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WORK LIFE

Got a flexible schedule? Take advantage of it while also impressing your manager

Alexandra Levit

Human Capital Analyst and Futurist

Apr 05, 2021

Five tips on how best to leverage your flexible schedule and impress your boss

The flexible work schedule is a marvelous invention. It allows employees to work hard and excel at their jobs while attending to other important areas of their lives, including family, friends, hobbies, volunteer roles, and even side gigs.
 
Many organizations were moving toward greater flexibility before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the year-long disruption helped usher out the rigid “be in the same place at the same time” mentality that characterized work since the Industrial Revolution.
 
Today’s workers have more freedom to optimize their daily schedules. As long as they get results, many can work when it’s most convenient for their lifestyles, when they have the most energy, or when their attention isn’t required elsewhere. This is a godsend in unpredictable times when children are home from school, businesses are closed, and health challenges arise unexpectedly.
 
The idea of a flexible schedule can be a blessing, especially if you have the right approach to successfully juggle it all. Here are a few ways to leverage your schedule to impress your boss and make it more likely that they will like, trust, respect, and want to work with you more in the future.
 
Stick to roughly the same hours: Your work arrangement might allow you to work whenever you want provided you get the job done, but your manager will feel much better if they have a solid understanding of who’s doing what and when. This is easier when you have a semi-reliable schedule they can remember, especially if your boss is responsible for multiple teammates who are all moving in different directions.
 
Be available to communicate when you aren’t on the clock: When you’re supervising employees with flexible schedules, there’s often no set time when you are guaranteed to reach your team. Therefore, a manager with an urgent question during work regular hours really appreciates an employee with a fast communication turnaround – whether you’re actively working from your desk, or can answer quickly from your phone or laptop within reach.
 
Pick up extra shifts or projects in a pinch: Because business needs often change frequently, managers value the employee who can perform a variety of roles and is willing to step in last minute if someone calls in sick or another area is overloaded. Make sure your boss knows that even if you aren’t scheduled to work or you normally focus in other areas, you are available to help out if needed. If you’re concerned that your skills are very niche, hop on the virtual learning train and expand your skillset to include more transferable skills. Here are a few tips on how to keep developing even with social distancing restrictions in place.
 
Track your time accurately: Every organization has its own way of accounting for employee work. If you’ve been granted a flexible schedule, your boss relies on you to be honest and fair in doing the job you’re paid to do. Try not to spend paid work time on personal or other professional endeavors and be punctual about timesheet submissions. With a flexible schedule, it helps to keep track of your personal hours and work hours throughout the day, to remain as accurate as possible on your timesheets.
 
Plan time off in advance: Employees with flexible schedules may be less conspicuous when they’re on vacation, but your manager doesn’t want to be caught off guard either. Collaborate with them when arranging your time off, confirm your plans early, and remind your boss before you depart.
 
A flexible schedule is especially desired in today’s climate, and nothing impresses a manager more than an employee who shows their dedication when no one’s watching.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit is an author, consultant, speaker, and workplace expert. She has written several career advice books, and was formerly a nationally syndicated career columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Alexandra is currently a partner at organizational development firm PeopleResults.

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