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Ask Dan
Q.
I work best between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m., but my boss wants me to work standard 9-to-5 hours. How can I make a case for working a nontraditional day?

A.
Jobs with flexible hours are no longer the outliers they once were. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 12.4 percent of American workers in 1987 enjoyed flextime. But today, various sources have put that number closer to roughly 43 percent.

Of course, just because elastic schedules are popular with employees doesn't mean they're equally a hit with bosses. To make a good case for working nontraditional hours, I suggest you first assess the possible objections to your doing so. For example, does your job involve contacting customers and suppliers whose own hours fall inside that 9-to-5 window? Does it include other duties considered best performed during that particular time slot? Generate as many questions like these as you can, along with substantive answers for each one.

Once you have those items in hand, sit down with your boss. Explain you would like to work a different schedule and present him or her with the list of possible challenges and solutions. To further sell the idea, suggest various metrics that would indicate if you're performing effectively. By accounting for the possible objections to your working outside the usual times and offering ways to evaluate your efforts, you may find that your manager is just as flexible as the hours you'd prefer to spend in the office. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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