Request a Work Schedule Change with a Flexibility Proposal Memo

By Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett

Cover: More Than a Mom
Cover image courtesy of Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett

[Reprinted from the book More Than a Mom: Living a Full and Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs by Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett; copyright © 2006 Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett. Reprinted with permission. This article may not be reproduced for any other use without permission.]


Karen works weekdays 9:00 to 5:30 as a technical writer for an aerospace plant. Karen's husband Murray doesn't start work until 9:30, but often must work late into the evening. They have two school-age children. Their youngest, Helen, has cerebral palsy.
Karen would like to work flextime, so that she can be home with her daughters after school. That would allow her to schedule more therapy appointments for Helen, as well as help the girls with their homework. It would also save the family significant babysitting costs.
She will request a 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. workday.


To: John Doe
From: Karen MacDonald
Re: Request for Flextime
Date: May 17, 2006
{ specific work schedule change requested}

As a team member of HI-Tech's Technical Writing Division for six years, I'd like to propose changing my work hours to 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., instead of 9:00 to 5:30.

{ how the plan will benefit the company}

I believe that, with this earlier schedule, I would be able to improve my written output by at least a third. As I'm sure you know, writing and editing requires a great deal of solitary concentration. Although I enjoy the camaraderie of our open-concept office, I am frequently disrupted by nearby phone calls and discussions. With the earlier schedule, I would have several hours to work without distraction before most of my coworkers arrive each day.
An earlier schedule would also allow me to schedule my daughter's medical appointments after work, meaning I'd be able to take significantly less time off, yet still see to her needs.

{ what makes the plan feasible}

I feel that my work record as a reliable, self-directed, and self-disciplined employee makes me an ideal candidate for flextime work.
Since I rarely interact directly with customers, customer service should not be compromised. Should an urgent matter arise after I'd left work for the day, I would still be accessible by cell phone.
My meetings with engineers can be easily rescheduled to take place before 2:30. I could still arrange to work a later schedule on days when my presence would be critical in the late afternoon -- for example, if a client requested a 3:00 meeting.

{ what is necessary to make the plan work}

To ensure success, I propose we meet weekly in the first month to review the arrangement. I would continue to report on my progress in weekly department meetings.

{ how performance will be measured}

We can use the timelines currently in our product schedule to track my projects and measure productivity.

{ an understanding that arrangement depends on a successful trial period}

I would like to discuss this proposal with you further to address any potential concerns you might have. I understand that you are responsible for the success of this department and must determine whether this plan works for our team as a whole. I suggest a trial period of one month, after which the arrangement could be assessed and revised, if necessary. I understand that if the plan is not working, I might be required to return to my original schedule.

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