How to persuade your employer to let you work remotely
- Working remotely has many benefits for both the employer and employee.
- Create a case where it's a win-win situation, and document your wins at work.
- To sway your boss, treat it as a test run and address your employer's concerns before making the switch.
- For more stories go to Business Insider South Africa.
Working remotely has obvious appeal for many workers.
To name a few, workers who don't check into the office every day have no commute, fewer work-related expenses, and potentially a greater work-life balance.
But whether your management will allow you to work remotely is another story.
Convincing your employer you deserve to work remotely may require some homework on your end, and you should be willing to compromise with your employer to make your arrangement work.
Here's how you can persuade your employer to let you work remotely.
Document all your wins
"It's hard to make the case for fully remote people when you've worked in a traditional office setting because of politics, red tape, and even an impact on collaboration and dynamics with colleagues in your team," Stephanie Lee, a writer who convinced her boss to let her work remotely for up to three days a week, told Business Insider.
"Something like this will take time. That's mainly because, like making a proposal for a client, you have to really sell it, and show how your boss or company would benefit from you going remote."
Lee recommends doing the following: At least three months before you talk to your manager, start documenting all of your contributions, performance results, and what you've been doing that benefits the team and company.
"I myself made sure that my performance exceeded normal expectations," she said.
Know your audience
When developing your case, LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele recommends keeping your audience in mind when stating your case. Then tailor it accordingly to boost your odds of success.
"Consider how your manager best processes information, and how they measure success," Decembrele told Business Insider. "If they're data-driven, lead your case with research and performance metrics. If your manager is more subjective, paint the picture by sharing your contributions and workplace performance."
Or if your boss is concerned with how it impacts the bottom line, point out how it could save in costs. For example, it could save your employer in overhead costs in that you don't require office space or equipment. If you qualify for overtime, talk about how this change could actually save them money since you can now work in spurts versus one long block, recommends Chris Tuff, bestselling author of "The Millennial Whisperer."
"You'll be measured by performance and not by punching a clock," Tuff said.
Propose it as a trial run
Giving your boss the option to call you back and change their mind and framing it as a "test" makes it a lot easier for them to say yes, Lee said.
By the time Lee made her proposal to work remotely, she was able to show how she had directly contributed to company growth.
"The case I made was something like the following: 'Would you be comfortable allowing me to work one day per week from home? I already do XYZ and feel that I can be just as productive at home," Lee said. "Working from home gives me a bit of a boost in mental health to allow me to keep doing my best work for the company."
Lee asked for a one-month trial to start, pointing out she was a high performer, and asking to test the waters for a month. She told her boss to end the trial period if her performance suffered.
Think about it from your boss' perspective
Your boss wants to make sure that their employees are producing good work, and they don't want to get too many questions from other team members. Try to see things from their perspective when you ask to work remotely.
If your boss is the micromanaging type, you could say something like, "If I sent you a full report of what I plan to do and accomplish every week on Monday, would that help you be comfortable with the idea?"
You can also offer person-to-person meetings and checkpoints throughout the week, Tuff said. And if your employer is concerned with you losing touch with the rest of your team, Tuff recommends creating digital solutions, like regular video conferencing.
Back it up with research
An informed argument makes for a stronger argument.
"Preparation is the key to success, so come to the table with research to back up your ask," Decembrele said. "Is there an official company policy on remote work? Bring an organized list of the pros and cons of remote work as it particularly applies to you and your company."
You'll find no shortage of how companies that allow greater flexibility with their employers could help attract and retain talent - which is a definite draw, given the fact that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 50 years.
For instance, a recent survey by the Society of Human Resources Management found that of those who work remotely at least a few times a month, 77% reported greater productivity while working offsite, and 30% said they accomplished more in less time. Plus, teleworkers typically return to work faster after surgery or recovering from medical issues.
LinkedIn data show that 51% of professionals say they are proudest to work at companies that promote work-life balance and flexibility. What's more, greater flexibility could even be a stronger consideration than salary, as just over a third of professional would take a 10% pay cut for the ability to design their own schedule.
By doing your homework and creating a well-informed case that shows how allowing you to work remotely is a win-win for both parties, you can sway your employer to grant you greater flexibility.
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