How to Ask for a Reduction in Hours

Maybe when you started this job you thought it was going to be a standard nine to five. Or perhaps you want to spend more time at home with your family.

Regardless of reason, you’re working more hours than you anticipated or want to work, and it’s getting in the way of your schoolwork, family time, or other responsibilities. As a salaried employee, it’s time to have a frank discussion with your manager about cutting back your hours.

But how do you start that conversation? We’re here to help.

  1. Know Your Worth

If you’re a great employee, recognize that. Employees who put out solid work are valuable to a company. Research your job and average pay in your area before meeting with your boss.

Once you’ve established your worth, write it all down on paper. You want to prove to your boss and the rest of the company you’re a great employee, and sometimes that requires data. Projects you excelled on, ways you increased productivity, etc. Convincing your boss to let you reduce your hours is only the first step, since they might need to convince their managers as well. Giving them this type of valuable data to makes this easier.

  1. Prepare Options

You’ve done the research. Now it’s time to put together an argument for it.

First off, come up with options. Although it would be great to get your ideal flexible work arrangement, that might not be in the cards. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, come prepared with multiple options. For example, perhaps your ideal work arrangement is to cut hours back to 35 per week. Or maybe your secondary option is to work more than eight hours Monday through Thursday and take Fridays off. And a third option is to work from home a few days a week instead of spending all week in the office. Choose options that work for you and your unique circumstances.

  1. Anticipate What-Ifs

Before you meet with your boss, you’ll want to anticipate any concerns they might have about how your reduction in hours could  affect overall productivity. If you already have answers, they won’t surprise you in the meeting.

What problems could your reduction in hours cause? Perhaps you have ideas for how the workflow could be arranged to make room for your reduction in hours. Perhaps it’s an issue of availability; if you aren’t there to field certain questions, who will answer them? You need to have answers to these questions before you approach your boss.

  1. Ask to Try Things Out

Finally, end your meeting by asking your manager if you can start your new flexible work arrangement with a trial period. Trying things out first can give you time to prove to your boss and the company a reduction in hours can work out well for everyone involved. And it’s much easier to make the leap to a permanent situation once you’ve proved it can work on a trial basis.

Although there are no guarantees when it comes to an ask like this and your boss will need to consider a variety of factors, if you come prepared you’ll stand the best chance of getting the outcome you want.

Have you ever asked your employer about a reduction in hours? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments section below!

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