“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want” –Zig Ziglar
Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Now that you have broken through the barrier and achieved approval from your employer or client to work one day per week remotely, it’s time to shoot for the moon and expand your remote work schedule.
Before approaching your employer or client, first ask yourself the following questions;
- Why do I want to work more days remotely?
It’s important to think through your motivation and understand the “why” behind your decision. There are many valid reasons including; convenience, improved quality of life, improved productivity and effectiveness, and many more.
The key to this question is making sure you are not using remote work to mask over a problem or issue, for example, job dissatisfaction, poor relations with co-workers or supervisors, or others.
- How often do I want to work remotely?
Some people desire and are well suited to 100% remote work, others are happy with one day per week, and everyone else falls somewhere in the middle. The key to this question is recognizing and mitigating the downfalls of remote work including; loneliness, loss of connection to co-workers and clients, lack of focus or personal discipline, distractions at home, or other problems.
- How often can I realistically work remotely?
For some people, their work is 100% independent and can therefore be completed anytime and anywhere, for others, their work requires a certain amount of collaboration that can be done via conference calls, web meetings, or other technology, and for others, some portion of their work must be completed at their office or client site due to the hands on or in person nature of the work. The key to this question is working through, around, or within the confines of any existing limitations to remote work.
- What is my employers or client’s policy regarding remote work?
Some employers and clients have fully embraced remote work, others have adopted it on a limited or trial basis and others are still resistant. The key to this question is to understand their perspective so you can plan to respond to and mitigate any concerns or resistance in advance.
Now that you have answered the four key questions, time to pick an approach to sell the idea to your employer or client. There are basically three approaches.
- Ask for an additional remote day per week; prove yourself, wait until your employer or client is comfortable, and then repeat the process for each additional day.
Ask to expand your remote work schedule from one day per week to five days per week with the understanding that you may be rejected and have to negotiate an agreement somewhere in the middle.
- Ask forgiveness rather than permission. In this approach you slowly start adding remote work days in the hope that your employer or client will adapt and accept it as a new norm.
I do not advocate one approach over another. You need to select an approach that you are comfortable with, meaning it suits your personality and your needs.
Now that you have selected an approach and are ready to discuss with your employer or client, or start adding days, keep the following in mind.
- Show documented evidence of your productivity increase during your current work from home day, which can be either a higher output, improved quality or both, and attribute it to the distraction free environment and lack of commuting stress.
- Script the discussion in advance including concerns you think your employer or client will have and a response that mitigates or addresses the concerns.
- Develop a positive expectancy and expect to get approval.
Now that you have a plan in place, time to set it in motion. Good luck!
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