A large portion of the workforce got a taste of remote work in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
While some companies have slowly reopened, and others are hoping to reopen at some point in 2021, undoubtedly there’s going to be some professionals who are going to want to continue working from home, maybe even permanently.
Whether or not an employee is allowed to work from home permanently ultimately comes down to company policy and the responsibilities of the position. However, if you’re considering having a conversation with your boss about working from home, you need to approach this conversation seriously and with a strong case for why you should be allowed to continue working from home.
Here are some things to focus on as you prepare for this conversation:
Talk About Productivity
If you’re meeting your job responsibilities and then some, while helping the company grow its bottom line, and you’re doing this from the comfort of home, that’s the strongest case you could make.
It always comes down to productivity, and it’s possible that if you’re a strong enough performer, your boss won’t be too concerned about whether you’re doing the work from home or the office.
If you’ve been working from home the past few months because of COVID-19 or have any other remote work experience, you’re fortunate in the fact that you’ll be able to have concrete examples of what your work from home production looks like. Be prepared with specific examples of how you not only met production goals, but exceeded them.
It’s very similar to a job interview where you’re using specific examples to sell your skills as an employer. In this case, you’re trying to sell yourself as an amazing remote worker.
Work Out An Agreeable Schedule
While the reasons employees want to work from home may vary, schedule flexibility is usually near the top. But, schedule flexibility only works if all parties are on board and trust each other.
Propose a strong communication plan to your manager where you can communicate on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis on what hours you’ll be working and how you can be reached.
You also need to remember that flexibility works both ways.
There could be occasions when your manager needs you to be available during certain hours, or may even need you to come into the office for a company-wide meeting or initiative.
For a remote work schedule to work, both sides should be open to some give and take.
Be Seen And Heard
Working remotely doesn’t mean you should be out of sight, out of mind.
It’s important to stress to your manager that you won’t become disconnected from the workforce by working from home.
It’s up to you to work with your coworkers to develop an effective routine. This could include planning out how many video meetings you think you’ll need to have on a weekly basis with co-workers and supervisors to discuss tasks, long-term projects, and strategy.
While communication flow may change on a weekly basis, a good rule of thumb is to never go a day without talking to someone.
Continue To Add Value
Proving your productivity is one thing, but if you can propose another way to offer value to the workforce while working from home, this will only strengthen your case to the boss.
For example, maybe the company is considering expanding its remote work offerings but needs help putting together more comprehensive policies. As someone championing remote work, you could offer to help in those efforts. Or, you can pitch ideas on how to promote camaraderie within the company’s remote workforce and between the remote workforce and the office.
As a boss, it’s a lot easier to let an employee work from home if you know they’re going to remain engaged in the workforce.
If your boss ultimately decides to let you work from home, it’s important to remain open-minded. Your work from home plans may hit some speed bumps along the way, so you need to be willing to make adjustments along the way. What you learn can also be important lessons for the company.
You may also find that over a longer period of time, working from home permanently isn’t the right fit for you. That doesn’t mean you were wrong for trying it. Every unique experience helps you grow as an employee.
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