Working remotely preceded the Covid-19 pandemic and, as a global trend, it is here to stay. While your company may not be implementing long term remote working strategies, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. To make a successful pitch to your managers, you will need to develop an airtight case showing why and how this would work.
As a remote-first company ourselves, we know that remote working brings out the best and the more challenging qualities of a company. That said, if you plan ahead, you can definitely overcome these hurdles.
You will need to do extensive research and come prepared for a range of questions and concerns. Your employers may be sceptical, so you need to be able to convince them. Even if they say no the first time around, that’s okay too. You may be the first one to ask and that will plant the seed for future remote working structures. We’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to approach your employers to work remotely.
What do I need to work remotely?
First, you will need to know what you will need for effective remote working. You will need to consider things like:
- Access - for example, does your company have a VPN?
- Technology - is your home office sufficiently outfitted for remote working?
- Communication Tools - how will you communicate with your team?
- Support Culture - how can you get help when you need it when working asynchronously?
- Professional Development - how can you access skills training?
If you or your company don’t have the right equipment and technology in place already, you will have to account for this in your plan.
Check for industry standards to understand what the norms are. This can help you evaluate whether homeworking, full-time or as a hybrid mode, is feasible within your line of work. Your research needs to be thorough. Compile a comprehensive report with data on competitors or companies in your industry with similar structures. For example, you can search for companies with similar legal status, chain-of-command and hierarchies, and number of employees.
Moreover, if your company hasn’t made any moves or thought about remote working, or if it is going through a lot of change, right now might not be a good time to pitch. However, you can still prepare now so you’ll be ready at the right moment.
Benefits for You
Define and show how remote working would benefit you and your productivity. You will have to give a clear and convincing reason for why you would like to work from home. Personal life reasons may well be acceptable, as a sound work-life balance leads to healthier, more engaged employees.
However, remote working can also blur the boundary between your work and private lives. This means you will have to show how you will maintain a work-life balance when working from home - especially if this is your reason for wanting to work remotely in the first place!
Benefits for Your Employer
Consider the effects and potential gains of remote working for your company. A study among CFOs in 2020 showed that 74% are planning to shift to hybrid remote working models for cost-cutting benefits. While not all industries, companies, or teams are suited for remote working, many can benefit financially from downsizing their office space while retaining - or expanding - their workforce remotely.
A 2020 study also showed that 94% of participating employers found that improved employee well-being leads to greater engagement and organisational performance. So if, for example, a better work-life balance is your main reason for working remotely, show how improved well-being will strengthen your engagement and increase your company’s output. Provide evidence proving your company’s structure would actually benefit from employing you remotely, for example, by making your remote team more resilient to disruptions like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Create a Business Plan
Explain how you want to go about transitioning from the office to remote working. Be clear about where you will be working from, what this means in terms of benefits and taxes (if you are moving country), and how you will engage with your team, managers, and clients. Consider whether you will have to work asynchronously and whether this is feasible for your work and employer.
You will also need to show how you plan to manage your workload. Cite past success and qualities like being able to work independently and delivering on time. Show you are a quick learner and adaptable, and that you can help your company take the next step towards a remote working structure.
Include a Trial Run
Proposing a trial run is a win-win for both parties. You can offer a trial period where you work from home or from abroad while travelling. This gives you the opportunity to prove how on the ball you are when working remotely. It also gives you the time to show how working remotely is providing the benefits that you have prioritised.
A trial run also minimises the risk for your employer. It gives them the time to consider remote working as an option at little cost to the company. Show them that you have planned your remote work life meticulously - they won’t feel the difference whether you are in the office or working remotely.
Account for Potential Pitfalls
You will need to be aware of potential issues that you or your company may encounter while working remotely. These are inevitable. Things like connectivity issues or being out of sync with the team’s schedule may well be obstacles, especially if you’re working from abroad.
Make a list of potential reasons why your employers might say no and be prepared for these. These might be things that your employers have already considered, but also things that you can foresee through all your research. Show that you have done the homework and that you have troubleshooting mechanisms in place.