Preparation is key if you want to ask your employer for remote working. Read on to learn how to negotiate this and make your case.
The remote working trend is here to stay. The number of people working remotely in the U.S. has increased by 159% since 2005, according to research by Flexjobs. In addition, 52% of companies worldwide allow remote working some of the time. With ever improving technology, that number is set to grow year on year.
The benefits for both parties are clear. Companies that support remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not. Research shows that productivity and job satisfaction increases amongst remote workers. Companies with distributed teams also enjoy reduced overheads, as they don’t have estates costs.
As my previous post shows, there are many different types of remote working arrangements. Some employers allow you to work from home for most of the time. Others need you to come into the office from time to time, for meetings.
Some employers are happy for you to work away from the office 100% of the time. The only condition is you must base yourself in the same timezone as other colleagues, or work the same timezone hours.
Negotiating remote working can be tough
Persuading your employer to let you work on the other side of the world can sometimes be difficult. It’s even harder to achieve if your company has never considered remote working before.
In this situation, it’s important to think through your approach before setting out your case. You’re attempting to change the culture of the organisation, and that can take time.
It’s worth considering whether your request is realistic. If it’s not, you can invest your valuable energy in looking for another remote role elsewhere.
How to evaluate whether a company will accept your request
1.What are the company’s policies on remote working?
Most companies have policies on flexible and remote working. Dig them out and examine them to see whether your request meets company policies. Consider the parameters within which any remote working can be undertaken. Is a full ‘work from anywhere’ arrangement permitted, or must you return to the office for a weekly meeting?
2.How valuable are you to the company? Does your employer depend upon you? Will your manager advocate on your behalf to other employees, including directors?
If you’re valuable to the company they may be more likely to consider your request. After all, they run the risk of losing you if you look for a role elsewhere.
You also want your line manager to be on your side and able to build a case to directors on your behalf.
3.Are other people in the company working remotely already?
Yes? Then you stand a greater chance of getting agreement. If not, that doesn’t mean that it’s not doable – but you need to ensure your business case (see below) is water tight.
4.What concerns might your employer have about a remote working arrangement?
Put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Can you pre-empt what concerns they might have? Then offer an arrangement which addresses these concerns?
If it’s the first time that an employee has made this request, your your manager might worry that other team members will view the arrangement as unfair. This can be tricky to manage.
There are ways of mitigating this concern, though. You could offer a trial period of remote working – say 6 months – where you work in your current home, to ‘test the water’. You would then make the bigger jump into a ‘work from anywhere’ arrangement after that.
While you work from home, you could offer to be a test bed for a new approach to remote working. For example, you could agree to measure and communicate your productivity. You could also measure whether you’ve achieved your role outcomes.
At the end of the experiment, communicate your findings to the Board, and request a new remote working policy. Your colleagues could end up valuing you for being so open about your experiment. After all, this ‘paves the way’ for them to do remote work, too.
Remember, if you have a case for effective remote working, you owe it to yourself to present that case, regardless of what other people might think.
How to prepare your proposal for remote working
So you’ve considered the above checklist and feel you may have a strong argument for remote working. Great news!
The next step is to create your business case for a remote working set up. Here’s a great article which explains how to do that.
I hope you found this blog post useful. Good luck with your request! If you have any comments, I’d love to read them.
P.S. Would you like to get a free copy of my new eBook, Become location independent over 40? Get yours here.