For years there have been discussions about the merits of working from home, both the side of the employer and the employee.
When March hit, however, it turned remote work from a theoretical discussion to a widespread reality for many.
How to Negotiate Permanent Work From Home
With the coronavirus leading to shutdowns of non-essential businesses, more Americans were working from home than ever before.
Now, some employers are calling employees back into the office, but you might have different plans. You may be worried about your health, or you may have found that you were more productive working remotely. It may have also provided you better balance in your life to work from home versus commuting to an office.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to continue telecommuting, the following are some things you can do to negotiate a permanent work from home situation.
Are You Sure This Is What You Want for the Long-Term?
Before you start negotiating, ensure that you do want to work from home for the foreseeable future. Sure, there are advantages, but there are also downsides you have to consider.
How do you feel about your level of engagement and productivity when you’re working from home? For some people, working alone without the distractions of a traditional office environment are advantageous, but for others, they need that connection to the office to keep them on track.
How will your decision affect everyone in your household?
If you have kids, and particularly if they’re doing virtual school right now, this might be the only option for them.
You need to be honest with yourself about how well your role might translate to you permanently working from home.
For example, it could be that certain responsibilities were pushed aside during COVID-19 out of necessity, and that made it easier to work from home than it would have been otherwise. Your boss might not be willing to let you continue not doing certain components of your job now.
Be Prepared to Outline the Benefits to Your Employer
Try to outline some specific problems and then show how you working from home permanently would solve those problems.
Do your research and make sure that you’re presenting a mutually beneficial arrangement rather than something skewed toward yourself.
Before you go to your boss with your proposal, you need to know what the current policies are for working remotely. There may already be a formalized work-from-home policy that you aren’t aware of.
If there’s not, you should research the main competitors of your employers and see what they offer.
Make Sure Your Performance Was Strong When You Were Working from Home
If you’ve been working from home during coronavirus, you need to have a strong record of performance to convince your boss of anything. If your work was lackluster over the past few months, you’re not in a strong negotiating position to convince your employer to continue that arrangement.
When you’re going into negotiations, you need to be able to highlight what you accomplished clearly and show how working from home helped you better achieve those.
While you’re compiling your research to bring to your boss, make sure you’re showing just how productive you are at home. Be responsive to all emails and messages, not just from your boss but your colleagues.
Be present when you’re in video meetings, and know that you’re going to have to show your worth while working from home rather than just telling about it.
Show How You’ll Stay Culturally Connected
Employers are very focused on corporate culture, and it’s one of the toughest things to retain if you have a dispersed, remote workforce.
Think about the less obvious ramifications of working from home, such as losing that cultural connection, and how you can creatively overcome the hurdles.
For example, how will you use team chat apps and other instant messaging platforms to remain connected?
Do you have creative ideas to make sure that you remain part of the team?
Finally, be prepared for questions your boss is likely to have for you.
For example, your boss might ask how they will track your productivity and know that you’re working, and how you’ll stay socially connected to your team.
You have to be prepared to get a no, but the more research you do and the more ready you are to answer tough questions, the more likely you are going to be able to negotiate a permanent work-from-home position.