Get Approval to Work Remotely or Telecommute with the NOD Method

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” – Warren G Bennis

work remotelyThe future of work is arriving quickly. If Work 3.0 is the Remote Worker revolution, then Work 4.0 is the extinction of the office building. Ten years from now the only office workers will be Doctors, Dentists, and the DMV.  If you own commercial office space, I would sell it now, don’t wait.

Image/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Yes this is a bold statement, and yes no one really knows the future, remember all of those crazy predictions in the 1800’s about flying machines? What the heck were people thinking 🙂

Since Work 4.0 is coming, you need to be prepared.  What do I mean by prepared? You need to position yourself to begin working remotely or telecommuting as soon as possible, and by soon I mean yesterday.

Today we are going to walk through the NOD method of guaranteeing approval to work remotely

What is the NOD method you ask?

NOD is as acronym for;

N – none

Once – once

D –daily

The short answer

NOD is an easy, progressive method to transition you from not working remotely at all (N – none), to working one day per week remotely (O – one), to working as many days per week as you want remotely (D – daily). Your remote work is done transparently and agreed upon with your employer.

No need to hide anything, trust me, transparency is best.

The longer answer

The way NOD works is by starting with a no or low risk proposal to your employer where they can cancel any time without losing face, no risk to your employer with guaranteed results that is, and then to gradually accustom your employer to the remote work concept and lifestyle.

It’s really that simple.

Once accustomed to an initial trial day of remote work, you step up to one day per week so your Supervisor attains a greater comfort level with you working one day per week remotely.

Finally, you ratchet up the trust level until you achieve the ultimate goal, as many days per week remotely as you want.

Let’s walk through the process in more detail

OK, let’s get started. If you are already working remotely to some extent, start at the applicable step in the NOD process. If not, start at phase one.

Phase One – N – None

None means none, nada, zip in our process, which includes very infrequent sick at home days or off-hour emergencies as none.

The only goal from None is to move the needle up a notch from zero to something on the remote work scale.

Here is the step by step process Remote Worker Daily recommends at Phase One;

1. Select a real and rational excuse to work remotely for a partial day (Doctor’s appointment, work on your house, car repair, etc.) This appointment should not take more than 2 hours so you can complete the remainder of your day remotely. It should also be schedule at the beginning or end of the day.

2. Indicate to your Supervisor that you have an appointment that requires you to be there, but you do not want to fall behind in your work, so you plan to work at home before or after the appointment. Offer to take vacation or personal time if you are unable to work or it does not work out.

3. Make that day the most productive day in a long time. Knock it out of the park.

4. Slightly lower your productivity for the next five business days.  Maybe a 10-15% decrease, no more and no less.

5. Indicate to your Supervisor that you have a lot of work and realized during the day you worked remotely when you had the appointment that your productivity shot up, and you want to work remote one day to get caught up.

6. Make this day even more productive. Be available and responsive to any communications. This time you are hitting for a double.

7. Slightly lower your productivity again for the next five business days.

Phase Two – O – One

One means one regular day per week. One does not mean the occasional unscheduled remote work days because you are sick, appointments, the dog ate your laptop, or some other reason.

The main goal from one is the continued socialization and acceptance of remote work by your Supervisor.  One is a launch pad to Daily.

We are using the concept of Cognitive Dissonance. Without giving you a psychology lecture, if you productively work one day per week remotely, it’s difficult for your Supervisor to rationally deny more remote work days.

Here is the step by step process Remote Worker Daily recommends at phase two;

1. Make an appointment to speak with your Supervisor, make sure you schedule the meeting in a location where you can speak in private, preferably offsite in a laid back environment (coffee shop for example).  Schedule this on the first available Friday after your planed remote work day in phase one if feasible.

2. When you meet, emphasize the amount of work you completed on the day you worked remotely. Ask if you can begin working one day per week remotely on a trial basis that can be cancelled at any time for any reason. Remote Worker Daily recommends any day but Friday, because asking for Friday may initially be perceived and trying to game the system for an extended weekend.

3. At this point you should get a yes. Make that day the most productive day in your week (I ran out of baseball analogies, so just make it awesome).

4. Slightly lower your productivity for the other four business days.  Maybe a 10% decrease, no more and no less.

5. Continue for at least one month before phase three.

Phase Three – D – Daily

Daily means as many days of the week as are ideal for you.  This could be anywhere from one day up to five depending on your needs.  Realistically you may need a day or two per week for on site meetings or you may just miss the social aspect of an office.  Our recommendation is to scale up slowly.

However, because you want to prove you can work long periods of time remotely, start with a working vacation or family emergency.

That’s correct; you need to find a reason to work away from the office for an entire week.

The main goal from Daily is normalization of your remote work.  Put simply, when your Supervisor is comfortable and used to you working remotely, you should be able to do it at will.

Here is the step by step process Remote Worker Daily recommends at phase three;

1. Make an appointment to speak with your Supervisor, make sure you schedule the meeting in a location where you can speak in private, preferably offsite in a laid back environment (coffee shop for example).  Schedule this on the first available Friday after your planed remote work day in phase one if feasible.

2. When you meet, review the success of your regular remote work day; bring evidence of your increased productivity. Then request whatever a week of remote work for a working vacation or personal issue.

3. At this point you should get a yes. Be awesome all week.

4. When you return ask to scale it up to the number of days you want to work remotely on a regular basis.

Situations where NOD does not work

Let’s be realistic, there are two scenarios where NOD does not work (or any system for that matter).

  1. You work in a field that requires physical presence (police, firefighter, ambulance driver) and you want to remain in that exact field.

2. Your employer is dead set against remote work for irrational reasons.

You can change your skills and career

For the first scenario I would argue that even traditional fields like police for example can be somehow converted into a remote job, for example, writing about police related topics or creating training programs). Although it may be easier and make more sense to just change careers or start a business.

Attitudes are difficult to change and take time, lots of time

For the second scenario, don’t waste your time.  Find another job or start a business. Irrational arguments and fears are very difficult to overcome without a lot of time and education. Trust me, things will eventually change, for example, Doctors do not treat people with leaches, women vote, and witches are no longer burned when practicing in Salem, at least not to my knowledge 🙂

Action Item

If you are not working remotely, start at the applicable place in the NOD process, none, once, or daily. If you are working remotely to your heart’s desire, share this knowledge with a friend.

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