Commuting to work is the worst. And then you get there and the day is full of meetings, interruptions and distractions. Meaning that you have to work extra late or take your work home to get it all done. That means you are devoting a good 10-12 hours per day to your work. At least.
But what if you love your job? And love the team, company and all that goes with it? You don’t want to leave. You just want to try and find some semblance of work/life balance.
The flexibility to work a day or two from home per week is the answer.
And luckily there are many companies and organizations that have jumped on board and are fully supportive. Unfortunately though, there are just as many that are nervous, suspicious and fearful of this trend.
If you are working with one of the companies, it may feel like all hope is lost, but there is a way to build your case and present a plan to convince them, all in 5 easy steps:
1. Tell them what you want.
Broach the subject with your boss. This can be done during an annual review, a weekly meeting or casually over lunch. If your commute was double then normal, the weather was horrible, or you have a lot of focused worked that needs to get done, these are all great icebreakers to start the conversation. Otherwise, just bring it up as something that is important to you.
The point is, they need to know that you want this. You never know, maybe they are open to it but never suggested it (I’ve seen this happen before!). More than likely though, you’ll hear a lot of the reasons why it just doesn’t work. This is GREAT! This gives you the information you need to build your “sales” pitch.
2. Overcome the Objections
What are their objections, list them all out and research ways that these just don’t fit in for you and arm yourself with information.
If productivity is a concern, then track your time. Especially look at time when you need to be focused on a task making sure you track your interruptions and distractions.
If trust in an issue, try to find out why that is an issue by asking some probing questions and inquiring about what you could do to prove your reliability.
If presence is an assumed necessity, think practically about that. Is it really? There are obviously some professions where you do need to be present and accounted for. But there are many roles where management just assumes you need to be there. Think about how if you are needed and you are at home, how would you address this?
If optics is an objection, how are you going to ensure everyone sees your work week as a full week instead of just a few days?
3. Create Your Proposal
First off, what is your work from home plan? How many days a week were you thinking? I would suggest to begin with 1 day/week or even every other week to start. I also recommend steering clear from Mondays and Fridays to address those optics objections.
What kind of research can you use to back up your claim, there are some great benefits listed in this article. Just a few key pieces that really hone in on their concerns.
Lastly, think of their objections. The best way to deal with objections is to validate them, reframe them and then justify the reframe. Be well prepared for a lengthy discussion about them.
4. Deliver The Pitch
Go in with a clear and concise proposal – essentially telling your manager what you want, why you want it, and how it benefits the company. Bring your answers to those objections and showcase your willingness to be flexible. It is okay to arm yourself with some quantifiable evidence about increased productivity with a work from home schedule but don’t overwhelm them, this isn’t a debate!
When you are having the discussion, be open to proposing a trial run, a probationary period if you will. This will give them an out clause which they may feel more comfortable with.
Ask your boss if they would like you to provide a written proposal in case they need to present it to the Executive Team. And then give them time.
5. Become a Work From Home Superstar
Once you are approved, talk with our boss to figure out the communication plan. Did they want you to touch base with them the day before to go over your plan, cc’d on all emails and/or to receive an email at the end of the day outlining what you accomplished? It may be annoying at first, but once you prove yourself I’m sure these things will go away.
Make sure you spend the first few months practically chained to your desk at home so that they can reach you at any time. It only takes once during this crucial time for them to change their minds.
I also recommend saving any focused work you can to be completed that day, so that it is in fact a super productive day.
Soon, you will be well on your way. And you could even ask for a 2nd day to add.
It is scary to ask for something so big, but lean into that discomfort but the result is working in a job you love, with a team you adore and a company you respect all while having work/life balance.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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