How To Successfully Negotiate A Permanent Work-From-Home Arrangement


The continuing evolution of technology and the internet has made it possible for those with even the most technical jobs to work from home. However, this doesn't mean that all employers are happy with it, and there are a number of reasons for this, per Forbes. Management now has less oversight over employees, who are increasingly working from home. As a result, they have been forced to become reliant on measuring employees on output and results alone.

Additionally, many companies lease out expensive office spaces. With more employees choosing to work from home, these businesses are finding it more difficult to justify the need for office space. However, many are locked into leases, meaning rent is becoming a wasteful expense without people in their cubicles.

Many of these types of issues, though, often fall back onto the employer. If you happen to have a position that can be done remotely, as well as the technology to get the job done, you might be considering working from home permanently — but how do you make this happen? Several people have friends, family members, and colleagues who have successfully made the transition to a permanent work-from-home arrangement. That being said, every person's journey to get to this point is different. If you're interested in shifting gears and working from home on a permanent basis, here are a few tips you can take into account before you have a discussion with your boss.

Create a proposal

If you're looking to reap all of the benefits of working from home on a permanent basis, you'll need to ensure that you can justify the means to the end — specifically to your boss. FlexJobs recommends creating a proposal to present to your boss when the time comes to discuss your work-from-home arrangement. While the proposal doesn't necessarily need to be lengthy, it should address all of your reasons for wanting to shift gears, in addition to considering your boss' potential concerns. For example, you might want to outline a mock-up of what your work-from-home schedule will look like on a weekly basis to give your boss an idea of how you intend to remain productive and connected to your colleagues. You should also make it a point to dive into the specifics of how flexible you want your schedule to be. For instance, if you want a permanent work-from-home arrangement to be able to fit in necessary doctor appointments, include this detail in your proposal.

The more information you can provide to your boss, the better your chances will be of having your proposal accepted. An outline can also reflect your professionalism and sincere interest in making the transition to a permanent work-from-home arrangement. To bolster your efforts, don't hesitate to include any tangible examples of past goals you accomplished while working remotely, per Forbes.

Outline your plan for staying in touch

Communication is paramount, regardless of whether you regularly work in the office or work from home. These days, technology and software make it easy to collaborate through more than just email. Solutions, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, allow coworkers to seamlessly collaborate via direct messaging. However, that doesn't mean that some information isn't lost in translation along the way. Needless to say, this can be a big fear of managers who have several employees looking to work from home. For many, this is their first experience attempting to handle such requests as the workplace continues to evolve.

As Fortune explains, you can bolster your pitch for a permanent work-from-home arrangement by presenting examples of how you've used technology to efficiently communicate in the past. You can also detail your expected availability for phone calls while working from home or offer to schedule recurring weekly calls to maintain communication. By showing your willingness to stay connected, you can demonstrate a certain level of professionalism to your boss. You'll also be indicating that you're genuinely invested in ensuring that your shift out of the office doesn't shake up your team. In the end, it may be just what you need to convince them you're the right candidate to work from home on a permanent basis.

Demonstrate the mutual benefits

One pitfall you can potentially make while negotiating a permanent work-from-home arrangement is failing to demonstrate how it could benefit both parties, per CNBC. Negotiations specialist Alexandra Carter explained to the source that rather than positioning the work-from-home arrangement as a personal desire, it's essential to show how the change could benefit both you and your employer at the end of the day. "Concretely define what problem you're trying to solve and what you need from the company," Carter told CNBC.

For instance, if you are looking to permanently work from home to make more time for family needs, position this to your boss as a problem you are trying to resolve. Help them understand that by having more schedule flexibility, you can use your time more effectively to be a productive member of your team. "Think about what you really want before you make your request," organizational behavior professor Heidi Brooks told CNBC. "Then, don't make it just from your own perspective. Make the case for effectiveness, not just personal convenience."

Carter adds that it's essential to help your boss understand how your organization as a whole could benefit from you working from home, whether through your increased efficiency or collaboration efforts. "Make sure you tie your ask in a way that is responsive to what the company needs," Carter explained to CNBC.

Expect and manage the ongoing conversation

When it comes to addressing a significant topic, such as shifting to a permanent work-from-home arrangement, Harvard Business Review notes that you will unlikely have a "one-and-done" conversation. This may especially be the case if you are working with managers who are still in the process of developing a work-from-home policy and set of expectations. Even if you go into the meeting with an outlined proposal, you should realistically expect to give your boss some time to digest the information you've presented. It's important to understand that your company as a whole may still be adapting to the new work-from-home era. As it continues to evolve, your organization's policies will likely do so as well.

Depending on who you initially speak to about your permanent work-from-home arrangement, you may not receive a definitive answer right away. For example, your manager may need to consult with other team members before giving you the official sign-off to work from home. Try to remain patient during this process. If you do eventually get the permanent work-from-home arrangement you are seeking, make sure you get the agreement details in writing. This can ensure that the transition happens as smoothly as possible, regardless of management changes, for example. It also gives you documentation to refer back to as your organization's work-from-home policy continues to evolve.

Be prepared to start off hybrid

Just because you have a detailed proposal for a permanent work-from-home arrangement doesn't necessarily mean you're going to immediately get the green light. This may especially be the case if your organization is still ironing out its policy surrounding work-from-home situations. If your boss seems hesitant, Mattingly Solutions co-founder Sertrice Grice — who specifically focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion — tells Fortune that it's critical to be open to other possibilities. "Be flexible with what you're asking for," Grice told the publication. You may need to compromise on how often you work from home versus in the office to start, for example.

Over time, you can build your case to permanently work from home by proving your accountability while working remotely. As Insider explains, be prepared to give 110% to your position when you work from home. Your responsiveness to phone calls, emails, and messages will become crucial as you look to make your arrangement permanent. Finally, don't forget about your availability — if you can prove that you're reliable and available, even while out of the office, the argument against allowing you to permanently work from home will weaken. At the end of the day, your goal should be to strike an agreement with your employer that is mutually beneficial. Whether you want a permanent work-from-home arrangement to carve out more time for your family or passion projects, taking these tips into account can help.

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