We can all agree that remote work has become common practice, especially since lockdown restrictions turned it into a business necessity. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 56% of employees hold jobs that can be done from home. Even so, as the pandemic dies down, companies are starting to bring their operations back to their offices.
If you’ve been comfortable conducting your daily meetings in your pajamas, you might say to yourself, “I want to work remotely.” Thankfully, more and more companies are becoming open to a long-term work-from-home setup. Now, what if you received a memo from your boss saying that you have to go back to the office in a few weeks or months? In this case, you’ll have to convince them to allow you to work remotely.
What Business Executives Think About Remote Work
A 2020 PwC survey revealed that 83% of employers found working from home an overwhelming success. Unfortunately, 75% of executives expect at least half of their workforce to go back to the office by July 2021. Moreover, 21% believe that employees have to be in the office five days per week to keep a strong company culture. Meanwhile, only 5% think otherwise.
Several remote work statistics have revealed that working from home has been effective. Most employees are more productive in this setup. Unfortunately, business managers still need some convincing before they allow permanent work from home.
So, you might wonder, “How do I ask my boss to let me work remotely?” Here are some steps you can take to persuade your supervisor:
Step 1: Understand Why You Want to Do It
Before you submit your remote work proposal to your boss, you must be clear on the reason(s) why you want to do it in the first place. Some people are backed by professional motivations. In the office, they find it more challenging to stay focused because of the constant interruptions from their co-workers. It’s almost impossible to get things done when they have to go through multiple conference calls, meetings, and obligatory water cooler chitchat.
Meanwhile, others want to work from home permanently for personal reasons. Perhaps remote work allows them to fulfill their fitness goals, or they might want a flexible work setup so they can take care of their child or aging parents. Whatever your motives may be, you need to be honest about what you’re asking for. If your intentions are good, you have a better chance to convince your boss.
Step 2: Prove to Your Boss That You Deserve It
If you prove to be indispensable in a company, your employer may hang on to you. They’ll likely give in to your requests rather than hire and train a new employee. However, you can only demand if you’re already a top performer. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense to discuss a flexible work setup with your boss. If they don’t trust you to deliver, they’ll likely need you to be under constant supervision in the office. Here are some things to consider:
- Your performance reviews in the past year
- Your track record for recovering from mistakes
- The positive feedback you’ve received
- Your rapport with your colleagues and/or clients
If you think that based on these factors, you can be considered a top performer, then your request has great chances of getting approved. Write down the points that prove you deserve to be rewarded with a flexible work option.
Step 3: Carefully Map Out a Proposal
Asking to work remotely is not a simple feat. So, before you even approach your boss, you need to be ready for their concerns or questions. If you’re able to address them beforehand, it will be evident that you’ve put a lot of thought into your request. Moreover, your manager will see that you have considered how your decision will impact not only yourself but others in the team. In this case, you need to put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Identify potential concerns they may have regarding an employee working from home permanently.
Of course, your boss will worry about your productivity. Since many of your colleagues will move back to the office, the dynamics may change. What’s more, the collaboration practices you used when everyone was fully remote may not be applicable anymore. As such, your supervisor may be concerned about how you will deliver work. If you want to ask their permission to keep working remotely, you need to map out a proposal. Here are some elements to review:
- Your work hours – You need to define the hours that you’re online and available for questions. If you’re planning to work from a different time zone, you must provide for that as well.
- Your work location – You must assure your boss that your work area is conducive to productivity.
- Fulfilling meeting requirements – If there are important gatherings, relevant conversations, and meetings, how do you plan to get involved in them?
- Conflict resolution – Think of the biggest work problems you’ve faced. How would you handle them if you were working remotely?
- Company culture – Since you’ll be away from the office, you need to show how you’ll contribute to building strong relationships with your boss, coworkers, and clients.
Offer Solutions to Productivity Problems
A huge part of your proposal will involve methods for alleviating possible concerns over productivity. In this case, you can show your accountability by using a reliable time tracker like Traqq. This easy-to-install software can record your work hours automatically. At the end of the week or month, you can go to the dashboard to generate an accurate timesheet.
What’s more, Traqq monitors the websites you visit and apps you use. Your manager can access this information to ensure that every minute paid to you is a minute worked. This time tracker even records your activity levels based on your keyboard movements and mouse clicks and scrolls. So, you can promise your boss that you are accountable for the hours you log into the tool.
Ensure Secure Remote Work
You need to have all the work-from-home tools that will guarantee efficiency and productivity. Part of this initiative is ensuring that your computer and data are safe. You can ask your company’s IT department to provide you with programs that will protect the data you transmit over the network. You can also turn to the right channels in your company to know if they can offer a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for you to use.
To alleviate concerns over data breaches, follow clean desk practices for remote settings. This means that you will store all documents digitally and you will not print anything. You can also set up a system that will lock your screen automatically when you step away from your desk. This way, no one can peek into the contents of your device when you’re not looking.
Step 4: Start the Conversation
Once you’ve completed the legwork and polished your proposal, it’s time to set up a meeting with your boss. Remember to confidently exude an aura that shows you know how to work remotely with ease. Your manager may not approve your proposal right off the bat. However, because you’ve done a thorough job preparing for the meeting, they’ll likely give it some thought. If everything aligns, they may even be the one to get your proposal signed off by the higher-ups.
Your boss may still have concerns about approving your request. Now, how do you negotiate a remote work arrangement? Well, you should express your willingness to compromise. Let them know that you are flexible and open to suggestions.
The most challenging aspect of working from home is getting your boss to approve it. However, once you start the conversation, you can explain to them how the setup can benefit all parties. You can show them how you’ll be accountable for your tasks. We understand that all the proposal planning and discussions can be difficult. However, once your request has been approved, you’ll be thankful that you went to the trouble.