Here's how to negotiate working from home permanently

·3 min read

If many workers have their way, remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

Almost two-thirds of workers want to keep working remotely even after the pandemic, according to a recent FlexJobs survey of 2,100 workers, while a third would be happy with a hybrid model that includes working from home in some form.

Additionally, 58% of employees would look for new work if they couldn’t continue working from home.

Read more: How to return to the office in a post-pandemic world

“[Workers] were no longer stuck in the office 8-10 hours a day, having to make long commutes, and were able to spend more time with family,” said Alicia Perkins, Professional Development Coach and founder of Prepared Careers. “It has now been proven that you can operate just as efficiently outside of the office. And many are seeking to make that permanent.”

If you’re trying to keep your job at home or want to limit how much time you spend commuting or in an office, here are some ways to negotiate working from home.

Amina Woods, program director for a foster care agency and a psychotherapist for a private practice, works at her home in New York City, U.S., March 3, 2021.
Amina Woods, program director for a foster care agency and a psychotherapist for a private practice, works at her home in New York City, U.S., March 3, 2021.Picture taken March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Zakiyyah Woods

Whether your employer is for or against a permanent work-from-home option, it’s a good idea to take your approach seriously. Set up a meeting and come prepared with your research and receipts.

“If you have experience working from home, definitely come with that track record of past successes and productivity levels,” Perkins said. “You need to see this conversation as your pitch. So come with data, research, and projected outcomes.”

This shouldn’t be a quick conversation, Perkins said. If you can, avoid having the meeting over email or even over the phone. Instead, schedule an in-person meeting or over Zoom. Remember that employers want accessibility, so be prepared to have that discussion.

Read more: How to connect with your manager at work

“You definitely want to come with a plan on how you will remain engaged with your team,” Perkins said. “Have your communication plan laid out when you approach your supervisor so they can see this request was well thought out and great considerations have been taken.”

It might be a good idea to show them what you’d do in a given day or week.

“You want to go over what your day-to-day schedule would look like,” Perkins said. “If you can show that you have a dedicated quiet workspace, that is a bonus, too.”

Young asian business man using computer for a online business meeting with his colleagues about plan in video conference. back view of business man have webcam group conference with coworkers at home
(Photo: Getty Creative)

Talk about how your workload will adjust given your new setup and any shifts in goals if this changes. If you’re saving time on a commute, for example, you might want to say you could start your workday earlier, completing tasks sooner than you would if you were in an office.

There are some things you should skip when asking your employer to work remotely. Always make the discussion about employer benefits.

Read more: Here's what remote workers should consider before relocating

“It's very important to come with how this will benefit the employer, not just you,” she said. “You want to discuss any cost savings and improved employee performance that would occur from this transition. At the end of the day, the company is concerned about its bottom line and anything that may affect that.”

When planning your request, make sure you consider the chance that your boss says no. Instead of feeling discouraged, have a backup plan.

“If your supervisor says no, suggest a trial period where you are only working one or two days a week from home to prove your capability,” Perkins said. “If you don't get a yes the first time, try back again in a few months.”

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Dori Zinn is a personal finance journalist based in South Florida. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, CNET, Quartz, TIME, and others.

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