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Don't just show me the money, show me the flexible working too!

Andy Archibald
Negotiation Working From Home

New year, new me. No doubt that's the mantra for many of us as we get 2022 underway in earnest. And for many, that may also involve a change in their career. With that in mind, the question of what impact the past 18-months has had on the employer and would-be employee negotiations is something I'm curious about.

And while reading an article on this, I was reminded of Jerry Maguire, the film from the 90s.

There's an iconic scene in the film. You'll probably know it already, but in case you don't, it's a back and forth phone call where Tom Cruise's sports agent character is trying to convince Cuba Gooding Jr's American Football player character to stay with him.

It's brilliant, and it finishes with Tom Cruise repeatedly yelling, "show me the money!" to the bemusement of his colleagues.

And there's a point to the scene. Cuba Gooding Jr's character feels undervalued and wants his agent to get him a better deal from his employer. And most important to him is money, the salary he'll receive. And more often than not, salary has historically been the most important thing to most of us when negotiating our employment contracts.

But this seems to be changing. The article I read last week was about Google's investment in its London office and the various ways in which the company is aiming to have its employees back in the office three days a week.

However, working from home and conducting meetings over Zoom or Teams for the past 18 months has opened doors to alternative ways of working and is challenging the status quo of being in the office Monday to Friday 9 to 5 each week. The result is employees now want more flexibility on required office attendance, meaning the number of days in the office each week is becoming more of a conversation between employers and potential employees, along with salary.

And this emerging conflict between employers wanting employees in the office more often and employees wanting more flexibility offers the opportunity for both sides to see the money.

If you are the employer and your employee or would-be employee is asking for more flexible working, you may ask yourself what circumstances you would consider it and what would the limit be? An increased set of KPIs, for example?

Or, if you are the employee and your employer or would-be employer wants you in the office more often, what might you ask for in return? A contribution to travel costs or more training opportunities, for example?

Like with any negotiation, the more variables you have, the more power and flexibility you have to get a good deal. It's crucial, therefore, that you spend time preparing before you go into the negotiation. And use this preparation time beforehand to think creatively about what else you have on your list besides salary and office attendance.

If you want to see both the money and the flexible working, have many other things on your list that you can ask for in return for your flexibility.

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