I was a fairly new employee, but had proven myself in the few short months that I had been there when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t have a ton of paid time-off saved up, and wouldn’t be paid for maternity leave-- that didn’t work for me. I had to work. The plan to work remotely wasn’t something I decided overnight. It took weeks, months even, to plan out how to approach the topic.
Here are some tips that helped me convince my employer to allow remote work.
Before you sit down to formulate your proposal, make sure that you understand what working remotely means, what it takes, and how you would handle working independently. Working remotely doesn’t mean work is easier, or that your duties aren’t as important, so if working remotely isn’t beneficial to the company, or if you are a subpar employee, working remote isn’t going to work for you.
The first step in the creation of any proposal is to do research. You need to research the position you are in, and the ability for the position to be remote. You’ll also need to have a full understanding of why you want to work remotely and how that benefits the company. Be prepared for any questions that your employer might ask.
Work out the logistics
You’ll need to be able to speak to the what, when, where and how of working remotely. What will you be able to do from home? Will your working hours change at all? Is this plan permanent or temporary?
Plan to have a designated working space in your home, free from distractions. Don’t forget to outline how you plan to make this work, as well as what you already have and would need in order to make it work.
Point out the company benefits
This is a HUGE point. Your company hired you to do a job, and if they don’t think that you working from home would be beneficial to the company, it won’t happen. How would your remote work impact the team? Would working remotely save the company resources, money even?
Have a backup plan
Say you’re granted your request and you get to work from home. What would you do if your internet went down, or you couldn’t access everything you needed to do your job? Think about the unexpected and include that in your plan. Believe me, the unexpected happens more than you think.
Propose a trial period. Set the parameters, maybe include a project that needs to be completed, and request to complete it at home within the guidelines set out in your proposal. Let your employer see just how effective and efficient you can be from home. Be prepared to work out the kinks that first day working remotely, which might mean you need to log in and ensure everything works as designed before having to actually work from home.
Communication is key, make sure that you are communicating effectively and often.
Once you have your proposal created have someone you work closely with, and trust, read it and ask you questions. This will give you a good baseline for making changes if needed. Make sure that your proposal is well written, professional, and thorough.
Set up an appointment with your boss beforehand. When I created my proposal, I gave it to my direct supervisor and my department head.
A couple of weeks later we all met to discuss the proposal and go over the details. I
was so nervous, even though I was comfortable talking to both of them asking to work remote was something I had never done before. But it worked, and it worked well. So well in fact that my boss would later ask me to work remote again, which helped my family through our PCS.
If you think remote work might be right for you and you're preparing to have this discussion, sign up for our upcoming class that discusses how to work from home on March 22.
Written by: Phylicia Vallier