Your Job Schedule: How to Negotiate the One You Want

Most employers have a set schedule in mind when advertising a job. They may operate a traditional office and have never considered working any hours outside the norm. You might be a perfect fit for the job, but the schedule doesn't fit in with your life. This isn't necessarily the kiss of death for a job opportunity. Today's work force is often a 24-hour operation in many industries, and this employer may not have considered the benefits of using workers outside the traditional workplace hours. Use this opportunity to educate him about alternate scheduling and what that will mean for his business. You may end up helping his bottom line as well as getting the job you want with the schedule you need.

What's in it For Him?

Go into the scheduling negotiation armed with information. Do some basic research on the benefits of extending the work day for some employees, or for working from home on a different schedule from the rest of the office. Have the facts and figures available to prove that the company would be better off using your scheduling plan for you and other employees. Show how turning a dark space into a productive work environment can increase his bottom line. Explain the benefits of having employees work from home: higher productivity, smaller drain on the facilities' resources and more satisfied work force. Let him know exactly what your chosen schedule is going to do for him and his business in terms of increasing the bottom line.

What's in it For You?

Despite the obvious benefits to having a diversely-scheduled workforce, some employers insist on knowing your motivation for trying to upset the status quo and change things that have, to his way of thinking, worked perfectly well up to this point. Have your reasons ready, and make sure they're logical and reasonable. Your wanting to work four 10-hour workdays so you have more time on the weekends for your band might not impress your supervisor. Your wanting to split the hours with a coworker so you both can take care of family responsibilities while you combine to cover the necessary work the job entails might just do the job. Be logical, be adult and admit that this plan will benefit you as well as the company. As long as you have a serious reason for trying this new schedule, most employers will at least listen to reason.

Negotiate From a Position of Strength

Timing is everything, and no more so than in the business world. If you're applying for a new job or a new position in your company, you may not be able to dictate your work hours at first unless you are a sterling example of the exact employee for the job. Obviously, it would not be a good idea to try to negotiate your work hours after a poor quarterly review. On the other hand, after you've brought in a big client or won an industry award would be the ideal time to set an appointment with your supervisor. Prove your worth to the company and they'll have an easier time justifying any changes they make on your behalf.