Working from home comes with numerous advantages, and employees from all different industries have experienced these firsthand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If you’ve found working remotely beneficial and are reluctant to return to the office, it’s worth investigating whether you could make the change a permanent one.
Show Your Boss How Well Prepared You Are
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people around the world have been forced to work from home with little or no time to prepare. This led to people working in unsustainable environments, such as from their kitchen tables.
However, slowly, many employees have made changes to their homes to make them more conducive to productive work, from investing in ergonomic seating to installing office blinds to reduce glare on the computer screen. Showing your boss both you and your home are prepared for working from home over the long term will give them more confidence to take that leap and allow you to.
Track Your Productivity
As much as your company may be concerned about your wellbeing, ultimately they are more concerned with your productivity and how this impacts their bottom line. A huge part of convincing your boss you should work from home is showing them in clear, indisputable terms how much more productive you are working from home than at the office.
People who are skeptical about the benefits of working from home claim there are too many distractions at home for employees to be as productive as they would be in the office; however, a 2020 study by the Boston Consultant Group found 75 percent of people who work remotely do so because there are fewer distractions.
Although you may know you’re more productive at home, you need to provide them with hard evidence to prove this to your boss. One of the best ways to do this is by using a productivity tracking tool, such as RescueTime, and showing your boss the data.
Be the Model Employee
Some employers worry employees may use working from home as an excuse to slack off or that communication between the workforce will suffer as a result of remote working. If you want to persuade your boss to let you work from home permanently, you need to show them this isn’t the case.
Keep on top of all your emails and meeting invitations, responding as swiftly as possible so your boss knows you are available and efficient. Some employees don’t take online meetings as seriously as in-person ones and arrive late and look unprofessional. Make a point of always being on time and actively participating.
If your boss is reluctant to allow your team to continue working remotely, it may be because they are unaware of some of the excellent tools to improve workforce communication. Introduce them to programs, such as Slack, and explain how they can be used to effectively keep in touch with the team wherever they are.
Make Your Achievements Known
The time you’ve been working at home due to the pandemic has been a type of audition or trial period for long-term remote work. To prove it has been a success, you need to present your boss with some cold, hard data.
Keep a written record of all your achievements during this time, such as the clients you’ve won, the money you’ve saved the company or the positive feedback you’ve received. It can feel awkward to boast about your accomplishments, but having tangible evidence can add weight to your case.
When compiling your list of successes, point out to your boss they were achieved despite the adverse circumstances. Working during a pandemic is difficult, especially if you are also juggling childcare. Post-pandemic remote working will be much easier, so if you can show your boss how well you’ve coped in the hardest of times, they can have positive expectations for your future work.
Bring the Subject Up Early
If your boss intends for the team to return to the office, they will be making plans well in advance. If you spring the idea of working from home permanently on them, you might not get the answer you are hoping for.
Instead, plant the seed early by mentioning how much you benefit from the new system and doing some subtle investigation into whether the company is considering making remote work a permanent fixture. When the time comes to officially state your preference not to return to the office, your boss won’t be taken by surprise and will have a clear understanding of why you would rather continue working from home.
Anticipate Your Boss’s Concerns
When you meet with your boss to express your desire to work remotely on a long-term basis, you should be as prepared as possible. Spend some time preparing your argument and anticipating what their questions and concerns may be and how you will address them. If your boss sees you are caught off-guard or seem ill-prepared, they will be much less likely to agree to your proposal.
Make a list of questions they will probably ask, such as “How will I keep track of your work?” and “How will you maintain strong relationships with the team?,” and prepare well-thought-out answers, such as making your schedule and deliverables digitally accessible. It will be much harder for your boss to say no if you can address all their concerns effectively.
Propose a Compromise
Your boss may not be happy for you to work from home over the long term, and they might have valid reasons for that, in which case you could propose a compromise that suits you both, such as working remotely a few days a week.
Your boss may also be concerned other members of staff who are less prepared than you for remote working will insist on following your lead. In this case, you could offer to run a professional development event about working from home. You can share whatever advice you think would help your colleagues, from how to improve their productivity at home to where to purchase inexpensive window blinds for their home office. Your team will probably be delighted to hear all your tips.
Be Prepared to Discuss Why WFH Benefits the Company
Your boss ultimately wants the best results from their employees, and if you can show them, for you, that means working from home, they will be much more open to the prospect of long-term remote work. Take time to prepare your proposal well and address their concerns head-on.