Ten years ago, Cheryl Cran — future of work expert and founder of NextMapping — predicted we were heading towards a remote work reality. Technological innovation began enabling us to work anywhere, anytime. Societally and generationally, millennials and Gen Zs were already choosing not to work in a traditional work environment when possible. The costs associated with traditional business models (like expensive office towers) didn’t seem sustainable.
Enter COVID-19, which only accelerated the rate of this shift. In fact, the pandemic has produced the largest shift in work since the industrial revolution, says Liam Martin, CMO and co-Founder of Running Remote. “40% of the American workforce is now working remotely. In 2018, it was 5%. We’ve seen a complete transformation to the remote first model. If people don’t recognize how to work remotely — if they don’t learn the skills they need to work effectively from home — they’re going to get left behind.”
“People who’ve only known an office environment and don’t have tech knowledge are still struggling with the shift,” notes Cran. But in the last six months, 76% of remote workers have been happier working remotely, she says. Why? Firstly, the (often taxing) commute has been eliminated. Secondly, when you work from home you’re less likely to have to put up with office politics (there’s no environment conducive to gossip). And thirdly, employees have reported that they’re better able to achieve a work-life balance working remotely.
Cran explains that now employers have the ability to measure performance in a new way. “There’s technology that tracks your results. We’re going to see a change in the ways we evaluate performance. We’re going to use more external review perspectives to know how well someone is doing in their role.”
Your productivity will be tracked, but it’s likely to be greater. “When you look at the fundamental difference between remote first organizations versus on-premise organizations, the remote organizations have on average 30% higher productivity,” says Martin.
Many employees are thinking: since the pandemic, I’ve been working productively from home for months. Why do I have to go back into an office I don’t want to? And many employers are thinking: why would I want to bring employees back into the office (which costs more money), when I was getting better metrics from remote work?
If you know remote work is right for you, but your company isn’t explicitly offering it, here’s how to ask for it.
GATHER AND PRESENT DATA
“Be prepared with data that shows how successfully you’re performing in the remote reality,” recommends Cran. “Keep track of your own performance metrics. Track how many calls you make each day, and your customer satisfaction. Gather testimony and feedback from stakeholders. Ask colleagues and clients: how do you feel I’ve been helping / serving you since we’ve been in the remote reality? Send out a survey over email.”
Once you’ve collected your data, set up a virtual meeting with your boss or supervisor. You can say something along the lines of: “I’ve been measuring my performance pre and post COVID. Here’s what I’ve noticed remotely: I’ve been happier and more productive (here’s proof). I’ve been effective with clients and team members (here’s the data). And I’m saving the company money (for example by not billing for mileage, not using the company facilities, not having to travel for business, etc).”
Have a plan for the future — how you’re going to continue being successful working remotely —and present this plan. Stay focused on the value you add to the company by being remote.
Don’t focus on yourself and how you deserve it, urges Cran. “Don’t make it all about yourself. That’s a trap people get into. Focus on how it helps your leader.” It helps your leader because you’re able to work autonomously — you’re a self-starter who doesn’t need a lot of supervision, etc.
PROPOSE AN EXPERIMENT
In convincing your employer that remote work is best for you, you can propose an experiment to prove it, recommends Martin. “There’s a lot of trust that has to be built between employer and employee. “Propose an experiment. Say, I’m going to work remotely for the next month. Very clearly identify targets that you and your manager agree to. Then run that experiment. If you’ve set the right goals, you’ll be able not only to meet them, but surpass them.”
When it comes to remote work, many employers fear you’re actually going to be watching Netflix all day. “You need to be able to put them at ease about your productivity. You need to hit your numbers and make sure you’re communicating properly with your manager so they grow comfortable with this kind of relationship,” says Martin.
More trust is demanded on the employer’s side because they’re extending you this benefit. “You need to prove to them that yes, this is the right way for you to work, and you will provide the deliverables you and your manager have agreed upon.”
MORE FROM HERMONEY:
- How to Speed Up Your Job Search and Make Yourself More Marketable
- The Most Essential Skills You’re Building While Working From Home
- How To Nail A Zoom Job Interview
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