It’s difficult to believe that remote work has become a household name in just a matter of two years. Pre-pandemic, only 17% of employees took advantage of remote working, but COVID-19 caused that number to jump to 44% as 16 million knowledge workers packed up their desks in a hurry in March of 2020. Now that vaccinations are on the rise across the United States, offices around the country are reopening. While the return to normal office life might appeal to some employees, others are eyeing the future of remote working and wondering how to ask employers to work remotely post-pandemic.
Requesting to work remotely pre-pandemic used to involve in-depth research into how that could work. Employees used to have to convince employers to take a significant risk in letting them work remotely because remote work was largely uncharted territory. Now, it’s more appealing to a larger swathe of workers and more trusted by employers as a reasonable way to work.
Not all employees want to continue to work remotely. Some found remote work challenges untenable, like social isolation, juggling children engaged in at-home learning, or sharing a space with roommates. However, for many, the advantages of remote work far outstripped the drawbacks, causing them to pursue a future of remote working.
Prerequisites for successful remote working
If you’re currently wondering how to ask your employer to work remotely post-pandemic, this set of tips will help direct your steps toward full-time remote work.
There are several prerequisites you should consider before asking your employer to stay remote post-pandemic:
- Asking your employer to work remotely typically requires that you’re an employee in good standing, as working remotely necessitates a higher level of trust than those working in an office setting.
- If you were able to perform your duties well while working from home during the pandemic, you’ll have a greater chance of a positive response.
- You’re committed to working remotely in the future. If your employer gives you the opportunity to work remotely, you might not have a desk to return to should you change your mind later.
- You have a suitable remote working set-up, whether at home or a co-working space. Remote working requires a space that’s suitable for completing your work each day, including a reliable internet connection and a quiet space for making phone calls or engaging in deep work.
- Your job doesn’t require daily in-person interaction, such as a retail or service role. If your duties require you to be physically in your place of work, your employer likely won’t be able to accommodate a remote work request.
If you believe you and your workplace satisfy these prerequisites, you’re ready to request remote working post-pandemic.
How to ask your boss to work remotely in the future
These recommendations should help you determine a plan for requesting remote work from your employer:
- Request a meeting with your boss: Changes to the way you do your job shouldn’t be undertaken via email or internal instant messaging like Slack. Instead, ask your boss if it’s possible to schedule a meeting to discuss potential ways to improve the way you work. Come prepared to actively request remote work and make your case.
- Prepare information beforehand: Preparation is your best offense in this situation. You’ll want to outline the reasons you believe remote work will suit you and your ability to do your role. You can either send this information to your boss beforehand or discuss it with them during the meeting — sending it ahead of time might give your boss more time to digest it rather than receiving it on the spot. Start with the following:
- Highlight how you working remotely will benefit the company
- Outline your job functions and how they can be better performed remotely
- List ways remote work will increase productivity for your particular situation, including the possibility of undertaking deep work without distraction
- Address any potential concerns your employer might have and offer solutions
- Be ready to address certain objections: If you can, prepare for your boss to raise objections. The following are worth considering before you meet with your boss:
- If your boss is concerned that you won’t be reachable when needed, you can outline your specific working hours and digital communication tools that can help you stay reachable during work hours.
- If they feel that your job can’t be done remotely, highlight each function of your role and explain how they can be done from home.
- If they fear you will be less productive when working remotely, you can bring up previous productivity during the pandemic. Propose plans for keeping your employer apprised of your progress at regular intervals.
Propose a hybrid work compromise or remote work trial
If your employer isn’t completely sold on the idea of you continuing to work remotely, you can propose a hybrid work schedule that meshes with your team work methods. If you know that your team meets monthly at a certain day or time, proposing a specific schedule that allows you to join your team and contribute in person might be more amenable to your boss.
Likewise, suggesting a trial run of working remotely for a period of a few weeks or a month can be a good way to determine whether this set-up will work for both employee and employer. A trial run can also be helpful as employers try to allocate office space moving forward with the future of remote work in mind. It’s important to remember that if you choose to work remotely, there may not be a desk waiting for you if you change your mind.
Use Wrike to keep remote work on track
Wrike offers remote working solutions to keep employees connected and collaborating, wherever they’re based. Thanks to instant @mentions and real-time commenting, employers and employees can keep in touch and monitor progress. Automated requests cut out constant check-in emails, while custom reports enable employers to track their team’s progress anytime. Try Wrike for free today, and let our collaborative work management software drive you into the future of remote work.