Working remotely has enabled my husband and I to spend time with our daughter, build a home-based business and eventually, live a location independent lifestyle of almost permanent travel.
If this appeals to you, a trial run working remotely or telecommuting could provide you the experience of working outside of a structured office environment, without quitting your day job.
The key to success is to proactively address any fears and concerns of those who feel they’ll be impacted by your remote working. These steps that can help you break your corporate shackles, work from wherever you chose, and avoid burning bridges.
You could sit at your desk, forever wondering whether remote working is something your employers or clients would go for. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
The fear of rejection is the biggest deterrent to getting what you want. Even if get a “no”, you’re no better or worse off, and you no longer need to waste the time and energy wondering about this. There is, however, a smart way to go about asking and increase your chances of getting a yes.
2. Present your case professionally
The way you make your case will either demonstrate that you’re not ready to ready to work remotely or that you’re not making the request just so you can work from home in your pajamas. Timing is also important; remote working can be a great negotiating point at times of transition such as reviews, promotions, contract re-negotiations and feedback sessions.
A successful proposal is to have all angles and potential queries covered, to demonstrate you’ve thought this through from both sides of the coin. Your proposal should be simple and include a summary of what you’re proposing, detail the benefits for you, the larger organization and the clients, and details regarding what tools and resources will be required. Make sure you research the HR policies, how you will communicate with the team, and how you will be held accountable.
3. Put processes and fall-back arrangements in place
Negotiating a remote working agreement doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Your employers or clients will need to know that if it doesn’t work out, there are fall backs in place to cover this. That may mean returning to the office or mean scaling back the level of responsibility.
Some of the key processes you’ll need to cover include:
- Communication: This is obviously a vital area. Working remotely does not mean you are out of sight and out of mind. You will need to ensure that you can be contacted and that you are responsive when contacted — especially in the beginning — to allay any initial fears that you’ll be incommunicado.
- Documentation: If your role requires the processing of documents, you’ll need to figure out how to do this remotely. It may require trips to the office or it could be a good opportunity for your company to explore cloud complatforms.
- Collaboration: Along with communication, if you need to collaborate and work others, you will need to implement processes and find tools to do this effectively and efficiently.
While you can plan for many potential issues, you can never cover them all,- so the key to making remote working a success is to remain flexible and be willing to iron out the kinks throughout the process.
4. Organize a test run
Before you go all out for a remote working agreement, organize a trial run — maybe one or two days a week for a limited period. This works well for both sides: you get to experience what it’s like out of the office environment and your employers/clients are given a chance to see if it’s a viable option.
It may seem like the dream arrangement for you but don’t forget that you’ll have no co-workers and colleagues to banter with at the water cooler, you won’t have access to the office equipment and you’ll still need to be disciplined to ensure you deliver what’s expected of you. This will also give you a good idea of whether or not you have the motivation and discipline to be your own boss — two critical components for success when you go it alone.