What is the one thing holding you back from working remotely?
Many companies with remote work policies still don’t encourage employees to take advantage of a flexible work schedule. The future of work is distributed, yet even in the wake of mass remote working during COVID-19, many businesses are still reluctant to introduce long-term remote policies. But the time for dithering is quickly running out.
As more and more employees express the desire to continue remote work post-lockdown, companies will have to respond quickly (and robustly) to retain their best talent. Given the global pandemic, you might be thinking differently about remote work—and wondering how you can retain some of the work-life flexibility that remote work offers even after your employer asks you to return to the office.
If you do want to ask your manager for a more permanent remote-work arrangement, here are five strategies to take:
Explain why you want to work remotely:
Explaining your motivation is essential when making any request. If you want to work remotely to achieve a better work-life balance, think about your ideal work-life balance level. If you want to work remotely to reduce time spent commuting, think about what you’d rather be doing with that time. Explain how remote work will help:
- How would it improve your productivity?
- Could you start working earlier?
- How would you be more focused?
- Would it improve the quality of your work?
- How would you do your job better?
First off, avoid making the [entire] conversation about you and your needs. Because realistically, your boss cares less about what you want and more about how you’ll meet what they want. One of the hardest things about transitioning from working in the office to working remotely is the difference in communication. This is why communication about your schedule and workload is crucial. In fact, there’s almost no such thing as too much communication when it comes to remote work. When you sit down with your boss, remember that a soft ask (proposing a limited remote schedule on a trial basis) combined with a clear action plan (a solid explanation of how your remote schedule will benefit the company, and how you plan to stay productive) are the keys to a smooth remote proposal.
Be clear about what you’re asking:
Before talking to your boss about your aspirations to work remotely full-time, spend time thinking about the primary reasons you want to work remotely, and what remote work would look like in your role. When considering your request for more permanent remote work, your manager needs to consider several factors, including budget and team needs. This means your manager needs to know exactly what you’re asking for before your request can even be considered.
Maintain your high-level performance:
Of course, remote work isn’t just about you – and it can actually create inequality and resentment if implemented one-sidedly. You need help your boss see how the arrangement is good for everyone in the long term. Be sure to answer work emails and calls in a timely manner and stay on top of important deadlines. If you consistently demonstrate that you’re an engaged and productive team member, you’ll increase your chance of getting your remote-work request approved.
Layout the tools you will use:
A huge part of making remote work comes down to your tools. Set up your home office with the right tools and technologies to allow you to do your best work from home. To make things crystal clear, outline what tools you will use for what. Dropbox for sharing assets, documents, and files; Basecamp for big announcements and learnings.
To make successful cases employees need to prove that working remotely is mutually beneficial and to show how it is actually in service to employers, their goals, and the success they want to achieve. If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to answer all their questions and make a strong case for working remotely.