A lot of people are thrilled to be getting back to the downtown office, but not everyone wants to go back to work on-site full time. It’s estimated that 20% of employees worked from home before the outbreak, 71% currently work from home and 77% of employees say that continuing to work from home would make them happier.
Recognizing the trend, savvy Human Resource departments have recognized that a benefit to the company can be used as an incentive to retain existing employees and attract new talent. If you want to create a happy voice over work from home life, here’s an 8 point checklist to sort through before you begin negotiations to a hybrid or full-time situation.
#1 Make Sure It’s What You Want
Working from home is great but it can also be daunting, and at times, lonely. Social connections are important. While we’ve all just proven we can get a lot done through online meetings there is a downside. If your company’s corporate culture is centered on in-person teams or if everyone else in your department chooses to go into the office you might miss out on important meetings, milestones, and opportunities. Working from home during a pandemic may be a very different experience from working from home full time.
#2 Demonstrate Your Productivity
If you’re determined to work from home you are going to have to show how it benefits the company, so don’t let productivity drop. Until your company has a handle on this, the onus is on you to work out new systems and methods of staying up to date and in contact. I’ve found staying in contact to be of utmost importance. Quick (within an hour) communication keeps everyone connected and feeling secure.
Fair warning, don’t take high productivity goals too far. If your productivity spikes are so high that you can’t maintain it in the long term then you are either going to burn out or be seen as misrepresenting work from home benefits. Boundaries between work and home time help ward off burnout. Set them up and maintain them.
#3 Don’t Bombard Your Boss With Stats
There is a lot of advice online suggesting employers establish a pitch for working from home and then present it. While doing your research is definitely important, it would likely be best to broach the subject delicately the first time around. Test the waters. Then once there is an indication that they might be receptive, follow up with all your information and planning.
#4 Consider Your Employer’s Perspective
As convenient as working from home might be for you, it may take a lot of work to change the perspective of your employer. Consider any burden your work from home might place on them, and then come up with ways to mitigate these concerns. Working from home shouldn’t be a shift of workload, and your manager might have been quietly picking up the slack during the pandemic.
#5 Be Realistic and Start Small if You Need To
Unless there has been a clear indication that your workplace is moving to a work-from-home model, you are unlikely to get a full five-day work-from-home setup. A lot of companies are looking at hybrid (part-time at home, part-time in-office) models. Perhaps you can work from home one day a week, or work from home for half a day.
Communicate your desire, be open and flexible. Toss in a few good stats, like the Gartner survey (over 80% of leaders plan remote work teams post-pandemic) or a PwC review of over 600 CEOs, 78% of whom say remote and hybrid work options are the new normal.
#6 Don’t Just Think About Yourself
There are likely other employees in your office who need to be taken into consideration. Not everyone came out of this in love with the idea of working from home. While 80% like the idea of some form of working from home, 20% hate working from home and don’t ever want to do it again. Make the rounds and see what other employees think, how they would like to structure a system. An accountability group can help all members stay on top of their goals. Maintaining a good working relationship with colleagues is fundamental.
#7 Check Your Stats
There is a lot of information out there, and nothing is going to hinder your negotiation more than making inaccurate statements. Cite your sources, and make sure they are reputable and recent. Are they actual studies or are they opinion pieces? Use stats that are relevant to your industry and country to back up your negotiations. Owl Labs and GlobalWorkPlaceAnalytics are good sources.
#8 Go For It!
Be polite, considerate, and just ask. (and good luck!)
Have any tips for supporting the positive effects of work from home life? Feel free to share!