Many companies with remote work policies still don’t encourage employees to take advantage of a flexible work schedule. 56% of global companies are either fully remote or hybrid, allowing both in-person and remote options. However, only 52% of employees report working remotely at least once per week. Many employees at companies with flexible work policies still don’t feel comfortable taking advantage of these benefits and a lot of it has to do with direct managers choosing to work from an office. When your boss comes into the office every day, it can be hard to take the leap to approach the conversation around working remotely once a week, every so often, or even making the transition to primarily working from home.
In the past, remote work may have been reserved for special situations if allowed at all. Those with tough commutes, family or logistical challenges that made coming into the office difficult, or the unique cases of team members who lived in different cities were allowed to work remotely. Now, at many companies, remote work is not the exception, but the rule. Teams are still adjusting to the culture of working remotely, but with the right resources, structures, and communication options, working remotely doesn’t have to be any different than coming into an office daily. In fact, many people who choose flexible work are more productive than their desk-bound counterparts. Companies save money, employees are happier and more productive, and individuals are able to find job opportunities when there may not be as many options where they live.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to ask your manager to work remotely including the technology you’ll need, how it will work, and why you deserve the autonomy to choose where you work.
When explaining to your manager that you would like to take advantage of the opportunity to work from home, it’s important to outline the reasons that people choose to work remotely. For those without experience managing a hybrid team, they may have assumptions that working from home is code for slacking off or doing less work. In fact, when over 3,000 global employees were surveyed, the top reason that people chose to work remotely was productivity and focus.
Here are other reasons that people opt for a more flexible remote work policy.
Easier flexibility for appointments (therapy, physical therapy)
Opportunities for jobs outside of their physical location
Employees do not work remotely, contrary to some popular myths, to slack off unnoticed. In fact, last year, the primary reason for employees to work remotely with work/life balance. This year, the #1 reason for global employees to work from home was productivity and focus. Since remote work is beginning to shift from a privilege, a novelty, or a perk for special circumstances to a basic right given to employees with jobs not requiring a physical presence, it’s time to speak up and ask for what you deserve- the autonomy to choose where you are most productive. After all, you know yourself better than anyone, so if you can choose a schedule and location that work for you and remain present and productive, why should it matter where that is?
Employees who work remotely are 24% happier than those who don’t.
Employees are able to create their own schedule and avoid a commute.
Team members are able to balance work-life balance more easily.
Remote work allows for companies to reduce costs, improve employee happiness, and expand their talent pool. Companies that allow remote work open the door to candidates who may have otherwise been unknown to them. For nonprofits and startups, hiring a remote team or a hybrid team to start will help keep costs low.
Employers also benefit from remote work in the following ways.
Companies that allow remote work hire new employees 33% faster than those who do not.
Companies can save up to $2,500 per year per remote employee.
Employees can expand working hours for support or customer service by recruiting a remote workforce around the world.
Employees are more likely to stay at a company that has a flexible remote work policy.
Companies can expand their talent pool globally.
When broaching the subject of remote work with your manager, first look at your company’s remote work policy. If you are aware of other teammates having worked remotely, but it hasn’t become common practice yet, don’t try to go the route of “so-and-so got to work from home! I should be able to, too!” Have a thoughtful pitch prepared for why you would like to work remotely and if your company doesn't have a remote work policy yet, consider asking your manager for help bringing the issue to HR.
Consider the following when presenting your case.
How often would you like to work remotely?
Are you equipped to successfully work remotely or will you require any tools/software? (see below section)
Why do you want to work remotely?
What will be the protocol for alerting your manager that you will be working remotely?
Will you update them via instant messenger a day before?
Will you mark your calendar to keep your manager and team up-to-date?
What hours will you work while working from home?
Is there anything your manager needs to know about your specific remote work setup or any sensitive issues you’d like them to know?
Be honest with your manager and remember that your mental health, stress level, and well-being are important to your company.
To work remotely, you’ll need an arsenal of remote work and communication tools. You will need an instant messaging service, a video conferencing platform as well as a smart video conferencing camera, a calendar or scheduling app, a good pair of headphones, a project management software, and a comfortable workspace.
Here are some of our recommendations for your tools (software, apps, and hardware) for remote work.
Instant messaging service: Google Hangouts, Slack, Skype for Business
Video conferencing platform: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, Bluejeans, or Slack video
Smart video conferencing camera: Meeting Owl
Calendar/scheduling app: Calendly, Youcanbook.me, Google Calendar
Headphones: Bose QuietComfort headphones, Sony WH-1000XM2, Samsung Gear IconX
Project management software: Trello, Basecamp, Wrike
Now that you have answers to many of the questions your manager may bring up, we hope you will feel confident in your ability to ask for and negotiate the freedom and autonomy you deserve.