Returning to Work After Parenthood

How to Negotiate Flexible Work Arrangements as a Parent

Crystal Rose

Achieving Work-Life Balance: Strategies for Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements.

Returning to work after becoming a parent can often feel like daunting task. A key trend in the workforce, however, is the rising number of requests for flexible working hours. This blog post aims to guide you through negotiating these arrangements with your employer to strike a better work-life balance.

Returning to work after becoming a parent
Returning to work after becoming a parent

Ready to transform your 9-to-5 into something that works for you and your family? Keep reading!

Understanding Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working is not a 9 to 5 job. It gives you the power to pick when, where and how much to work. This change from old ways can make staff happy and do good work. The COVID-19 pandemic made more firms okay with different work patterns and remote working.

There are many types of flexible work. You can start early or finish late with flexitime roles. Working from home, also known as telecommuting, is another option. Compressed schedules let you fit full-time hours into less than five days each week.

Job sharing lets two people share one full-time role while annualized hours spread your career hours over the year.

Some parents may want reduced hours for childcare help from family instead of using costly childcare services.

The Emotional Aspect of Returning to Work as a Parent

Working again brings many feelings for moms and dads. They feel happy to do a job they love. Yet, they also feel sad to leave their child at home or with a carer. This is very hard after maternity leave.

Some parents may feel guilt too. These feelings are normal and okay to have. Flexible work helps ease these tough emotions. It lets parents choose when they work so they can still care for their kids.

This way, you don't need to stick to a 9 to 5 day job if it does not suit your family life.

Steps to Negotiate for Flexible Work Hours

To negotiate for flexible work hours, clearly state your needs and express commitment to your work. Discuss the benefits of flexibility and suggest a trial period. Be open to compromise and find common ground with your employer.

Read more to learn how you can successfully negotiate for flexible work arrangements as a parent.

Being clear about your needs and wants

You must know what you need before you ask for it. Think about your work hours, childcare costs, and free time for family or study. Are you a mom who needs to pick up kids from school? Or do you want to work four days a week but have full-time pay? Write down all of these things.

This list will help in the talks with your manager about flexible working. You now have a clear picture which lets you tell them exactly what type of work schedule fits best for both parties.

Expressing commitment to your work

One important step in negotiating for flexible work hours is to express your commitment to your work. By demonstrating that you are dedicated and motivated, you can help alleviate any concerns your employer may have about the impact of flexible arrangements on your productivity.

Research from USC’s Dornsife Center of Economic and Social Research suggests that employees with flexible working options tend to experience higher job satisfaction and lower levels of anxiety and depression, leading to increased overall productivity.

Therefore, it's crucial to communicate how flexibility can actually benefit both parties – allowing you to better balance personal responsibilities while still delivering high-quality work for the company.

Discussing the benefits to both parties

When negotiating for flexible work hours as a parent, it is important to discuss the benefits that this arrangement can bring to both you and your employer. Flexible work arrangements have been shown to increase staff happiness and productivity.

For parents, it allows them to achieve a better work-life balance by having more time for their children and other personal responsibilities. On the other hand, employers benefit from having motivated and loyal employees who are able to manage their personal lives effectively while still meeting work commitments.

Additionally, offering flexible working options can help companies attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market. It's important to highlight these advantages during your negotiations to show how both parties can win with a flexible work arrangement.

Suggesting a trial period

Suggesting a trial period can be an effective way to negotiate for flexible work arrangements. By proposing a trial period, you give your employer the opportunity to see firsthand the benefits and advantages of allowing you to work flexibly.

This allows them to assess how it impacts your productivity and performance, as well as evaluate any potential challenges or adjustments that may need to be made. It also gives you the chance to demonstrate your commitment and capability in maintaining high-quality work during this trial period.

Remember, suggesting a trial period can increase the chances of your request being approved because it alleviates any concerns or uncertainties that your employer may have about flexible working arrangements.

Being open to compromise

To negotiate flexible work arrangements as a parent, it's important to be open to compromise. Both you and your employer have needs and wants that should be taken into consideration.

By being willing to find middle ground, you can increase the chances of reaching an agreement that works for both parties. Remember that compromising doesn't mean giving up everything you want; it means finding a solution that meets everyone's needs to some extent.

Keep in mind the importance of flexibility in today's work environment, where companies are recognizing the benefits of accommodating employees' personal situations while still maintaining productivity.

What to Do If Your Request for Flexible Work is Denied

If your request for flexible work is denied, you have a few options. First, you can try escalating the request within your company. Talk to higher-level managers and explain your situation again.

They may be more understanding and willing to accommodate your needs. If that doesn't work, it might be time to consider looking for employment elsewhere. There are many companies that prioritize work-life balance and offer flexible working arrangements.

Don't be discouraged if one company says no – there are other opportunities out there.

Remember that it's important to know which aspects of flexibility are non-negotiable for you and which ones you can compromise on. This will make it easier for you to find a solution that works for both parties.

In summary: if your request for flexible work is denied, don't give up! Explore other avenues within your current company or look for new opportunities elsewhere where they value work-life balance and offer flexible working arrangements.

Negotiating Flexible Working in a New Job

When negotiating flexible working in a new job, it's important to be clear about your needs and wants. Express your commitment to the job and discuss the benefits of flexible work for both you and the company.

You can suggest a trial period to show that this arrangement can work well. Be open to compromising with your employer and find a solution that works for both parties. Remember, not all companies have implemented flexible work schedules yet, but many are becoming more open-minded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's also important to know the different types of flexible work arrangements available, such as telecommuting or working from home, compressed schedules, flexitime roles, and job sharing.

Flexible Work Arrangements for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding mothers often face unique challenges when returning to work. Flexible work arrangements can be extremely beneficial for these mothers, allowing them to balance their breastfeeding responsibilities with their job commitments.

One important consideration is ensuring access to a private place where they can pump breast milk during the workday. This accommodation allows them to continue providing breast milk for their baby even when they are away.

Employers should understand the importance of this and provide supportive policies that allow for breaks and a comfortable space for pumping. Additionally, flexible scheduling options can help breastfeeding mothers manage their time effectively, allowing for breaks or modified hours if needed.

These arrangements not only support the well-being of the mother but also contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity overall.

Types of Flexible Work Arrangements

Explore different types of flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, compressed schedules, flexitime roles, job sharing, and annualized hours. Find the perfect fit for your work-life balance.

Read more here!

Telecommuting or work from home

Telecommuting or work from home is a type of flexible work arrangement where employees have the option to complete their job tasks remotely instead of going into the office. This has become more common, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working from home allows parents to save time on commuting and gives them better options for taking care of their children. It can also reduce reliance on expensive childcare services.

Unlike the traditional 9 to 5 schedule, telecommuting or work from home offers flexibility in terms of when and where work is done.

Compressed schedule

A compressed schedule means working a full week's worth of hours in just four days. Many parents choose this option to have an extra day off each week, which can give them more time to take care of personal and family needs.

It offers flexibility and can be beneficial for work-life balance. When negotiating for a compressed schedule, it is important to communicate clearly with your employer and provide a written proposal outlining how the arrangement will not negatively impact your work or colleagues.

Employers should also consider the potential effects on their employees when considering compressed schedules.

Flexitime role

Flexitime is a type of flexible work arrangement that allows employees to have more control over their schedule. Instead of the traditional 9 to 5 work pattern, flexitime roles give parents the opportunity to set their own hours within their contractual weekly requirements.

This can be especially beneficial for parents who need more flexibility in order to juggle childcare responsibilities or other personal needs. For example, some parents choose to start and finish work earlier so they can do the school pick-up, while others may prefer later start times.

With flexitime, parents have the freedom to adjust their schedules as needed while still meeting their work obligations.

Job sharing

Job sharing is a type of flexible work arrangement where two employees share the same job responsibilities and work hours. It allows for reduced working hours for each employee while still maintaining productivity.

Job sharing
Job sharing

Job sharing can be a great option for parents looking to achieve better work-life balance, as it enables them to spend more time with their family. It also offers cost savings by relying on family help for childcare instead of expensive childcare services.

When negotiating flexible working arrangements, job sharing can be discussed between the employee and employer as an alternative to traditional full-time employment.

Annualized hours

Annualized hours is a type of flexible work arrangement where an employee's working hours are averaged out over the year. Instead of working a set number of hours per day or week, employees with annualized hours have more flexibility in their schedule.

This means they may work longer hours during busier periods and shorter hours during slower times. Annualized hour arrangements can be beneficial for both employers and employees as they allow for better workload management and increased productivity.

Additionally, this type of arrangement may help to reduce burnout and provide employees with more control over their work-life balance.

Annualized hours is a type of flexible work arrangement
Annualized hours is a type of flexible work arrangement


Negotiating flexible work arrangements as a parent is crucial for achieving a better work-life balance. By being clear about your needs, expressing commitment to your work, discussing the benefits to both parties, suggesting a trial period, and being open to compromise, you can increase the chances of successfully obtaining flexible hours.

Remember that preparation is key - have a written proposal ready and be ready to show how this arrangement can benefit both you and your employer.

Related Topics: You may also be interested in learning about how to handle childcare when returning to work, the role of employer support in parents return to work and returning to work after parenthood a comprehensive guide.

Crystal Rose

Crystal Rose is a spirited digital nomad and lifestyle blogger, advocating for remote work and independent living. A bold dream chaser, Crystal swapped the traditional 9-5 grind for a laptop and a worldwide adventure. She passionately shares her insights on work-life balance, productivity, and travel through her blog. Known for her feisty writing and honest advice, she empowers readers to embrace freedom and create their own dream life.

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