“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion” – Aristotle
Unfortunately many employers and supervisors are still resistant to remote working and their staff working remotely. Work norms and attitudes that largely developed during the industrial revolution have been evolving much slower than technology.
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The possibilities that the internet and modern communications bring to potentially everyone with a desk job to work at home are uncontested. Remote working is the future.
There are very few valid reasons (if any) to prevent someone with a desk job from working remotely.
The three most common reasons touted by resistant employers and supervisors can all be easily overcome with good planning and effective use of technology tools.
Reasons commonly cited.
- Concern that employees are not really working. This is the least valid employer concern. Supporting remote work requires organizations to become focused on measuring employees by results, not time served. If an employee isn’t working, it will become apparent very quickly by their lack of work output. Most likely they would be equally ineffective at a desk in a office building.
- Fear that employees will become isolated and disconnected. This fear can be prevented with technology and occasional gatherings or office visits for local remote staff. For distant remote staff their is video-conferencing, instant messaging, email, an the telephone.
- Worry about information security breaches. This worry can be corrected with the right anti-virus software, secure virtual private networks and other commonly used software and technology tools.
There are several great reasons for employers and supervisors to support remote work.
The evidence in support of remote work is well documented and overwhelmingly positive and valid. Remote workers;
- Work more productive hours than office counterparts.
- Have lower turnover rates.
- Are more satisfied with their employers, supervisors, and work position.
- Are healthier and less stressed.
- Save time and money on commuting.
- Reduce traffic congestion in urban areas.
- Improve air quality through less pollution.
- Contribute to national security by using less imported energy.
- Reduce employer costs by reducing the volume of office space required.
- Increase the available pool of job candidates.
The good news is that resistance to remote work arrangements is dissipating and attitudes are thawing. The majority of employers and supervisors now support some level of remote work for their office workers. The rest can usually be persuaded with a few carefully crafted arguments.
Argument Number One – “Everyone else is doing it.”
Remember when you were in high school and wanted to stay out late with your friends? The “everyone else is doing it” argument didn’t work so well with your parents. The good news is that your employer isn’t your parent, they want to be popular with job candidates so they can get the best talent.
“Everyone else is doing it” actually works in your favor. The best way to use this argument is to research and cite examples of other companies, preferably in the same business or geographical area, that are successfully offering remote work arrangements.
Argument Number Two – “What have you got to lose?”
Pet stores often let you take a new pet home for free before paying and making a commitment. Car dealers frequently loan out cars for a full day or two before you have to sign the paperwork. Their argument is “What have you got to lose?”. The trial period is sold as a risk free way to kick the tires (or scoop the poop).
Are pet stores and car dealers generous and altruistic organizations? Of course not, they know that if they can get you to make an initial trial commitment, the odds become substantially in their favor that you will keep the shiny red sports car (or the new dog).
Make the same argument to your employer. Offer a risk free trial period where than can change their mind at anytime for any reason. Then blow them away with your remote work productivity.
Argument Number Three – “Its not you, it’s me.”
Who hasn’t used the “It’s not you, it’s me” line in at least one youthful breakup. This time you are not breaking up (yet), but drawing a line in the sand.
With this argument you need to present valid reasons why you need to remote work. Start by asking for one day a week if you get resistance. Use any reason you need to use to get that initial day; family, health, traffic, school, commute, whatever works for you.
Once you start remote working on a limited basis it is much easier to expand the scope of your remote work arrangement.