Most of us have been working remotely over the past few months. While this was designed as a temporary stop-gap, many people have come to appreciate the benefits of working from home and wish to retain some form of flexibility once they transition back into co-located workspaces.
While the level of flexibility that can realistically be achieved on a long-term, sustainable basis will likely differ from that experienced during this crisis period, it’s clear that there is a new-found acceptance of some level of continued flexibility.
However, what this looks like will vary from organisation to organisation. Therefore, if you want to continue working from home, you need to approach your executive with a plan, backed by supporting evidence, and a willingness to flex to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Begin by identifying your best-practice work from home plan. Look back over the last few months and define what’s worked best. This will allow you to clearly articulate to your executive a solid logistical foundation to continue to work successfully from home while also reassuring them that all potential hurdles have already been overcome.
Next, prepare supporting evidence to demonstrate your achievements while working remotely. The aim is to prove that you can successfully deliver what is required of you remotely. Crucially, collect data to demonstrate the additional value you’ve added, such as the percentage increase in work completed or improved planning or execution of tasks.
Schedule a meeting with your executive to present and discuss your request. Focus on the shared value for your executive and the organisation, not just for you. For example, rather than only talking about your reduced commute, focus on how you start each day refreshed at peak productivity, which you maintain because of your distraction-free environment.
Naturally there will be some challenges which you’ll need to address before you can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. For example, if you manage an administration team or spend time liaising with stakeholders, it may not be practical to continue to work exclusively from home. In such cases, perhaps you could devise a hybrid plan whereby you continue to use video conference tools to work remotely one or two days each week and come into the office on others for in-person conversations. This middle ground could be the solution that works best for both you and your executive.
Alex Jones is Senior Regional Director at Hays Office Support.