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How to Negotiate a Work From Home Agreement

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WRITTEN BY
Bitcatcha Guest
UPDATED
October 04, 2022

Love it or loathe it – remote working has become a lot more viable since Covid-19.

 

Employees can be just as (or more!) productive working from home as in an office , and a lot of people really want to swap the rush hour commute for a short, sweet journey from bed to computer.

 

Are you one of them?

 

 

How To Negotiate A Work From Home Agreement

 

Before you consider switching jobs, why not try and negotiate a work from home agreement with your
employer?

 

Let us tell you how:

 

Step 1: Review your WFH position

 

Before you start negotiating, make sure that you fully understand your work-from-home position. Asking yourself these
questions may help:

 

  • Are you as productive at home as you would be in the office?
  • Can you do your job effectively at home?
  • Are you more productive at home than you would be in the office?
  • Are you already working from home?
  • What changes / accommodations would
    your employer and colleagues need to make for you to work effectively from home?
  • How would working from home be an advantage for you and your employer?

 

You might have to be brutally honest with yourself at this stage – because the simple fact is that some jobs are easier
to do from home than others.

 

For example, if you work as a web developer, it’s relatively easy to access the (digital) tools you need at home. If you’re a vehicle mechanic, on the other hand, you do kind of have to be there to wield those (physical) tools. An extreme example, perhaps, but a point worth making!

 

work form home meme about pilot

Credit: Man of Many

 

If your review reveals that working from home is viable for you and your employer, you’re in a strong position. Your position is even stronger if you are or have worked from home for a prolonged period recently (pandemic, anyone?), and can therefore prove how productive you can be remotely.

 

Now it’s time to think about what your ideal remote working situation would look like.

 

 

Step 2: Outline what you hope to gain from working from home

 

What, exactly, is it about working from home that’s so appealing?

 

One thing that the pandemic revealed is the vast differences in the ways we work. For example, mental wellness with remote working has been a huge topic. Some people really suffered away from the hustle, bustle, and gossip of the office environment, while others found that their stress levels massively reduced when able to work in their own space.

 

By working out why working from home is so effective for you, you can build a persuasive case for your employer. Rather than shrugging and saying ‘I just prefer it’ when asked why you want to work from home, you can provide a solid list of reasons.

 

Some common reasons why people prefer to work from home include:

 

  1. Introversion
    Introverts are not antisocial – far from it! But they are quickly ‘drained’ of energy by too much socializing. Introverts flourish working from home because their energy, motivation, and productivity aren’t constantly drained by others.
  2. Distraction-free environment
    Of course, not all homes are less distracting than an office! But if yours is, you may relish the chance to work uninterrupted and undistracted.
  3. Flexibility
    Everyone’s circadian rhythm is different. Some of us are more productive at 10am, some at 10pm. Remote work can often give you the flexibility to work when you’re at your most alert, energized, and productive. So long as the work gets done in time, why should the 9-5 matter? With the flexibility to work when you’re at your best, the work you do will ultimately be better.
  4. More time with loved ones
    This may not seem like a win for your employer. However, in the long-run, it really is. The quality time you get to spend with your loved ones has a huge impact on both your mental wellness and your attendance at work. For example, rather than having to take a full day off to nurse a sick child, when working from home you can weave your work around childcare, resulting in a net gain for your employer.
  5. More time in bed
    This isn’t as spurious as it sounds! Your sleep is really important. If you’re not having to force yourself out of bed at 6am to wrestle with rush-hour traffic, you’re doing your sleep health and your mental health a huge favor. You’ll also be doing your employer a favor by being properly rested when you’re working (and, ultimately, the net benefit for their company is what will be persuasive for your employer).

 

 

Step 3: Consider the advantages for your employer

 

You might have noticed a theme throughout this article so far – framing the benefits of remote work in terms of productivity. This might seem mercenary, but the fact is that your employer’s main concern will be for their bottom line. In order to prove yourself to your employer, you first need to prove that working from home will benefit your employer.

 

So, the trick is to look for ways in which your reasons for wanting to work from home will be a positive thing for the company.

 

Usually, this is pretty easy – the more rested, stress-free, and comfortable you are, the better your work will be. Less revenge-bedtime-procrastination means more profitable-morning-working.

 

You could also note ways in which remote working actively helps employers and companies. For example, they may have fewer overheads to pay on their premises, and the tech that’s developed around remote working is, honestly, fantastic. From voice calling to video calling to emails or project/team-management apps, it’s easy to be in constant contact with your colleagues without the bother of a commute. You don’t even have to minute video-meetings these days – ai meeting minutes does it all for you!

 

Similarly, remote companies have flourished during the pandemic. No longer does everything have to be done in-house, and lots of companies are now hiring purely remote workers. A lot of web-development companies now use remote mobile app testing services, for example.

 

This can work in your favor – as a remote worker, it won’t be hard for you to find work elsewhere. An advantage of remote work for your employer can be as simple as the fact that they won’t lose workers to more flexible companies.

 

benefits of remote work for employers

 

 

Step 4: Prepare your proposal

 

Once you have taken all these steps, you will have a good understanding of what both you and your employer could gain from a working from home agreement.

 

You may also have figured out some challenges your working from home may present for both parties. If so, you are in a strong position as you will be able to anticipate and solve your employer’s possible objections.

 

The way in which you present your proposal will depend a lot on the way your company handles employee/employer relations. However, the better prepared you are, the stronger your negotiating position will be.

 

There are some key things, though, that you should definitely include in your proposal:

 

  1. Your schedule
    this should include the hours you plan to work, which shouldn’t be too different from what you’re already doing. If you don’t plan on working 100% from home, you need to include the days you’ll be in the office.
  2. Impact on colleagues
    in your proposal there needs to be details of how you’re going to handle your day to day communications with your team. Very few of us work in complete isolation and your team needs to know they can still rely on you to get the job done and how they can communicate with you.
  3. How you’ll handle security
    in today’s technological world, staying secure online is essential. Any company that handles sensitive data will not approve a work from home proposal if you can’t assure them it will be handled securely – whether it’s through using a password manager, or observing specific business protocols. If you’re not sure how to do this, why not speak to someone in your IT department for some advice?
  4. Home office
    your employer needs to know that you have everything in place to continue performing as you have always done. If you’re going to be participating in client meetings via video call, your boss needs to know that you have noise cancelling headphones, microphone and an internet connection that won’t let you down.

 

Don’t underestimate the power of images. If you have any handy statistics to support your request, think about including charts or other visual aids to enforce your arguments.

 

 

Step 5: Present your proposal

 

Once you’ve put together a solid proposal, you need to request a meeting with your boss. Make this official and send an email outlining the purpose for the meeting. Put aside enough time to get your arguments across and consider rehearsing your pitch with a friend or family member so you’re fully prepared.

 

Be warned – your employer may well negotiate back! For example, they may resent having to research how to manage a remote workforce, or be concerned about downtime when they can’t actively monitor you.

 

To really prove yourself to your employer, use all your research and preparation to demonstrate that the quality of your work does not drop off when working remotely (even better – prove that it improves!).

 

You can further prove yourself by anticipating your employer’s concerns and counteracting them in negotiation. For example, if your employer is concerned that it’s too hard to manage homeworkers, you can suggest certain techniques that make remote management easy.

 

Remember, this isn’t an argument! This is a negotiation. You will have to give some, and so will your employer. However, if you’re prepared to compromise, and to agree to certain conditions (in our experience, these usually revolve around monitoring and management), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get your wish of working from home!

 

compromise your wants and needs

Credit: Cio-Office

 

 

Good luck with your negotiation!

 

If your work can be done effectively, within deadline, and to a high quality from home, there’s no reason why your employer shouldn’t allow you to work from home.

 

Every negotiation takes some give and take. For example, they might ask you to log your hours, or to be always available on certain days/at certain times. If you can bear that kind of thing, it might be a price worth paying for the dream of working from home.

 

The better prepared you are going into your negotiation, the better your chance of succeeding. We wish you luck – go get that work/life balance! You deserve it!

 

 

This post was written by Jessica Day

 

Jessica Day

Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities.
 
Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.
 

 

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