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How to negotiate a permanent work-from-home agreement

The pandemic has changed a lot for workers, including where they work. A study conducted at the beginning of the outbreak found that nearly a third of US workers were working from home – and presumably some of those workers do not want to return to the office if their employers call them back. "Working from home can bring many benefits to employees," says Ray Luther, executive director of the Partnership for Coaching Excellence and Personal Leadership at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, freedom that may not come from daily reporting to one Office is created. "

Negotiating a permanent work-from-home agreement, however, may not be a blast. Employers have "traditionally been concerned about the productivity of their employees when they work from home," says Luther. Some managers may feel like they are losing control of employees that they cannot see in person.

However, it is not impossible. "Employees who want to work from home on a permanent basis should put themselves in the shoes of their employers," says Luther. “What would my employer be concerned about and how can I show them that these concerns are minimal? If you can demonstrate high productivity and accessibility for most employees and still develop productive relationships within your work teams, you have addressed the key concerns of most managers. “Here's exactly how to negotiate a permanent work-from-home agreement.

Demonstrate your productivity.

To continue working from home, employers want to demonstrate that you are as productive at home as you are in an office. "Quantify and qualify the work you've done as part of a work-from-home process or mandate," says Luther. “How productive were you alone? How have you worked with colleagues to learn through the new office systems? Where did you help develop solutions to the challenges working from home may have created? “You need specific answers to these questions to convince your manager that you can be trusted at home.

Prepare for proof of your productivity – and start your negotiations with hard facts.

Prepare an action plan.

While you have already worked from home, you and your manager may not have gathered clear evidence of your ability to do so successfully. If so, Maureen Farmer, founder and CEO of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting, suggests developing an action plan that your manager can use to assess whether you can work from home during a trial period. Talk to your manager about what milestones he or she should achieve during the trial period [e.g. 90 days] and agree to check in during this time to see if you are on the right track . “Above all, the offer to work from home must show the employer value and benefit,” says Farmer.

Build up trust.

"Once you've proven that you can be productive, show that your employer can trust you," says Luther. Most managers' concern about employees who work from home stems from a lack of trust. “How does the employer know they can trust you and what have you done to demonstrate that trust? Are you available when they need you? "Asks Luther." Be ready to explain why they can trust you to deliver even when they cannot see you in the office.

One way to demonstrate your trustworthiness is to propose a communication plan in your negotiations, Farmer says. Such a plan would “establish the regular and regular points of contact with each [your] colleague to ensure that the projects are still up and running,” she says. “The communication plan provides a guarantee that [you] will be available on demand throughout the day via phone, email, SMS or messaging service. The employee has to convince the manager of his availability. "

Show that you are flexible.

During negotiations, it's important to “listen to your employer's concerns, work from home, and understand objections,” says Luther. "While these concerns may not be that important to you, they provide cues that you can be flexible about. It doesn't make an all-or-nothing situation." For example, your manager might be more comfortable if you came to the office one day a week or during critical team meetings. “Working from home can bring many benefits to employees, even if it's only four out of five days a week,” he says.

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