked cubicle dwellers, flex time is the holy grail of the workplace. Flexing out time can mean streamlining schedules via the four-day week, doing some critical core work from home, or just taking off one morning to go to the dentist. Flex time is how many companies accommodate the needs of their employees when the chaos of regular life intersects with a rigid job schedule. Following some basic golden rules can help employees get their share of the flex time pie. If you are looking to request flex time at work, take note of some of the popular winning strategies for securing any kind of schedule change.


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    Read up on company policy. If your employer is at all established and "by the book," the company will have a clearly-listed set of protocols for employees requesting flex time. Obviously, your requests are much more likely to be met if you know the letter, not just the spirit, of your corporate policies.
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    Use the right paperwork. In addition to guidelines governing the use of flex time, many businesses have specific forms for a formal flex time request, whether it's for a day or an indefinite period. Make sure you know how to document your request, and you'll have a better chance of pushing it through human resources.
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    Identify the specific flex time requested. A flex time request may not be very effective if it's framed too vaguely. Supervisors or employer managers don't often deal well with an abstract, so be sure the specific flex time desires are outlined well in emails or other communications.
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    Outline benefits/conditions of a flex time request. Some experts recommend letting managers or leaders know how giving you a flex time schedule can benefit the company. This kind of all-around strategy is great for getting flex time requests rubber-stamped.
    • Look at conditional approval of flex time. The flip side of the benefit idea is to mention any conditions that would make you more eligible for flex time. This includes items like surgery rehab, care giving necessities or anything else that would show hardship and make an employer more likely to be lenient schedule-wise.


  • Ask about a work/life policy. If your employer is excessively strict about flex time, ask them how they provide for the critical life needs of an employee. Tight times may make employers less likely to provide certain benefits, but in any kind of economy, leaders should realize that providing flex time for employees is the least they can do, something that is likely to help a busy worker manage an overall schedule without adding any additional resources. After all, those who get flex time most often have to make up that time, and so there is no net loss to the employer. But overall, it's important for the employer to have some strategy for helping to meet a worker's needs.


  • Avoid adding too much personal detail. Unless your flex time request falls into one of the above mentioned categories for flex time eligibility, it's unlikely that your request will get approved on the basis of your personal needs. Instead, try to frame it as a positive way to improve productivity and go through formal channels without embellishing the situation.

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Categories: Work Schedules