Before the Coronavirus shuttered offices, working from home was already a growing trend. In the wake of COVID-19 which sent much of the world into remote work arrangements, many people are finding that they actually enjoy the benefits of working from home and would like to continue to do so even when their offices reopen. Additionally, as schools and daycares begin to reopen, the unique challenges of working at home during the pandemic will begin to fade and the benefits of a remote work set-up will become even more favorable. If you find yourself enjoying working from home and want to continue to do so, here’s how to make a case for staying remote for the long run.
Highlight Your Achievements
The benefit to you working from home needs to be a two-way street. If you can show your employer that you’ve successfully navigated working from home so far, and even how you’ve exceeded any expectations or targets, you’ll have a stronger case for continuing. Take the time to assess all of your work since you began working remotely and take note of your accomplishments. As many places are not opening up quite yet, if you find that you have room to improve, begin to push yourself now so that when the time for the conversation comes you’ll have a clear case. If you can show tangible proof of your productivity and your contributions to the business’ growth in a difficult time, it will be easier to express why you should have the opportunity to maintain your home office. Don’t wait until you make your request to shower your employer with a comprehensive list of accomplishments, but rather weave them in through your regular check-ins and updates. This will keep you and your work in a continuously positive light and set your employer up to be amenable to giving you more benefits. Plus, when you do point out key accomplishments they will be reinforcements, not surprises.
Anticipate Concerns and Roadblocks
While you may see the advantages of working from home clearly, businesses do have many reasonable hesitations. Some of those hesitations may boil down to a lack of trust, but perhaps they’ve had previous negative experiences with employees working from home. Think deeply, and honestly about what challenges your specific company may face with members of their team going remote.
For instance, many employers worry that the cost in loss of productivity for remote workers will outweigh any potential financial benefits. Once you’ve established that your productivity will not be impacted by working remotely, or could even improve, the next step is to show that working remotely will save the business money. Potential cost saving elements of supporting remote work include commuter costs if your company provides that benefit and lower office overhead costs.
While you likely can complete all of your tasks from home, there are undeniably some benefits to putting in face-to-face time with your team. If your company’s culture values in-person collaboration, explain your plan to make sure that you maintain a strong connection to your team. Will you hold weekly one-on-ones, regular team meetings, are you open to spending a day in the office once a month or so in order to have that face time? Can you commit to attending the regular events your company hosts such as holiday parties or social team-building days? This may help assuage their fears that you could become disconnected through working remotely when the rest of the team returns to the office.
We’ve already touched upon productivity concerns, but another worry that your employer may have is not just that you’ll complete your work, or even go beyond, but whether you’ll fulfill the hours you’re expected to. While this may seem arbitrary if your work is well done, for an employer this is a sincere concern especially if the culture is focused around putting in many hours at the office. Not only could they be concerned that you won’t pull your fair share, they may worry about the optics to your team if it seems like your days are shorter than theirs.
Most of All, Be Flexible
Presenting your request to continue to work from home should come from a place of genuine openness to finding a system that works for you and for your employer. If you can take positive steps towards getting your ideal arrangement, that in itself is a victory. Perhaps your employer is open to you working from home one day a week, or one week a month. Be prepared to meet in the middle and accept their concerns. Creating a work from home arrangement isn’t necessarily a single conversation, it can be an ongoing process. Commit to excelling with whatever leeway you’re given and you can revisit the arrangement with an even stronger case in the future.
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