How to Negotiate A Flexible Work Arrangement At Your Next Job

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Did you know that, according to a recent survey by WorldatWork and FlexJobs, the vast majority of companies (80%) offer flexible work arrangements to employees?

However, only 37% of these companies report having a formal, written philosophy to support employee flexibility options.

What does that mean for you?

2 things.

The first is that a work-from-home/telecommute situation can certainly be negotiated at your next position.

The second is that, in all likelihood, you’re going to have to do your homework beforehand to broach it in the right way, and secure an arrangement that makes you (and your employer) happy. 

Here are some tips:

1) Figure out How Important this is to You

Are you willing to walk away from a position if they can’t provide you with some leeway on how (and where) the work gets done? 

Is a flexible work arrangement simply something you’d like to have, or is it crucial based on your particular circumstance (for example, you have a growing family and need to be more involved in their lives, can’t afford to be spending 10-12 hours a day, every day in the office, etc.)?

How you answer this question will play a big role in successfully advocating for yourself. There is no wrong answer here, but be honest.

2) Do Your Homework!

Put your detective hat on!

Start by researching real employee accounts of life at the company. If you know someone at the company you want to work for, take him or her out for a coffee to discuss. Sites like Glassdoor.com give staff a safe place to post honest, anonymous observations on how they work, company culture, and everything in between. Get a feel for what other experiences at a company have been like to inform your efforts. A company that isn’t willing to provide even an occasional telecommuting day is unlikely to be receptive to a more extensive work-from-home arrangement.

3) Prepare a Proposal

Let’s be clear: you’re not going to be able to “wing it” when it comes to negotiating an arrangement like this.

Once you have a clear picture of what’s possible at the company you’re considering, develop a proposal for what a fair flexible work arrangement looks like to you.

Do you want to keep a full-time schedule but work from home several days each week? Are you looking for a three-day workweek to help with childcare?

Whatever option you’re seeking, keep it SPECIFIC and leave a little extra padding for NEGOTIATIONS (this is a starting point, not a take-it-or-leave-it situation).

Expert tip: if you’ve worked out a similar arrangement in a prior job, highlight KEY WINS you’ve accomplished while sticking to it. This offers clear evidence of your ability to get the job done (and will reassure a company that you’re not just looking to slack off).

4) Present at the Right Time

Don’t pitch a flex working arrangement during a first phone interview.

In fact, hold off on broaching the topic until an actual job offer’s been made (until that point, your main focus should be on demonstrated outstanding FIT and EXPERTISE for the position).

Once a deal’s on the table, be specific, be passionate about why this is important to you, and be ready to compromise in other areas to make it a reality (reduced benefits or comp, etc.).

A great flexible work arrangement can have a MAJOR impact on how happy you feel at work. Fight for it in the right way and you’ll be set for success.

3 Tips on Negotiating Salary

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#1

Salary negotiation doesn’t begin when an offer is made. It starts at the VERY FIRST MOMENT you make contact with a company, and is continuously being adjusted and re-framed throughout the hiring process.

#2

Never start negotiating a job offer when it’s presented. Get as many details as you can (you don’t want to have to place a follow-up call before your counteroffer), say thank you, and ask for a day or two to consider.

#3

How to start a salary counteroffer:

“Everything about the offer’s great. The salary mentioned is ok, but [based on my experience and how it ties into the position] I was hoping for something closer to [SPECIFIC dollar amount].”

Then wait for a response! Avoid the temptation to over-explain.

Episode #3: Beating the Monday Morning Blues

Dreading the start of the work week? On this Periscope broadcast, Anish shares tips on connecting your career with your passion.

Note: video flips at the end, here’s what the “takeaway board” says:

1) Create a Mindfulness Habit (continuously ask yourself, “What am I Doing?” and, “How Do I Feel About It?”)

2) Identify the Fix (is it something which can be fixed Internally or Externally)?

How Much Money Should I Ask For in a Salary Negotiation?

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By Anish Majumdar, Career Strategist, Certified Resume Writer and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com.

“The best way to keep money in perspective is to have some.” -Louis Rukeyser

by Anish Majumdar, Career Strategist and Founder, ResumeOrbit.com. You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of not discussing what you made at a previous job with a prospective employer. That’s good advice. But let’s say you’ve done that and are now at the point of having to provide an expected compensation figure- how much should you ask for? Here’s a personal story that illuminates what I see as the biggest enemy to your efforts:

At age 26, I’d just moved to New York City from Montreal for a fresh start. After several years of working (mostly just surviving) as an actor, I was starting to realize that your ambitions and perspective are heavily influenced by what you’re used to. What I considered a “livable” salary was an amount that would be poverty-level in any city in the U.S., and downright laughable in NYC. This really came home for me one evening when I was out with my girlfriend (now wife) and started chatting about her friend, a VP at Goldman Sachs.

“Wow, I bet she brings in a pretty penny,” I said.

She nodded. “Yeah, she definitely makes a good living.”

I thought it over, then did the “glance over the shoulder” move everyone does when talking about what someone else makes, and said, “So how much are we talking about here…like fifty grand?”

Fifty thousand dollars. To be a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, one of the most prestigious investment banks in the world.

Is it any wonder that I later found out she had serious reservations about where my life was headed based on that answer? It’s not just that I was out of touch, or didn’t understand how Finance executives got paid. This spoke to my own expectations of what constituted fair pay.

In a salary negotiation, who you’re fighting against isn’t the person on the other end of the table. It’s yourself. Your self-imposed limitations, your damaged self-worth, and ultimately, your capacity to act courageously in an ambiguous and emotionally charged situation.

Why is it called compensation? Because a company needs to provide you with money and benefits that completely free you from worries within your personal life, thereby enabling you to devote your time and energy to fulfilling their goals. They are compensating you for your effort. A great job offer will do this. Anything less is not a great offer.

Here’s a simple formula you can use:

1) What is the least amount of money I would accept to take this position? Expert tip: if you need help establishing a baseline salary, visit Glassdoor.com and input the job title and region to get an at-a-glance view. Here’s what that looks like:

Glassdoor Screenshot

2) What kind of offer would bring a smile to my face and make me excited to take this job?

3) How much money would make me jump up and down with glee, immediately call my family with the great news, and transform me into a passionate ambassador for the company? (Expert tip: this number must be somewhat reasonable, if the median salary is $200K don’t put $600K here).

Don’t take the job unless you can negotiate the offer to somewhere between #2 and #3. If an offer isn’t at least going to make you excited, let it go. And if it doesn’t come close to making you jump up and down with glee, the job probably won’t either.

You’re worth more than you think you are. Now go out there and fight for it!