As the coronavirus pandemic continues, companies are taking a variety of approaches to employment. Some organizations are pushing to end the work-from-home arrangements that they had allowed employees to use during the initial months of COVID-19. Yet other organizations—including some major Fortune 500 companies such as Facebook and Twitter—have made groundbreaking announcements about their long-term remote work plans and to increase their virtual ranks permanently.
Many employees are happy about this latter trend, since while working at home during the initial months of the pandemic, they have adjusted to this new normal of remote work and want to keep going with it.
In fact, a new study from Global Workplace Analytics administered to nearly 3,000 employees between March 30 and April 24, 2020 found that in the wake of the coronavirus, more than three quarters of employees (77%) say they would like to continue working from home at least once a week. Furthermore, a recent IBM survey found that 54% of employees would prefer to primarily work remotely.
In addition to enjoying working remotely, many employees don’t want to go back to the office because they are concerned about their safety, given the potential for exposure to COVID-19. Research from Eagle Hill Consulting conducted in April 2020 found that out of 1,000 respondents from a random sample of U.S. employees, more than half (54 percent) are worried about workplace exposure to the coronavirus.
Are you among the many employees who would like to work from home permanently but aren’t sure how to get agreement from your boss? Chief Transparency Officer Moe Vela—of remote workforce management firm TransparentBusiness—believes that employees should be able to ask their employer to add a remote work option as a new employee benefit for their company.
Consider these five tips from Vela on how to ask your employer to extend your current work-from-home arrangement to make remote work a permanent benefit, and help your organization understand the value of the virtual new normal.
Think Through the Logistics
“If you want your boss to take your proposal seriously, make sure you’ve got all the details worked out before you bring it up,” Vela advised.
As examples, Vela suggested giving advance thought to points you might make to convince your supervisor about why your work-from-home plan has a strong chance of succeeding based on your at-home workspace, noting details such as: “I have a designated space at my home, I have demonstrated that I’m self-disciplined, I’m willing to use remote workforce software to be held accountable, etc.”
Come to the Table With Facts
In addition to showing that you’ve committed to a proper work-from-home setups, it’s important to show your boss about how having you keep working from home can help the company’s bottom line.
“Explain how working remotely benefits your company and your boss—i.e., it saves the employer on the average of $11,000 per employee per year, less absenteeism, healthier workforce, happier workforce, better work-life balance, more time with family, more time for self-care, less commercial office space rent and office-related expenses, etc.,” said Vela.
Furthermore, come to the table with data about wins that you accumulated while working from home during the pandemic. Considering long-term remote work isn’t something that most companies planned on doing at the beginning of the year, ease any potential worries and speak with metrics that support your case and demonstrate improved outcomes.
Furthermore, you’ll want to discuss how you’ve successfully collaborated with coworkers during this time. Do you have (efficient) recurring meetings with peers to provide project updates? Have you still hit deadlines? Are clients happy?
Highlight Increased Performance Level
“Every study shows that a remote workforce is a more productive workforce,” emphasized Vela. She also suggested making points to your boss about how certain technologies can increase work-from-home benefits still further.
“If you use existing technology like video conferencing, file sharing, and remote workforce management software, efficiencies improve and accountability and transparency improve all while respecting the privacy of the employee,” Vela said.
Determine the Best Ask
If you’re feeling nervous and not completely confident about requesting to have your remote arrangement extended, then you may end up waffling and requesting to have just part of your time as work from home. But Vela explained that if you seek a hybrid solution—some days remote and some days in-office—you are in essence weakening your argument on the savings to your employer.
“The ultimate argument to the employer is that if they use technology to monitor and coordinate, the need for commercial office space will be stricken from their expenses and save them lots of money, all while productivity, efficiency, cohesion, morale, and client/customer service all improve in a remote workforce model,” he said.
Be Clear About How Your Role Can Be Performed
While some employers try to fall back on the general argument that all work can be better performed in an office, the fact is that certain types of work lend themselves to remote work. For example, Vela pointed out that any computer-based work is very conducive to a remote work model—so if your job can actually be done better from home, then specify this, explaining clearly why your role is well suited to remote work, and showing exactly how it can be done.
Vela added that telling your boss about the proven benefits of remote work can help seal the deal: “WFH means less distractions, more flexibility, less monotony, more focused, more productive, etc.,” Vela said. “Studies show that remote workers ‘go the extra mile’ and actually work more diligently and longer hours because they are so happy with the benefits of the model.”
Permanently Working Remotely
Not all companies will embrace remote work in the future, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try if you believe (and can objectively prove) that it’s the best situation for your role and the company.
And you’re interested in companies that have already committed to remote work, we can help!
By Robin Madell | June 24, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely
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