Use These 5 Tips to Convince Your Boss
By Yvonne Milosevic
Thanks to the COVID-19 Delta variant, many companies have had to hit pause on a complete return to the office. But what if you’ve realized that you’d like to keep working from home indefinitely? Well, you’re in good company. A Morning Consult survey found that 87% of workers want the flexibility to work remotely sometimes. Likewise, one in three workers said they wouldn’t want to work for an employer who required them to be onsite full time. Meanwhile, a Harvard Business School Online poll revealed that 27% of employees hope to work from home permanently.
Whether your goal is to stay 100% remote or come up with a hybrid arrangement, use these five tips to convince your boss that working from home will serve you both.
Tip #1 Explain how it benefits your employer.
Your boss may already be well aware of the advantages of remote work. After all, many of us have had 18+ months of practice by now. Here are some easy selling points to have in your back pocket. First, remote employees use fewer sick days. Absenteeism shrinks when you can continue working from home even if you feel under the weather because you can take rest breaks as needed. Also, you won’t have to request time off for personal appointments if you can schedule your workday around them.
Next, there’s the productivity boost. One Stanford study of 16,000 workers over nine months found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. Another study found that remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts. That adds up to more than three additional weeks of work per year!
Tip #2 Be just as responsive when working from home.
A significant concern for many managers is whether they will be able to get hold of you when you’re no longer just down the hall. Assure your boss that you’ll continue to be as responsive as ever during business hours. Keep your shared calendar updated, so coworkers know whether you’re free, in a meeting, or at lunch.
Make every effort to show up for Zoom meetings, conference calls, or other group endeavors. And here’s a pro tip: Start the day answering those important emails to show that you’re already “on the job” while your onsite colleagues are still slogging through their morning commute.
Tip #3 Use data to show you can continue to be successful.
“While it’s one thing to show you’ve been able to handle remote work for a few months, it’s critical to address how you plan to continue being committed, productive, and accountable within your role at the company in the future,” writes career coach Susan Peppercorn in Harvard Business Review.
That’s where the data comes in. Make a list of your successes while working from home, suggests career strategist Carlota Zimmerman in The Muse. Can you highlight things such as the number of projects you finished on time or early? How much money did you save the company? How many new clients have you landed? Any concrete wins you can point to achieving during a pandemic will bode well for your potential under “normal” circumstances, she explains.
Tip #4 Provide routine progress reports and seek feedback.
Many workplace cultures value results-based models to gauge employee accountability. To that end, share a weekly recap with your boss that focuses on progress made and quantifies performance whenever possible. That way, they know you’re working hard even though they don’t see your efforts in person.
Along those lines, try to get comprehensive feedback from your supervisor every few months. These one-on-ones give you a chance to reconnect, follow up on goals, and identify any stumbling blocks to your performance or engagement.
Tip #5 Propose a trial period.
Likely, you’ve already gone through a pandemic-induced trial run. Even so, your company may still be reluctant to approve your working from home permanently. Consider whether a hybrid arrangement that includes some days in the office and some at home is a lower-stakes ask.
Also, if you present the idea as a time-limited experiment—anywhere from a few weeks to a few months—you stand a better chance of getting them on board. Then at the end of the trial period, everyone can evaluate how it went and decide on its viability.
“There’s probably never been a better time to propose home working arrangements,” Ben Taylor, founder of an advice site for home-based workers, tells The Muse. “Employees who’ve already shown themselves to be completely effective throughout the pandemic will likely find their bosses need a very solid argument as to why the arrangements cannot continue, at least in some form. The genie is very much out of the bottle.”