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After two years of scrambling to keep up with changing corporate policy, office workers may have discovered something: You like working from home! If that’s the case, now may be the time to make a pitch for permanent work-from-home status.
Before you do, though, consider a few “pros” to working in the office. First, there’s a lot you learn from your fellow employees virtually by osmosis — overhearing conversations, watching how people work, grabbing a drink with co-workers after hours. Speaking of after-hours activity, there’s also the matter of socializing; a lot of younger office workers build their social life around workplace friendships. That’s not something to give up lightly. Finally, consider the opportunity (or lost opportunity) of schmoozing with colleagues higher up the food chain. It’s easier to catch the eye and ear of your boss when you bump into them in the hallway than it is in a Zoom meeting.
With all of that in mind, there are still compelling reasons to want to work from home. No commute, which effectively adds hours to your day. Vastly reduced costs of commuting. A more relaxed work environment. The list goes on.
So, if you’ve weighed the pros and cons and come out firmly in favor of the WFH option, then the next step is to pitch the idea to your boss or HR department. Writing for Huff Post, Monica Torres prepares a checklist to get you started.
“Research your company’s policies, if any.” Your company’s policies may be flexible — or maybe not. Find out exactly what you’re dealing with before you create a proposal. Also, think about your assumptions. Are you assuming you’ll be able to move, perhaps even out of state, and retain your job? Your company may have legal issues with employing out-of-state employees. Will the company cut your pay if you move to a town with a low cost-of-living?
“Before you convince others, be sure this is the best move for you.” See “pros and cons” above.
“Figure out what is most important to the company, and use that language in your request.” Above all, don’t make your request all about how it’s going to benefit you. Frame it in a way that makes the move beneficial to the company. That begins with finding out what matters to the company right now — a tight deadline on a big project? Cutting overall company expenses? Make your pitch in a way that helps the company achieve its goals.
“Frame it as an experiment, not a forever change.” Also mention that a trial period will allow you to gather data to see if working from home is actually benefiting the company. And don’t discount the chance that you may ultimately not like the change. This gives you a chance to reconsider gracefully.
“Be prepared to ask more than once.” Unless you’re dealing with the ultimate decision maker, you may need to make your pitch a few times while your immediate supervisor checks with their boss. Be patient.
“Make sure your performance can address concerns people commonly hold about remote work.” If you’re already working from home, you have a head start on getting approval. Consider that your boss is going to be interested in you maintaining your productivity. If you’re already working from home and doing a good job, simply document it. Make sure you don’t miss meetings and answer email promptly — and then point that out in your proposal.
Read Torres’ full article here and access links to related articles.