How To Successfully Negotiate a Work-From-Home Arrangement

It’s been over a year since the work-from-home mandate, and now businesses are asking employees to get back in the office. Recently, employees are starting to realize that traditional office life may not be for them. Many have seen the life benefits of working from home vs. working in the office. Some hadn’t even realized their job could be done efficiently from home- until the pandemic. Having the option to work from home has now become a serious debate among corporate America.

Although there are differences in views between some companies and employees in the work-from-home debate, there is gain to working remotely. According to a survey, up to 77% of workers reported increased productivity when working from home. This survey also found performance increasing up to 13%. There are also reports of feeling less stress and increased happiness while working from home. These studies further prove the point of why employees prefer not to go back to the office full-time.

Whether you’re on the market and seeking remote work or already in a full-time position and received the dreadful “back in the office” email thread, chances are it may be time to negotiate your options. We’re here to help! According to business expert and CEO of The Boss Up Agency Britney Nicole, there is a way to negotiate work from home. She says, “When it comes to negotiating work-from-home, there are a few different ways to do it where you can still come off professional, present in your employer’s needs, and be a team player.” Here are tips from Britney to negotiate work-from-home.

Negotiating, in general, can be scary. However, it’s important to remember to be transparent in all negotiations. Britney says, “Be as transparent as possible and try not to water down how you’re feeling about going into the office. Set up a meeting with your manager to talk about why you don’t feel comfortable and how working remotely has had a positive impact on you.” Being transparent and presenting clear positive outcomes can help your employer understand your reasoning. She adds, “give your boss a few reasons why you would be more efficient and be your best self through remote work.”

If negotiating isn’t going as planned, try giving your boss a few examples. Britney explains, “You could mention what you accomplish while working remotely vs. how much you accomplish in office.” she continues, “When people can see the ROI, your point becomes stronger, and bosses will see it as a benefit for the company.”

Getting the work done is one thing, but discussing how you can represent the company outside the office can be a massive bonus during negotiation. An example of this is creating content. “Talk about the things you would not be able to do in the office space.” Britney states, “Pitch that you will be able to network more the company, like connect with influencers for campaigns. This point will help you add value to the company and your role within that company.”

Setting up a time to network outside the office brought up the conversation of possibly coming in-office for meetings. Britney adds, “I have friends that are going into the office three days out of the week, and their boss is making sure they’re having meetings on those days.” Keep in mind this can work for some people. If this is a plan that doesn’t work for you, try bulking your meetings instead. “Bulk schedule your meeting so that you are utilizing most of your time in the office.” This tip can be helpful for meetings that must take place in the office; an example is product launches.

Working from home can be the foundation for distraction. Your television, game system, and pet are all examples that can cause a lack of motivation and creativity. Slacking in your remote work due to distraction can easily make your boss change their mind. Creating a dedicated workspace in your home can help you stay focused and innovative while working remotely. This space can be a small area in your home that is dedicated to productivity and away from distractions.

“You can say, When I am working from home, I feel more alive, innovative, and focused in my own workspace. When I work from the office, I notice so much activity going on that I get distracted. I think it will be better for my mental health and peace of mind if I work from home.” This example can help your employer understand how your home office enables you to focus more on deep work.

Britney adds, “Many people have been able to work remotely through life situations and different places, which cuts down on requesting time off. However, people may still want to take time off and not be bothered, which is still okay. Set your boundaries and take time for yourself when needed. But I also feel like taking less PTO can be a bonus for employers because their employees will only use it when necessary. I believe it’s worth bringing up.”

Just a disclaimer, if you feel that you need a mental health day, please take it. This part of the article is not to encourage readers to overwork themselves; instead, save PTO for life emergencies or vacations, etc. When negotiating, please make it clear to your employer that you will use PTO when you see fit.

Having a work-life balance felt nearly impossible when being in the office. Work became more of a priority than mental health for most Americans. In fact, according to the CDC, poor mental health can have a negative impact on job performance and productivity. A study by Microsoft proved that remote workers are considered to be happier.

“Be transparent about how working from the office versus working from home has affected you mentally. People forget that mental health is self-care too. If you feel like every time you go into the office, you don’t have time to breathe, but you’re able to do it from home – then that’s something you should advocate for.”

Opening up about mental health struggles can be challenging. Try discussing this with your boss in a safe space. Nicole also adds, “You also shouldn’t be ashamed of prioritizing your mental health because it’s only going to help you thrive. When you feel good, you’ll be better at work; you’ll be able to give to other people and yourself.”

How to Negotiate a Remote Work Arrangement
  1. Make it about them. …
  2. Show the impact you can make. …
  3. Be prepared to take a pay cut if you’re relocating. …
  4. Use data to prove you can be successful working remotely. …
  5. Don’t expect a one-and-done conversation.

Negotiating a work-from-home or hybrid schedule with your employer

Strategies for a successful negotiation to work remotely

Once you feel sufficiently prepared, you can start the process of negotiating for a remote work policy. During the negotiation, implement these methods to give yourself the best chance at success:

Ask for a conversation

To initiate the negotiation, propose a discussion about the possibility of remote work for your position. If you ask your boss directly if you can work from home, you could receive an outright rejection before they hear your reasons for wanting to work remotely. By proposing a discussion instead of asking a yes or no question, you can give yourself the necessary opportunity to argue your point of view.

Highlight similarities to in-person work

During negotiations, emphasize how youll be able to complete the same tasks with minimal changes by working from home. Your employer will likely be concerned with how remote work could cause other changes, so highlighting the similarities of remote work with office work can alleviate their worries ahead of time. Discuss how you would be able to keep your schedule consistent, integrate technology to attend meetings or other aspects of your work that would likely remain consistent.

Focus on benefits to your employer

Even though remote work will have plenty of personal benefits, leave these out of the negotiations. Instead, focus on how having remote work options can make the company more productive or more efficient. Explain how your ability to focus more on a controlled home environment could allow you to accomplish more responsibilities in a shorter frame of time. This is a good time to bring up any statistics you collected about how work-from-home can improve overall morale and make business practices more adaptable.

Recall your contributions

Remind your employer of how you specifically have supported company goals and contributed to the business. Bringing up your value as an employee can make your employer realize that keeping you satisfied with a remote work option is a fair trade for the dedication and commitment youve shown to the company. Reference past performance reviews and notable projects, then explain how working from home could allow you to increase your contributions in the future.

Offer solutions

Your employer will likely have some concerns about allowing a work-from-home arrangement, and its your responsibility to dispel their worries during the negotiation. When an employer brings up their worries, be prepared with solutions. For example, if an employer brings up a concern about your ability to answer phone calls to the office, you can explain that youve researched free call-forwarding software and have a quiet study in your home where you can take calls.

Be open to compromise

If an employer isnt able to offer you full-time work-from-home options, consider finding a compromise. Ask if you can work from home a few days a week or re-arrange your schedule to limit your time in the office. Being flexible in your negotiation can encourage your employer to do the same and help come up with a work-from-home policy that benefits both parties.

Suggest a trial period

If your employer is unsure at the end of the negotiation, ask them to consider letting your work from home for a trial period of a week or two, then making their final decision based on how well the situation works. This allows the employer to see how your proposal would function without taking a large risk. Once you have proof that you can thrive while working from home, it will likely be much easier to convince your employer to let you continue working remotely.

Why should you learn how to negotiate working from home?

Before asking about work-from-home options, do your research and set yourself up for success by implementing these tips:

Research working from home

Make sure that working from home is truly an ideal situation for you before asking. Although remote work has many benefits, it also has challenges. You have to have the right characteristics to self-manage in a remote work environment. You also need to have access to a quiet home office or other remote work location where you can focus on your job responsibilities. Try talking to friends who work from home or reading testimonials about both the positive and negative impacts of working from home.

Outline your ideal arrangement

Think about what kind of work-from-home situation you want to pursue. Work-from-home can look different depending on your role and how you want to structure your time. Decide whether you want to exclusively work from home or if youre open to spending part of your time on site and part of your time at home. Consider any changes to your schedule and work habits that could align with a remote work arrangement. Having an idea of what you want can make it easier to advocate for your needs in a negotiation.

Gather evidence

Prepare to argue for the benefits of work-from-home work by researching how remote work policies benefit employers. Managers may be more willing to consider letting you work from home if you have statistics and facts that support your suggestion. Make sure you use credible sources to back up any claims you want to mention during your negotiation.

Prepare a written proposal

Create a professional document that summarizes your suggestion for a remote work arrangement. Even if you plan to negotiate completely in person, having a written proposal ready can help you stay organized. Having paper copies of your proposal that you can give to company leadership can show them that youve put thought and preparation into this suggestion and believe in the positive impact of your idea. Your proposal document can also act as a reminder of your main points while they consider your ideas.

Anticipate pushback

Mentally prepare for a possible rejection or argument against your plan to work remotely. Think about the possible reasons your employer might say no, then consider what arguments youll use to respond to their concerns. Understanding that your negotiation may not be immediately successful can encourage you to prepare your best arguments.

Tips for keeping your work-from-home privileges

After closing the negotiation, youll need to take steps to ensure you can keep working from home. Here are some examples of strategies to implement after a successful negotiation for telecommuting:

Track your productivity

Make note of your productivity rates from before you started working from home to set a baseline of your previous abilities. While working from home, meticulously track your performance and productivity, striving to not only meet your previous goals but exceed them. You can use your productivity rates to justify making your work-from-home situation permanent or even institute a company-wide remote work policy.

Set up accountability measures

Your performance during a remote work trial is so important. Consider creating procedures to keep yourself accountable. This could include briefly updating a coworker about your progress each day, setting alarms to keep you on a task or filling out checklists to track your progress.

Spend extra time communicating

Put extra emphasis on interacting with your coworkers to overcome the communication barrier of working at home. Email or call your team members to discuss project issues, send regular updates to your manager and take advantage of any digital communication platforms that your company uses.

Book a follow-up meeting

After spending some time working from home, schedule a follow-up meeting with your manager to discuss the success of your remote work trial period. Express your gratitude that your company trusted you with the opportunity to work from home, then share details about all of the positive changes you made during the experience.

FAQ

How do I get my boss to agree to work from home?

Here are seven suggestions to help you convince your boss the next time you make your case to work remotely:
  1. Arm yourself with data. …
  2. Suggest a test. …
  3. Present a plan. …
  4. Take a working sick day. …
  5. Offer options. …
  6. Ramp up your productivity. …
  7. Be patient.

How do you justify work from home?

How to convince your boss to let you keep working from home
  1. Ask for what you want. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. …
  2. Make it about more than just you. You’re not the only one who prefers remote work. …
  3. Build a case. …
  4. Outline clear pathways for communication. …
  5. If it’s a hard no.

Can you negotiate a job to be remote?

During negotiations, emphasize how you’ll be able to complete the same tasks with minimal changes by working from home. Your employer will likely be concerned with how remote work could cause other changes, so highlighting the similarities of remote work with office work can alleviate their worries ahead of time.

How do you negotiate salary for remote position?

Here are five tips for negotiating a lucrative salary for a remote position.
  1. Highlight ROI. …
  2. Establish demand. …
  3. Shift from local to global. …
  4. Focus on skills and results. …
  5. Consider non-monetary components. …
  6. A final note.

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