Thanks to digital communication improvements, people from many different fields are now able to work remotely. Yet, many employees are still dreaming of a flexible work-life balance and the ability to determine when, where and how they work. There’s just one thing stopping them: their current job.
According to the latest report from Buffer and AngeList, remote work is becoming the new normal. 82% of respondents who work remotely less than 25% of the time want to work remotely more often. Half of those who work remotely 26% to 50% of the time feel the same. The more time these workers spend working remotely, the more they tend to be content about it. The less time they spend working remotely, the more likely they are to want to do it more often.
However, too often we still look at our current situation and see no way of changing the traditional 9-5 schedule, confined to the four walls of a conventional office. You might love your job, but crave the flexible lifestyle that you know you can have.
For remote workers who want to increase the amount of time they spend working remotely, Greg Caplan, CEO of RemoteYear has specific advice. When it comes to asking for more remote work time, he says:
The key to getting permission is thoughtfully and maturely presenting the business case of your ask. The best presentations include building a clear plan for how you will get your work done well as well as a clear communications plan to stay in sync every step of the way. In a remote environment, its important to over-communicate to make sure everybody is always on the same page.
So before you start updating your resume and begin to search for a new position, have you ever considered pitching the idea of a remote position to your current employer?
If he/she doesn’t agree to let you work remotely, you won’t have lost anything by trying anyway. In fact, you’ll simply know where you’re employer stands on remote work, and that you need to start looking into new remote job options if you’re serious about making the change.
Of course, if you are determined to convince your boss to let you work remotely, there is some preparation you need to do before initiating the conversation.
Here are five top tips that will help your boss feel comfortable with the idea of you becoming a remote employee.
Choose The Right Time
If peak season or a particularly busy time is coming up, this might be the best time for you to approach your boss. Why? Many times managers will be looking for employees to put in some overtime to meet deadlines, so the argument can be made that instead of spending time commuting, you can complete extra work in a space with no distractions.
Know Your Worth and Document All Your Wins
At least three months before you talk to your manager, start documenting all of your contributions, performance results, and what you’ve been doing that benefits the team and company. If you can quantify your value to your boss, you will have greater leverage when making the argument that you will be more productive and creative while working with more autonomy.
Do Your Research
Preparation is the key to success, so come to the table with research to back up your ask, i.e. bring a list of the pros and cons of remote work, particularly when it applies to you and your company, or do some research on how companies that allow greater flexibility with their employers could help attract and retain talent (check out: 5 Tips To Hire Top Talents For Your Remote Team).
For example, a recent survey by the Society of Human Resources Management found that of those who work remotely at least a few times a month, 77% reported greater productivity while working offsite, and 30% said they accomplished more in less time. And LinkedIn data show that 51% of professionals say they are proudest to work at companies that promote work-life balance and flexibility.
By creating a well-informed case that shows how allowing you to work remotely is a win-win for both parties, you can convince your employer to grant you greater flexibility.
Suggest a Remote Work Trial Period
When you’re ready to start approaching your boss, decide on a trial time frame that works for you based on your job and workload (one month, three months, six months, etc.) and ask what they think. Giving your employer an alternative to an all-or-nothing proposition makes it a lot easier for them to say yes.
Put Your Employer’s Interests First and Be Flexible
Before introducing the subject of remote work to your boss, you need to be ready to explain how personal benefits – flexible work schedule, work-life balance, less time commuting, a more relaxed job environment, etc. – will translate into benefits for your employer.
Think about the “why” of why you want to go remote, and focus on how your “why” will help the company. By digging deep into your motivation for moving to remote work, you’ll also be able to anticipate concerns your employer might have and respond to them proactively.
Finally, let your boss know that you’re flexible and open to compromise. For example, you could agree on something like sending a full report of what you plan to do and accomplish every week on Monday. Or you could offer to come in for face-to-face meetings throughout the week, perhaps moving it to regular video calls once your boss becomes more accustomed to the idea of remote work. Accommodating your employer when asking for a remote arrangement is critical, especially at the beginning or during your trial period.
These are some of the top tips that we hope will help you to present your case for remote work to your current employer. If your manager is open to trying it out, congratulations!
You now just need to make sure to keep yourself organised and productive, so that your boss will let you transition into even more remote and flexible work overtime.
How to Show You’re Productive When Working Remotely
So you finally got what you wanted and are officially a remote worker! That’s great, but don’t think you can relax now. Your boss will probably keep a close eye on you and monitoring your performance at work, especially for the first few months of the trial period.
In fact, you might find it difficult at first to show your work ethics and qualities haven’t suffered from the change, considering the new distance barrier. Several employers are skeptical about having their employees work from home since they cannot be sure how they use their time. It saddles you with the responsibility of proving your worth when you work from home.
Working from home can put a lot of pressure on you considering the number of possible distractions, demand to deliver on works and projects, limited resources, and, lastly, the pressure to keep up with work standards. It becomes worse when people undermine your hard work simply because your workspace is a few steps away from your bedroom!
Read also: How to set up a home office.
While it might require a lot of conscious effort to show productivity as a remote worker, this is not an impossible task.
Here are a few practical steps to take to show you are productive while working remotely.
How to Show You’re Productive When Working Remotely
- Do Not Take Extra Tasks to Prove Your Efficiency
While the thought of taking more jobs might be enticing at first, especially to your employer who wants to make the best out of your time, you will soon realize that the quality of jobs you do matters as much as the quantity. Taking more tasks might lead to a drastic reduction in the standard of jobs done, and this might translate to a decrease in productivity, which you are trying to avoid. Rather than burden yourself with extra tasks, spend your time wisely in getting your jobs done to perfection.
- Do Not Readily Take Up Jobs with Tight Deadlines
When trying to impress your supervisor (or a client) you should also be realistic with the possibility of getting a job done. It’s best to turn down a job if you know you cannot deliver on the deadline.
Taking up such tasks only to miss the deadline will do no good in showing you are productive. Only take jobs with enough time to deliver except when the situation truly calls for otherwise.
- Never Bite More Than You Can Chew
It is common for people who work remotely to want to bite more than they can chew because often they have a payment pattern that commensurates with the amount of work done. But having so many uncompleted tasks piling up is bad for your productivity (and mental sanity), so you should avoid multitasking and finish up a task before taking up another as much as possible.
- It’s okay to Say No
Many employees working from home have not learned how to say no without standing the risk of insubordination. You do not have to say yes to everything, either out of fear or willingness to make your boss happy. You can always say no if their demand is unrealistic. Remember, you get to do the job, not them.
- Never Miss a Deadline
Missing deadlines are the greatest signs of unproductivity. If you have to take all precautions rightly, you should never miss a deadline no matter what. Always deliver projects on time.
- Be Highly Responsive and Available
When you are not in physical contact with your employer, the greatest threat to work progress will be that you are unavailable, and communication is impaired. Always make sure that you respond in time, and you can always be reached.
- Give Updates: Be Accountable
It would help if you carried your employer along all the way. Show them your work progress; this reassures them that you are working and not on personal errands. It is advisable to deliver your bulk projects in batches as it is a way to stay accountable and ensure steady work progress.
- Make Your Works Accessible
Knowing fully well that you are not in physical contact with your boss or employer, you need to make all of your works accessible. You do not want to turn in a project that is unreadable or inaccessible. Try for example to unzip files to improve accessibility. Also, make sure you have a properly ordered job with a guide if possible since you will not be there in person to explain what you’ve done.
Generally speaking, the quality of your job proves your worth and productivity. Every employer wants to work with someone who can work independently with minimal stress, delivering on jobs efficiently.
Be this worker, so that your productivity will never be questioned and you will work happily and remotely for a long time!