You've loved your taste of working remotely. Now what?
The COVID-19 crisis has most people working from home ‒ some, for the first time ever. Whilst everyone struggles to adjust to new circumstances, some professionals are finding themselves flourishing under this new arrangement.
If you've found that working remotely has been working well for you, maybe you'd like to keep that arrangement in place, whether it's full-time or just one or two days a week. So how can you convince your boss to allow it?
There's still no way to tell when things are going to go back to normal, or even what 'normal' is going to mean once we've got through the current crisis. However, if you want your new normal to include working from home, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting your boss to agree.
Be on top of your game
You probably know this already, but it's worth the reminder: If you're a top performer, you're more likely to get a favourable answer when you ask for something. That's especially true when you're asking for a change in your working arrangements.
If the time you've spent working from home has been just as productive ‒ or, even better, more productive than ever ‒ that's the best place to be when you make your request.
Being a top performer means you know your role inside and out, and you have a positive, productive rapport with the people with whom you work. That's difficult to replace, which is why employers want to keep valuable people happy.
If your output has suffered whilst working from home, that's more than understandable ‒ these have been hard times, and for some, they've been harder than others. It just means you should take time to consider if working from home long-term is the right thing for you. If you still decide that it is, assess what you need to do to make it work based on your recent experience.
Be open about what you want
If your reasons for wanting to work from home are personal, you might feel a bit uncomfortable sharing that with your boss. There's nothing wrong with being open about what you want, though, so long as you remain professional.
If you're upfront about your reasons for wanting to work remotely, not only does it show you've thought about the prospect seriously, but it also means you can have a proper discussion about it with your employer. They know what you want and why, and they can work with you to make it happen, or to find some acceptable compromise that still fits your needs.
Be ready to sell the benefits
Being open about what you want is just one side of the coin. You also need to be ready to sell what you're asking for by explaining its benefits to the business.
No matter how nice your boss is or how friendly you are with them, they're not there to be your buddy and to give you whatever you want. They have a job to do too, and a responsibility to the business.
To make your case, you can draw on your recent experience of working from home. Have you been more productive whilst you've been working remotely? Has the time you've saved on your commute allowed you to study, bringing more value to the business? Take the time to go over things before you make your request so you can really highlight your successes.
Make sure you have the facts ready to back yourself up, too. Have solid examples you can present and practical outcomes you can point to which demonstrate the benefits of what you're asking for.
Be prepared to succeed
There's an old saying that you should hope for the best and plan for the worst. Well, what about hoping for the best and planning for the best, too? If you get your wish, you're going to need to know how to excel right away. Having a plan together before you even ask will only help your chances.
That means thinking things through and being able to prove that you've done so. Think about what concerns might arise around your working from home, and consider how you'll handle them. For instance, your employer might be concerned about ongoing accountability, how you'll maintain communication and how you'll handle any tech issues or unexpected problems. You want to show that you've considered the possible pitfalls and that you've got a plan to handle them.
Be confident and willing to compromise
This is good advice no matter what you're asking for. Being confident means knowing what you want and why it will be a benefit to everyone involved. Being willing to compromise is essential if you're going to negotiate for anything, including changed work arrangements.
If you're finding it hard to find the confidence to ask to work from home, that might be a sign you need to go over things again. Do you know exactly what you're asking for and what the benefits will be for the business? Have you considered the problems that might arise and how you can handle them? Do you have examples that can back everything up?
When you can answer 'yes' to these questions, then you can be confident in asking for what you want. With confidence comes flexibility, too, so if necessary, you can accommodate your employer's needs and tactfully compromise to get the best outcome for everyone involved.
When we get through the current crisis, the new normal will be what we make it ‒ and the only way to get what you want is to ask for it. There are few guarantees in life, of course. Your employer may have good reasons for declining your request or needing to come to some compromise. But by sticking to these tips, you'll be in a better position to make working remotely a staple in your regular life.
If working from home has been working for you, then make your case. After all, you've got the evidence of your experience to back it up.
If you've decided to take the leap and search for a fully work-from-home job, you'll need a CV that sets you up for success. See how yours stacks up with a free CV critique.