The telecommuting worker seems to be inevitably the norm. The number of people telecommuting to work has doubled from 2018 relative to the beginning of the pandemic.
Until we arrive in an eventual post-coronavirus world, the full-capacity, open-floor office will be obsolete. Minimal capacity, social distancing mandated work offices are the future of business.
Consider Twitter (TWTR). The social media giant recently announced that its employees can work remotely permanently, even in a post-coronavirus world.
Telecommuting work is great if you can get it. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easier to get remote work for freelancers, who aren’t entitled to benefits.
Office employees looking to convert their job to a remote position should be strategic in their negotiations. Converting to a remote position can help advance your career or make you, and your accomplishments, invisible.
It also can make life easier, or more complicated, for your boss. Here’s five tips to help you convince your boss to let you work remotely.
Justify your request
Can you explain why your job can be performed more efficiently working remotely?
Your boss has you working in-office for a reason. Don’t be too aggressive, second-guess their decision making, or unwittingly suggest they don’t know what they are doing.
Consider your boss’ potential reservations and responses to your request. Put together a short “elevator pitch” of the idea before offering a proposal.
Prep a proposal
Put together a short proposal plan of a few pages. Use data points to back up your elevator pitch request.
How will your business specifically benefit profit or efficiency-wise by having you work remotely? How would working remotely advance your position and the interests of the company?
Break down the numbers. Point-by-point, explain how working from home saves and/or makes the company more money. Besides being convenient for you, explain how working from home makes the work of in-office colleagues easier.
Think of every contingency that would work against you working remotely. Then, think about how to make this process realistically work for you.
Write a realistic proposal that will engage your boss as they read it.
Explain relocation ambitions
Want to move to a new city and retain your current job as a remote worker? That may work for you, but how does it work for your boss? Is there a new time-zone difference that must be overcome professionally?
How can you assure your boss that you won’t be late with work? Can your work be performed in another city while staying in professional sync with the in-office employees of your former city?
Have answers to these questions before you approach your boss.
Stick to schedule
Offer a detailed work schedule plan. Explain how converting your job to remote position will not disrupt the current in-office schedule.
How will you coordinate working with your in-office colleagues? How will current in-office work schedules improve with you working remotely?
Would you be willing to temporarily take a pay cut to accommodate your boss granting your request?
Think of a temporary pay cut as a proof of concept professional courtesy until you prove your effectiveness as a remote worker.
Also, if you move to somewhere cheaper, your costs will go down too.
Prepare for rejection
Don’t take a rejection personally. You can try again later. Or learn to work freelance remotely on your own time.
Still, think about it from your boss’ perspective as you negotiate. Your specific job just might not be convertible to a remote position. Worse, if you are not in-office post-coronavirus, when a vaccine is found, your job might cease to exist.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has warned that millions of jobs won’t return or will become obsolete in a post-coronavirus world.
Just wanting to work remotely for its own sake, isn’t enough. Especially if you need to bring up the subject to an indifferent or uninterested boss.
Prepare a cogent plan. Engage in negotiations professionally. And explain why you should work remotely in a realistic, data-driven manner.
For you, and your boss, a lot can go wrong. Explain how things can go right.