One of the benefits of the pandemic for many workers has been the ability to work from home 100% of the time. Employees are not missing long, stressful commutes. In addition, many people are spending more time with their children and are coming to realize that their lives just work better when they have the flexibility that working from home allows. In recent surveys, fewer than 1 in 10 workers want to return to the office 100% of the time.
After 18 months of letting employees work from home, many companies are now starting to require 3-5 days per week back in the office. At the same time, employers don’t want to lose their top talent to other companies over work-from-home policies. Therefore, you may have some negotiating power to continue your work-from-home arrangement, but you will need to provide a strong argument to your employer that convinces them that you can be equally as productive while working from home.
Here are some suggestions to prepare for your meeting with your employer to argue your case for working from home.
- Try to set up the meeting with your manager in person or by phone if an in-person meeting isn’t possible. Don’t try to negotiate working from home using email or text.
- Never threaten to leave the company if you can’t continue to work from home. Employers rarely respond positively to threats, and you could damage your relationship with your manager if you employ threats.
- Be cooperative and flexible with both yourself and your manager when making a work-from-home arrangement. Your manager may benefit from your ability to work certain hours that are outside of the normal workday, and you may have to give a little and compromise in order to get your work-from-home schedule. Avoid “my way or the highway” strategies.
- Don’t wait for your manager to ask you how you plan to be an effective team member while working from home. Have a plan outlined before your meeting. You need to convince your manager that nothing is going to fall between the cracks if you continue to work from home, and it’s your responsibility to understand your manager’s reservations about their team working from home in advance of this meeting. Make sure that you have concrete arguments prepared for how you plan to be effective.
- If your manager is still reticent to let you work from home, consider asking for a trial period of 90 days. By doing everything in your power to be effective, you will put your manager’s mind at ease, and by the end of that trial period, they will likely be happy to allow you to continue to work from home.
- Never act entitled to a work-from-home arrangement. Unless your skillset is extremely in demand, you need to be willing to compromise and make sure that it’s a win-win for your employer and for yourself.
Working from home is becoming another negotiable that employers must evaluate for each of their job titles, and having a strategy will assist you when you broach that conversation with your employer.
I’m available to discuss WFH issues, along with all other career-related matters. Set up a free introductory phone session with me here:
I look forward to hearing from you soon!