How to request flexible working

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We spoke to Matt Fraser, team manager - planning at Penguin Recruitment, for advice on how to approach flexible working options with employers.

flex working

A common concern among town planning professionals is the inability to work flexible hours or to work from home. The 2019 Employer Branding Insights Report from Wonderful Workplaces revealed that 78% of town planning professionals are looking for the option to work from home in their next role and 63% are looking for alternative working hours - more than any other sector.

So if you’re one of those town planners keen to strike a better work/life balance but unsure how to approach your current and future employer about it, we spoke to Matt Fraser, team manager - planning at Penguin Recruitment, for his top tips.

How open are employers to flexible working requests?

Employers in both the public and private sectors are recognising the fact that flexible working is becoming more and more important for employees keen to maintain a healthy work/life balance. As Fraser explains: “Many employers now offer a variety of options to their staff, such as home working, flexible hours with early starts and finishes and vice versa, as well as working from other offices.

“In the private sector in particular we’re finding that employers are very open to flexible working such as working two days from home. Some companies will allow you to pick the days you work from home, whereas others state set days as part of a fixed contract.”

When should you mention flexible working?

If a job advert doesn’t mention flexible working as an option, and it’s a deal-breaker for you, then you may be faced with the dilemma of how soon to mention it to a potential employer. Should you enquire about it before you even apply for the job, leave it until you attend an interview, or is it best to wait until you’ve actually been offered the job? 
 
“We believe in open communication from the outset,'' says Fraser. “Therefore, we would say candidates should be upfront and advise potential employers at the earliest opportunity. Discussing the possibility of flexible working can by all means be added alongside other questions at the end of your job interview.”

How should you ask for flexible working?

“Ask what options the company offers or would consider offering,” explains Fraser. “Companies want to remain current and be an attractive business to top talent entering the market, so they have a vested interest in constantly evaluating their working environment. Plus, as the old saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

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