How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work Remotely
According to the New York Times, over 43% of employees in the US worked remotely at some stage during the year 2016, and by no means is that figure going to decrease any time soon. Want in on the act?
There is a plethora of valid reasons to work remotely. Sadly, admitting secret desires of sleeping in each morning followed by a day “working” in your pyjamas will get you nowhere. But whatever reason you hold valid, convincing your boss to see the light can be tricky.
Finding a valid reason to work remotely, informing oneself, and having a good, existing relationship with your boss are all prerequisites in successfully attaining remote work. Be honest in your rationale – honesty is key.
But hey, sometimes a little dishonesty is required to get the ball rolling. Here are our 6 steps in convincing your boss to let you work remotely. We won’t say nothin’ if you don’t say nothin’!
Step 1: How to Prove to Your Boss That You are Responsible and Autonomous Enough
Working remotely obviously won’t suit everyone. There are certain character traits that are easily identifiable and traditionally associated with remote workers. These include:
It’s also worth analysing whether or not your job is suitable for remote work. Obviously, if you depend on your coworkers’ presence and proximity to complete tasks, remote work won’t suit you. The typical characteristics of a position that works from a remote location include:
- Deep/creative thinking
- Content creation
- Building proposals
- Creating specs
If the traits listed above resonate with your situation, then you’re more than eligible for remote work. But now, how do you prove to your boss that you’re capable of this? This is where a dash of deviousness doesn’t do any damage. Find an excuse to work remotely. Calling in sick, waiting for maintenance workers, or tending to a sick child are all valid reasons to escape the office for a day.
Once you’re afforded the opportunity, over-deliver on your productiveness. You can use this day as a practical example on how you found your productivity had dramatically increased while at home.
An additional perk of using this method is that you get an idea of how you handle remote work. Who knows, you might just miss that incessant office chit-chat, or looking at pictures of Sharon from HR’s dog. You must be entirely sure that remote work actually works for you!
Step 2: Get the Necessary Tools to Work Remotely
The reason behind the decline of office attendance is unmistakably due to technological advancement. Features like high-speed broadband, emails, cloud-based services, and online collaboration tools make it all too convenient to work remotely. A lot of jobs only require a laptop and an internet connection and it’s off to the races.
Your presence will be required occasionally to attend meetings etc. But with the right conference call solution, this is a breeze. 247meeting offers a full range of remote meeting solutions including audio, video, as well as screensharing, not to mention the very latest features in mobile conferencing.
Our mobile app eliminates the need for memorising PIN codes by utilising dial-out technology as opposed to dialling-in. Reach your colleagues at the touch of a button while always being safe in the knowledge of who’s on the line. It’s like a war-room in your pocket!
Step 3: Plan Your Approach
At this stage you’re committed to the idea of working remotely, you know it works for you plus you have all the necessary tools to do it. Now all you need is to figure out a way to approach your boss.
Have a think about what your remote week will look like. Plan which days you’d like to work remotely. Consider working remotely for a day or two every other week as opposed to every week. You can even suggest a one-month trial period to test things out. Pitch this idea to your boss and they might just be inclined to see it your way.
If you get the impression your boss will be a little hesitant at granting you remote work, it wouldn’t be tactical to request a Monday or Friday as your remote day. This implies you’re just looking for a longer weekend (and let’s face it, you probably are).
We suggest selecting Wednesday. Being slap-bang in the middle of the week, Wednesday is very much a working day and it would prove difficult to skive off work for a few hours while everyone in the office is in full swing.
Arrange a short discussion with your boss about working remotely. It’s best to mention it briefly before you present your full argument. This is essentially just testing the waters, gauging your boss’s feelings on the matter.
If your boss is unsure how they are supposed to manage you in future without your physical presence, share our blog on how to manage geographically remote teams with them! Thinking about this from your boss’s persective can strengthen your argument.
Step 4: Prepare Your Argument
Allocate yourself some time to build the strongest case possible for remote work. Anticipate the kind of questions you may be asked.
- Think about the parts of your job that you believe will improve while being undertaken from home. These are usually tasks that require deep concentration or creativity.
- Set realistic expectations. The only way your boss can measure your productivity is through the quality of your work. Considering you’re now working from home, you should be more productive than you were in the office, so keep this in mind at all times.
- Set yourself some rules. This can include how you maintain contact with your colleagues in the office as well as the hours you will be active from.
- How will this affect your team? Consider the impact your remote work may have on your coworkers. Discuss your intentions with your coworkers and devise a way in which they can reach you should any difficulties arise.
Step 5: Have Some Killer Statistics Ready
After a brief chat with your boss, you should have a strong idea of the number of statistics and research required in order to close the sale. Here are a few handy statistics to keep up your sleeve should you need them:
- Studies have found that remote workers have lower stress levels which in turn lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
- The UK Office of National Statistics states that “commuters have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety on average than non-commuters.”
- Global Workplace Analytics has shown that an average business can save $11,000 per person per year.
- Best Buy experienced a 35% uptick in employee productivity after implementing a flexible work programme.
- A survey from Coso Cloud showed that 77% of respondents said that working off-site makes them more productive, with 30% stating they were able to get more done in less time.
- A study from Stanford University examined a travel agency consisting of 20,000 employees and discovered that the employees working from home improved their performance by 13% compared to those stuck in the office.
It’s difficult to argue with someone who backs their argument up with empirical evidence. But don’t just burst into your boss’s office spouting facts and figures. Structure your argument carefully, gently steer them to the desired conclusion. Write your argument on one sheet of paper and present it to your boss.
Realistically, you shouldn’t expect them to give you the answer right there and then. They may have to go have a chat with Sharon in HR to discuss the feasibility (this is why you keep on Sharon’s good side and tell her that her dog is lovely).
Step 6: Get it in Writing
During your application, try and maintain tangible evidence that the discussion is actually taking place. Should your boss be replaced or promoted, you can find yourself back at square one all over again. An email chain is best in this situation, it can prove useful as a template in future for any other requests.
In the end, some bosses will be easier to convince than others. If your application is unsuccessful, try not to take it personally. Your boss may have granted remote work to an employee in the past that ultimately may have been a mistake.
If your bid is successful, it might be worth investigating rolling out the policy on a company scale. Implement a team to analyse how other companies handle these requests. Working remotely is on the rise and the trend is showing no signs of stopping, so it’s best to get the ball rolling now before your company becomes totally undesirable.
When undertaking remote work, keep in mind the amount of trust that is being placed in you. If things go awry due to a lack of diligence on your part, it can greatly impact others. The situation can be exacerbated by your lack of presence, so come up with a contingency plan for unforeseen incidents. The way in which you handle the situation can affect others seeking remote work in future.
Working remotely means you’ll have to deal with a lot of remote meetings. Become familiar with remote meetings through our blog. You’ll soon discover that there are times when remote meetings are appropriate, and times when they most definitely are not!