Remote Worker, Remote Working

Speaking to your employer about remote working

Convincing your employer as to why they should allow you to work remotely doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation. This toolkit equips you with the resources, tools and research that will allow you to have an educated and convincing conversation with your boss.
Your employer may be aware of remote working but might not necessarily understand how it can work for their business and teams. It’s important you put yourself in their shoes. What will their concerns be? How does remote working fit into the current culture? How does your employer usually react and manage new innovation within the company? What’s important to them and their values.

Are you equipped for remote working?

Realistically, if what you do is already 50% or more online, then there’s a real case for you to be working remotely. If it’s less than 50%, I’d still recommend at least researching what could be possible. It may be that a more hybrid model is more applicable to your job at the moment, for example, 2 days at home and 3 days in the office.
Your skills and abilities are fundamental in shaping how successful you’ll be in convincing your employer in remote working. Do you have examples of how you’ve used key skills that will help you deliver the same output and quality in your work when you work from home? If you’ve proven experience in your organisation and your trust battery is high amongst your team and boss, your chances of securing a more flexible working model is even higher as you understand the values and priorities of your company. A huge benefit for allowing a trusted employee to work remotely is that they already have built relationships with the wider team

Is your company equipped for remote working?

The misconception with remote working is that it has to be an all-or-nothing option. Either a company dives fully into remote work, or it stays completely office-bound. There are many companies with many different remote working structures. In a 2015 YouGov study, 48% of people said their employers don’t allow them to work remotely. More than 1 in 10 (12%) said their companies’ IT systems were modern enough to facilitate remote working.  
Is remote working realistically for your company at the moment? Do you have the tools and technology to support you in your job when you work outside of the office? If not, is there a way you can start building a more remote-friendly environment that will be able to support you in your remote proposal. Often if you’re the first of your company to work remotely, you’ll need to take ownership of this strategy and make the transition as easy as possible for your company. Here are some starting points for you to consider and include in your proposal:
Remote technologies; centralised systems, productivity, management, and collaboration tools, instant messaging tools, video conferencing, knowledge sharing & project management tools.

Engagement & communication: How will you engage and speak with your team when you aren’t in the office? Are you managing people directly or indirectly who will be based in the office? How will you proactively communicate your day to day work with your wider team? How will you meet your boss’ expectations and make this transition as subtle as possible for them? What are your companies’ expectations of performance and availability when working from home?

Business Objectives: Like with any project, it's important to measure the progress and success metrics. How will you measure if this project is a success? It’s your responsibility to ensure you communicate. How will you minimise disturbances in workflow and to easily adjust for any oversights in the virtual protocols?

The reasons and statistics that your employer needs to know

Remote is the future of work- If they are not trying it, they’re limiting themselves
By 2020, 50% of the Workforce Will Be Remote. (MarketWatch, 2017). Understanding the shift towards virtually dispersed teams and remote working is key for organisations today.  A study by Blueface in 2018 found that 78% of Irish Businesses have some sort of remote working policy in place.  
Remote work can increase worker productivity-meaning more deliverables
Stats about remote work show that 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels, according to one study, and that’s a good thing not only for remote workers but for the companies that employ them. The study by PGI, a leading provider of software services, found that 80% of workers reported higher morale when working from home, while 69% reported lower absenteeism.

It lowers stress and boosts morale- happy employees= happy customers
Based on a survey of 2,066 workers drawn from three large multi‐national organisations, Kelliher and Anderson (2010) came to similar conclusions. They, too, discovered that remote workers had statistically higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment than workplace‐bound workers.

Remote working is flexible, and you should be too

Discuss, Propose, Implement, Measure and Improve. Be willing to consider this as a trial with your employer, nothing is totally committed to, and if your employer feels at any stage it’s not working, that you’re happy to discuss and agree on next steps together. If there’s something you absolutely need to be in the office for, show that you are willing to travel and be there when it’s required.
Set your own expectations for your roles and responsibilities and show how you’ll meet those when working remotely. Make sure you showcase how you understand the importance of productivity goals, and what you’ll do if you find themselves struggling with the new arrangement.
The more you have documented, the better, but it's also a good idea to leave some room for flexibility. No matter how well you plan, there will always be unforeseen variables to disrupt your vision. For many business leaders, diving into remote work can be overwhelming to contemplate, so it’s important to structure your proposal in a way that is flexible and allows you & your employer to measure the success of this project at various stages.

Remote Work is not an end goal

The reasons for wanting to work remotely will vary for every individual. Remote working on its own will not necessarily guarantee happiness. Even if you work remotely, you still need to work on your skills, relationships, and goals because they will not develop without effort. If anything, you’ll need to put more effort into certain skill-sets in order to be successful at remote working and show your employer that remote working is a benefit as opposed to a hindrance.

I wish you the best of luck in your conversations. If your company or employer needs help in remote strategies or processes, you can reach me on [email protected]