How To Seek a Schedule Change at Work (With Steps and Tips)

Updated March 10, 2023

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If you are interested in requesting a schedule change with your company to accommodate your needs or preferences, you may be wondering the best way to do so. Many employers are accommodating by allowing employees to work remotely or to come in at different hours during the day.

In this article, we discuss what it means to ask for a schedule change, the steps you can take to successfully appeal to your employer for a change in schedule and tips to keep in mind when doing so.

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What is a schedule change at work?

A schedule change at work is any change that affects your current work hours or where you work. For example, if you normally work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., you may request a schedule change to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow you to take your children to school. Changing to a work-from-home schedule may also allow you to work different work hours depending on how your organization operates and the preferences of your manager.

Related: How To Make a Daily Work Schedule

Types of schedule changes you can ask for at work

The following are the most commonly recognized types of schedule changes someone may request in the workplace:

Flex schedule

This schedule is when an employee works a set amount of hours in the office and then has the freedom to work the remaining hours when and where the employee chooses.

Related: What Is a Flex Schedule? Definition and How It Works

Remote work

Working remotely is when an employee completes all of their work at home or in another remote location outside of the office.

Related: 10 Benefits of Remote Working for Employees

Compressed schedule

This type of schedule is when an employee compresses their hours into fewer days of the week. For example, instead of working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, an employee may request to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and have Fridays off.

Related: Compressed Workweek: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

Hour change

An hour change is when an employee requests to work a different set of hours than what they are currently working. For example, an employee may ask to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Related: How To Write a Shift Change Request Letter in 3 Steps

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How to request a schedule change at work

You can follow these steps to effectively present your case to your manager for a schedule change:

1. Determine exactly what you're requesting

Before you can make an effective schedule change request, you must first decide exactly what it is you're asking for. For example, decide if you want to work from home three days a week, or every day until further notice, and will you continue to work during your current work hours or will you work during a different time slot. Be as clear as possible about what you are requesting so you can concisely convey this to your manager and prevent any confusion.

2. Understand what kind of request is appropriate and realistic for your company

Every company is different, and some companies are unable to accommodate work-from-home requests or multiple work-from-home requests from their employees. For this reason, it's important to understand exactly what is realistic for your company in terms of making a change-in-schedule request. Consider speaking with a human resources employee first to get a better idea of this before meeting with your manager.

3. Schedule a meeting with your manager

Once you have determined exactly the type of schedule change you will ask for and the specific details that go along with it, request a meeting with your manager to discuss your proposal.

4. State your case

When you meet with your manager, provide them a detailed overview of your schedule change request including how, where and when you want to work. You should also be sure to mention how this schedule change can benefit your manager and your team, especially if you plan on continuing this schedule for an extended period.

5. Set clear expectations

In addition to discussing the details of your schedule change request and how it may benefit your manager and team, take time to establish clear expectations with your manager regarding your new schedule. For example, if your manager approves your request to work from home, determine how you will remain accountable for your daily workload. You may update your manager at the end of each business day regarding the work you completed that day or create a document that is shareable with your manager that you update each time you complete a task.

Setting expectations for your transition to a new work schedule is important as it can ease any concerns your manager may have regarding productivity.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

6. If approved, transition as professionally as possible

If your manager approves your schedule change request, make the transition as professional as possible. For example, if you are approved to work from home, log into your work platform each morning at the agreed-upon time and make yourself available during office hours. Complete your work on time and stay in contact with your manager and team.

If you are participating in video calls, dress professionally and act as you would if you were in the office. While working from home is more casual, it's important to remain committed to professionalism to show your manager you are serious about your schedule change and committed to your job.

Related: 7 Challenges of Working Remotely and How To Overcome Them

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Tips to keep in mind when requesting a change in your work schedule

Here are tips to consider when making a schedule change request at work:

  • Consider offering an incentive to your manager for approving your schedule change request, such as taking on additional responsibilities.

  • Have a plan for how you will productively work from home before making the transition and share this with your manager.

  • Be flexible if possible to accommodate any needs on your manager's behalf.

  • If your manager seems hesitant about your request, suggest a trial period of a few weeks to a few months to see if the schedule change works for both you and your supervisor.

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