Working remotely isn’t an entirely new concept. According to a study by the International Workplace Group, 70% of professionals around the globe work flexibly at least one day each week. It’s also no surprise to hear of someone who’s doing this full time.
So if your company is one of those that have adopted remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering how you can ask for more remote work days when things begin to shift back to normal.
Keep reading to see the current state of remote work, then how you can use this information to help you ask your boss for more remote work days even after social distancing and quarantine becomes a thing of the past.
The Current Remote Work Situation
Employers have to be agile in responding to this pandemic, and one of the solutions to keep their employees working and help their companies stay afloat is by enforcing work from home policies.
Gallup Panel data claims that in just three weeks during the lockdown, the percentage of employees working from home doubled from 31% to 62%.
We can now see the work from home trends take off in a number of companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Square, and Shopify among others.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, even allowed his employees to work from home “forever.” If anything, this shows us how top executives are preparing for the future of work. Could working from home be a permanent setup for many professionals in the years to come?
We also know how employees themselves feel about working remotely. In a recent study, three in five U.S. workers prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible once restrictions on business and school closures are lifted.
Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, estimates that 25% to 30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. It is also predicted that the longer people are required to work from home, the more likely they’d be to adopt this new arrangement.
However, even if remote work is increasingly becoming more common nowadays, sometimes it’s still up to the employees to advocate for it. How can you make sure you’re part of that 25% to 30%?
We recommend bringing it up to your employer, so make sure to follow these helpful tips below to make a good case.
5 Tips to Ask for More Remote Work Days after COVID-19 Restrictions are Lifted
Arm yourself with the facts
The most effective thing to help you in your goal to work more remote days are the facts to prove that working remotely is actually good for you as the employee and for the company as a whole. Help build your case to your boss by understanding the landscape of remote work in your industry.
Luckily, there are already a number of sources online that show the benefits of working from home. Gallup and Flexjobs are two resources you could read up on in preparing a negotiation with your employer.
Here are some of the positive outcomes of working remotely:
- Increases employee engagement: Engagement is key in driving performance. A study shows that an optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60% to 80% of their time working off-site, which is about three to four days in a five-day workweek.
- Positive environmental impact: When more people work from home, fewer greenhouse gases are emitted in the environment and they are more likely to make environmentally sound choices—opting to use less paper and monitoring their air conditioning.
- Better work-life balance: When remote work comes with flexible schedules, employees have more control of their time which usually leads to stronger outcomes. With this, they are able to attend to the needs of their personal life.
- Less commute stress: According to the United States Census Bureau, people spend about 100 hours commuting and 41 hours stuck in traffic every year. The amount of time wasted on the road is amplified by the increased level of stress and anxiety that comes with spending more than 30 minutes in one-way commuting. Thus, not having to commute when you work remotely has positive impacts on both your physical and mental health.
- Increased money savings for the employee and the company: Employees who work from home can save $2,000 up to $6,500 a year. This is because expenses like commute fares, gas, parking fees, lunch outs, and others that are usually required when you have to report to work every single day are eliminated. On the other hand, companies can save around $11,000 per year for every employee as overhead costs, operational costs, transit subsidies, and the like are minimized.
- Happier and healthier work life: Overall, working from home has proven to promote a happier and healthier work life as employees are able to control their time according to how they want it.
Having information like this can help show your employer that working remotely has had documented, research-based positive impacts on companies, employees, and even to the environment.
Use yourself as a case study
After showing the facts, you can actually use yourself as an example. How was your performance during the remote work period?
Global Workplace Analytics mentions that one of the biggest holdbacks of remote work is trust—it’s hard for managers to trust their people to work untethered. If your employer doesn’t trust you now, then it could be very difficult to build your case.
You can help build that trust by being a top performer, especially while working remotely. It’s best that you analyze your work performance first before you negotiate with your employer.
Some questions you should consider are the following:
- Have you had any remarkable work accomplishments during the remote work period?
- Have you received positive feedback from your co-workers?
- How productive were you at home/working remotely compared to when you’re in the office?
- How were you able to build or sustain your rapport with your co-workers and clients?
If your answers to these questions put you in a good light, then make sure you take note of these when you talk to your boss. However, if you think you still need to improve on your performance, then use this time as an opportunity for the future.
Get colleagues involved
The testimonies of your fellow colleagues can support your request.
If they, too, think that working remotely can both help themselves and the company, then invite them to pitch in to the plan. They might have positive experiences of their own while working from home that could help strengthen your case.
Put together a plan
Ultimately, your goal should be to address any potential challenges of working from home. Given this, it’s best to anticipate any questions or concerns your employer might have.
Put yourself in your employer’s shoes and ask yourself: how can I assure my boss that I could work just as well—if not, better—working remotely?
Here are things to help you flesh out your plan:
1. Proposed remote work schedule
Detail the remote work schedule you prefer. Also, talk about how you’ll be able to attend regular meetings remotely. However, make sure to assure your employer that you’ll be present in-house when needed.
2. Your digital tools for project management and security
Since your boss won’t be there to closely monitor you, assure them that you have the tools to remain in constant communication with your team. Aside from this, you can build up your case by mentioning all the tools you intend to use to support your remote workdays.
Project Management Tools
- Slack: Slack is a business communication platform that allows you to chat with your colleagues in channels that you can organize per topic.
- Zoom: Zoom is a cloud-based, peer-to-peer software platform that’s used for telecommuting, teleconferencing, distance education, and social relations.
- G Suite: G Suite is composed of a variety of collaborative cloud-based tools such as Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, and other essentials you need for remote productivity.
- Norton: Norton provides individuals and companies with firewalls, which helps keep you and your company safe while working from home. It essentially works by filtering traffic and blocking out external parties or websites from accessing information and data from your work computers.
- Surfshark: Surfshark is a secure VPN service that helps protect your online data. To assure your boss that you intend to take remote work seriously and with great caution, you may propose an affordable company VPN plan to make sure you’re accessing even sensitive company data securely.
- ZenDesk: ZenDesk is an omnichannel customer experience software that helps you provide more streamlined support for your customers without adding more stress to your team. Especially when you’re unable to solve in-person customer or client concerns, software like this can help your company manage customer support from anywhere.
- Weave: Come extra prepared by proposing business texting tools like Weave to ease your employer’s mind about how to manage customer service remotely. Business texting tools allow you to talk to your clients or customers as long as you have your phone with you.
3. Schedule of remote work rotation with colleagues
What’s an effective work rotation that’s best for everyone? Make sure to detail the reasons how and why this schedule can help you and your colleagues be more productive at home.
4. How you can contribute to your company’s culture even remotely.
Discuss plans on how you can still contribute to your company’s culture while working away from the office. How will you apply the core values of your company while working remotely? Give concrete examples of how you can showcase these values even when communicating with colleagues and clients or customers online.
5. Offer a trial run
If working remotely is a new territory for your company, you could offer a trial period to help your employer ease into the idea. A moderate schedule such as working remotely one or two days a week could be a great way to start.
Have a conversation
Once you’ve prepared everything, now’s the time to have that conversation with your employer.
When the time comes, make sure you bring up your request face to face or via video call. Armed with your research and prep work, try to lead the conversation to show your boss that you came equipped.
Begin by sharing your desire to work remotely, which should heavily be supported by the benefits it could give to the company and to yourself.
Talk about successful projects you’ve completed or led during the remote work period. Make sure you state concrete examples that are backed up by numbers, facts, or testimonies from your colleagues.
Lastly, make your request as specific and as clear as possible. Make it a conversation, not a demand.
Working remotely can be a permanent or more-frequent reality for you post-pandemic. Don’t be discouraged if your employer denies your requests for more remote work days at first, but be sure to make these requests with as much information and preparation as you can.