If you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve transitioned from an office-based role into remote working full-time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And while I’m not advocating for you to continue working from home or stating that the future of work will be fully remote, I think it’s important for employees to have the choice.
So, if you’ve fallen in love with working from home over the past few months and would like this to be part of your “new normal,” here’s how you should communicate your wishes to your boss.
You’ve done the trial run and proved it’s plausible, but what about culture?
Before we move on to looking at how you can spark the conversation with your manager, it’s important that you make an informed decision.
Under normal circumstances I would have said to try out working from home (it’s not for everyone) before considering doing so full-time. But the good news in this instance is that you’ve already done so — whether you wanted to or not.
The other piece of good news is that you’ve already proved that your job can be done remotely. In my opinion, the true test lies in whether you can realistically carry out 80-90% of your responsibilities using either a phone or a computer. If so, then your case becomes even stronger.
You also need to think about your company’s culture. Assess how management supervises teams and how they communicate with their employees. Is much of this communication done using tools such as Slack or are face-to-face meetings an integral part of working life? Does the business use digital project management systems and would it be easy for you, and your colleagues, to track deliverables even if you’re not physically in the office?
If your company works in an analogue way, don’t be disheartened. You could quite easily use your case to work from home to spearhead some of these changes, but it will obviously depend on whether your employer is happy to make this commitment.
Build your case and prove you can be trusted
Even though you’ve proved you can work remotely temporarily, you need to build a case to support your move full-time. Highlight the benefits of remote work and why you think it can positively affect your productivity and workplace satisfaction in the long-run.
Make your case more compelling by providing clear reasons why working from home would allow you to work more efficiently and in turn improve the company’s bottom line. Think about how your employer measures performance, include KPIs in your pitch, and discuss how you can achieve these quicker by working from home.
It’s likely that you know someone in a similar role or company that works from home full-time. If so, include a case study in your pitch to help you highlight your business case.
Essentially, you need to make it easy for your boss to visualize what a remote working agreement could look like — so make sure you’ve done all the necessary legwork before making your case.
Be positive, optimistic, and open to feedback
When the time arrives to deliver your pitch, outline your case in an upbeat and positive way. Be prepared to answer questions patiently and make sure your employer feels like they’re entering into a two-way conversation.
The tone and delivery matter. Don’t make your employer feel attacked — frame everything positively, discussing how working remotely can help you grow professionally rather than implying that the traditional office environment is holding you back.
Don’t pressure your employer — it won’t work
Your employer will likely have a lot of questions and concerns about the new set up you’re proposing and if you can’t answer them all at this precise moment in time, that’s ok, but whatever you do, don’t make them feel like you’re giving them an ultimatum.
Ultimately, your boss has the upper hand and they may even have to get sign off from more senior people within the organization. Make sure they see you as a facilitator and not a hindrance.
If you get your way — make the most of it
If and when your employer agrees to let you work from home unconditionally, then make the most of it.
You’ll have newfound freedom and flexibility to work, and although you’ll have to take other team members’ availability into account, you shouldn’t be tied to your desk for hours on end.