Having the full remote work conversation with your manager

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After several months of working from home, have you come to realise that working remotely greatly improves your work performance and quality of life? Perhaps fewer distractions allow you to focus better on your tasks and less time commuting means more time for family or hobbies. If you’re wanting to work fully remote even after the pandemic ends, we offer advice on how to have the conversation with your manager.

1. Establish trust

Before bringing up the discussion, it’s important to first consider whether you have established mutual trust with your boss. If an employee has issues with tardiness or missing deadlines, there won’t be much trust that he or she is going to be more responsible to complete their work outside the office. Have an honest self-reflection on whether you have proven yourself as trustworthy. If you haven’t quite reached that point just yet, consider what steps to take to build that trust. Bring up any issues to your manager to discuss plans on how to address them and revisit after an agreed period of time to evaluate the progress made. Once you have established trust with your manager, you will be in a better position to raise the possibility of working fully remotely.

2. Have clear, compelling reasons

The next step is to reflect on why you want to work fully remote in the first place and present clear, compelling reasons. It’s best to avoid giving your boss the impression that you just want to work from the beach and have a carefree life. That being said, pursuing a lifestyle change or placing importance in travel and exposure to new cultures and people are all legitimate reasons for wanting to work fully remote. The key is being able to articulate why these are important to you and why you want to build up your life to enjoy these things. The more somebody has thought through their reasons, the more convincing it is to support.

3. Highlight the mutual benefits

When discussing with your manager, it is especially important to emphasize how allowing you to work out of the office will positively impact your work performance and the organisation’s success overall. Do your research on the benefits of letting employees work fully remote and have the data ready to back them up. This will send the message that you have carefully considered the best interests of the company instead of only what you can personally gain from working remotely.
If you have been working from home for the past several months, it would be even better if are able to show how your productivity and quality of work have both improved. During your conversation, provide visible evidence such as meeting your KPIs to your manager. If working remotely has reduced your stress and contributed to a better work-life balance, these are also important points to raise. Health and wellbeing are important factors in employee engagement and output which, in turn, impact business performance.

4. Present a plan

Before approaching your manager, carefully considering the logistics and preparing a proposal of how you would work fully remote. Avoid having a mindset that the company should bear responsibility of figuring out how to make remote work run smoothly. Instead, take ownership by flagging down any potential barriers to working successfully from a remote location and brainstorming possible solutions to overcome them. Ask yourself important questions such as how you would define your working hours or how you intend to participate in team meetings and activities if there are time zone differences. The more you show that you have thought through all the logistics and came up with solutions to potential challenges, the easier it will be for your manager to buy in and get on board.

5. Be flexible and provide options

While some managers are open to the idea of more work style flexibility, most will have hesitation towards employees going fully remote. Therefore, if you approach the conversation with an ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude, your manager is likely to opt with the latter. It’s important to understand that transitioning to a fully remote arrangement is a drastic change and requires gradual adjustment. If your manager expresses uncertainty, try suggesting a trial run at the beginning, where you work both in the office and at home. After the trial run ends, touch base with your manager to discuss your performance, any issues that came up and how to resolve them going forward. Once they are convinced that you can stay productive outside of the office, it may be possible to extend the number of days working remotely. Be flexible when it comes to reaching an arrangement that works best for the team and let your manager know that you’re open to being present in the office when face-to-face interactions are necessary.

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