- Want to work remotely but haven’t yet discussed it with your manager? Here are 5 tips to get started.
- The trick is to support your request with data or proof that shows how remote working will help you work more productively.
- You need to clearly convey why allowing you to work remotely will benefit the company, not just you.
Remote work is on the rise and it is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after perks. While most employees are ready to jump at the opportunity of working remotely, not all companies and managers are equally as excited.
While the benefits of remote work have been extensively documented, there remains some stigma around this particular working practice. For starters, there is the common misconception that remote workers don’t work as much as their in-office counterparts. It is truly a misconception as reports have found that remote workers are not only more productive, but they tend to work more hours than their in-office colleagues.
There’s also the belief that remote workers are harder to reach throughout the work day, that they don’t adjust to the company culture, and that remote work can damage career growth.
Because of all of the above, managers can be skeptical about making the switch to a remote-friendly culture and allowing employees to work flexibly from home on a part- or full-time basis.
So, if you’re an office worker who would like to start working remotely at least some of the time, what can you do to convince your boss to let you work remotely?
5 Ways to Make a Strong Case for Remote Work
1. Embrace the power of data
If you want to make a strong case to persuade your boss to let you work remotely, you need to have the data to back up your claims. There is ample research out there that proves the benefits of working remotely both for employers and employees.
Make sure that you prepare a presentation or document and leave a copy with your boss to support your proposal.
Some key points include:
- Remote work increases productivity
- Remote work can lead to business savings
- Remote work can increase employee loyalty and talent retention
- Remote work can contribute to a company’s sustainability goals
- Remote work decreases absenteeism and sick days.
Here is a great compilation of recent remote work stats and figures. You should also consider having examples of successful companies that have remote work policies in place.
Pro tip: Know who you are talking to. While it can be easy to go on and on about the benefits of remote work, you need to focus your presentation and data to your audience (your boss). This means that you need to be able to clearly convey why allowing you to work remotely will benefit the company, not you.
2. Have a plan
When you go to your boss to ask for the possibility of becoming a remote worker, you need to be ready to answer any questions he or she may have. This includes questions around communication, scheduling, and security issues. Having a plan will convey the message that you have put a lot of thought into this decision.
Some key concerns that managers may have include:
- How will you set your hours?
- How will you communicate with them and your co-workers?
- How will you attend and participate in necessary meetings?
- How will you ensure the security and privacy of sensitive information?
- How will they know what you’re working on?
Make sure that you include platforms and applications that you and the company can use to regularly communicate, attend meetings, keep track of hours, and manage projects and deadlines.
3. Talk about equipment and environment
When people think about remote work, they often picture people working from a sofa in pajamas. You need to paint a clear picture of what your remote work environment will look like.
You need to assure your boss that your work environment outside of the office will be professional and will have all of the necessary equipment that you need in order to work efficiently.
Speaking about equipment, you need to make sure that you have reliable connectivity, that your network is secure, and that you have access to all of the platforms and applications that you use in your typical workday.
Pro tip: If you currently have a desktop computer in your office, you will likely need to switch to a laptop or acquire a desktop monitor for your home office. You need to clearly determine with your boss whether they will absorb the cost of new equipment or whether that needs to come out of your own pocket.
4. Suggest a trial run
Your boss may not be comfortable with the idea of you working remotely full-time from the get go, so consider starting small and suggesting a trial period. Start by asking your employer to let you work from home once a week or every two weeks, take a ‘working sick day’, or a working vacation. The goal here is to show your boss that you can be trusted and relied on even if you’re not physically in the office.
Once your boss starts warming up to the idea, increase the number of days you work remotely per week or per month.
During your trial run, make sure that you’re meeting deadlines and that the quality of your work is as good or better than when you were working from the office. Be sure to stay in constant communication with your boss and send regular updates on what you’re working on.
5. Be patient and persistent
You might not get an answer right away, and that’s fine. Just respectfully ask your boss to keep the option in mind and revisit the topic every few months. If you are turned down, then consider a different approach (like having flexible hours certain days a week or finishing a project over the weekend at home).