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What to tell your boss if you want to keep working remotely

While it hasn’t suited everyone, for some of us working from home has been the only good thing to come out of the pandemic. We’ve said goodbye to long commutes, recovered a bit of work-life balance and even found that we’re more productive, settled in the comfort of our homes with fewer distractions.

 

So, it’s only natural that people are asking if they can keep hold of these benefits, even as we all hope for a gradual return to normal.

 

If you’re in this group, what can you say to your boss to continue with WFH? We’ve gathered up some expert advice to get you prepped.

 

Focus on the benefits to the company

You can approach the meeting with a bit more confidence if you think about it as making a proposition that will work well for the company, not asking for special treatment or a favour.

Kimberly Cummings, founder of leadership development company Manifest Yourself, says you’re negotiating based on value that you offer to your team. “Think about what you’ve accomplished over the past year. Think about how you’ve proven that you’re able to work remotely,” she tells Business Insider.

Make sure you arm yourself with evidence to prove that flexible working helped you get more done. A couple of key data points are all you need.

And remember, you might be knocking at an open door: according to the OECD, 60% of managers thought their employees were more productive when working from home.

 

Understand your rights

If you’ve been working for a UK employer for 26 weeks, you have the right to request flexible working, which includes working from home. (The rules are a bit different in Northern Ireland.)

That doesn’t mean they have to say yes, but they do have to weigh up the pros and cons, meet you to discuss it and have a valid business reason for saying no.

Sarah Cook, author of Making a Success of Managing and Working Remotely, says you shouldn’t be afraid to mention the benefits to your wellbeing of working from home – that may make a difference in the “pro” column with some bosses.

“Many managers are being set targets around employee engagement, and wellbeing is an important part of this,” she tells the BBC.

 

Be prepared to compromise

Don’t be surprised if you face some pushback. Your manager’s job is to think about the potential drawbacks and plan for them.

Make sure you hear their point of view and try to think of some possible compromises beforehand. You might be able to propose a hybrid schedule, where you spend some days in the office covering the work that your boss is most concerned about. 

Ashley Stahl, a career expert at finance management company SoFi tells Fast Company: “Your manager wants to keep you happy, but they also need to potentially consult with HR or upper management. Make sure you come off as a team player, and you’re prepared to perhaps meet in the middle in some way.”

 

Suggest a trial  

The pandemic has been a difficult time for managers too – when your job is keeping track of what everyone else is doing, it’s that much harder when they’re all in different locations. So, anything you can do to make the decision less risky for them could work in your favour.

Kevin Rizer, author of a guide to working from home called Always Wear Pants, tells Forbes: “Suggesting a trial period of three to six months can be a great way to bring a reluctant boss or HR manager around to your way of looking at the prospect of you working remotely.”

Getting your boss to agree to a trial requires much less commitment from them, so it’s that much harder to say no. And then you’ve got the opportunity to show just how well the arrangement can work – for everyone.

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