With technology taking center stage in almost every sector of the economy, working online is now a real possibility for many. Unfortunately however, the traditional 9-5 has been going on since the industrial era, so your boss may be apprehensive to changing the status quo, even though the freedom will benefit them too. But, with gradual steps, and small hints over time to the benefits of remote working, it could be possible to free yourself from the office, and that coworker that nobody in the office likes…
So, what’s the plan?
It’s pretty much impossible to convince your boss to allow remote work, if your productivity isn’t up to par. How could they trust you to get work done unsupervised, if you can’t be productive in the office?
Demonstrate to your boss that you’re passionate about the company and contributing to its goals. Don’t aim for acceptable, aim for extraordinary. Finish tasks early, pitch creative ideas during meetings, and pull some overtime if it will help out.
Show your boss that they can count on you, and they’ll have no doubt of your work ethic in or out of the workplace.
Do your research
Does any in your company already work from home, even if just for one day per week? If so, talk to them and ask how open their boss was to the idea and how they negotiated for it. Then borrow those arguments for your own proposal.
And before confronting your boss with the proposal, make sure your job is suitable for remote work. If it is not the easiest transition, come up with ways to make it possible, whether it be replacing some meetings with teleconferences, or changing some paper-based processes to electronic ones.
Make sure you have all your ducks in a row, so that when it comes time to popping the question you appear confident and well informed, and can show your boss that this will work.
Present the benefits
Many companies that have become flexible with work arrangements are reporting higher productivity, reduced overhead and a rise in employee loyalty.
So, if the facts are on your side, why not use them?
Timing is everything
Know when and how to approach your boss for this talk. Well researched arguments will remain just that, if your boss is not in the mood to consider your proposal.
The best time to propose anything is right after lunch. In the morning, people feel crabby and would rather still be in bed, and in the afternoon, people are starting to feel tried. But right after lunch, your bosses belly will be full, and they’d have had a chance to unwind, so they should be more receptive to new ideas.
Start small and proposal a trial run
Once you’ve got a plan in place and are in good standing with the company, start small by suggesting only one or two days of remote work per week. And make the proposal easier by suggesting a trial run to see how things go.
People like homeostasis and are naturally apprehensive to change. But by being gradual you’re removing risk, making the decision easier for your boss.
Suggesting days like Tuesday through Thursday will help sell your idea, since it does not present you as being interested in extending your weekends.
Give your boss some time to think
Naturally your boss will need some time to see the feasibility of your proposal and will most likely do their own research about remote working. Give them some time to consider and wait for them to make the next move. Following up or hassling them could lead to an instant no or might change their emotions towards your idea.
Don’t be a stranger
If your boss is on board with the idea don’t become a stranger to the company. Let your presence in the company be felt on your remote work days.
Stay communicative over email for small questions, but pick up the phone if anything requires a discussion. Back and forth emailing slows things down and will make you seem like an alien, but phone calls will keep you humanized and promote active discussion.If you’re doing your job and staying in contact, your coworkers will feel like you’re a part of the team, regardless of where you’re working from.
If things go well…
If you do everything right your boss will be very happy with your new work arrangement, and happy that they could keep you happy. This will open discussion for increase your remote work days, or even going completely remote. Don’t shift the goal posts too quickly though. Wait a few months for your new work situation to become the new norm, and then you can try taking things further.