How to ask your boss if you can keep working from home as offices reopen

student working from home
There are benefits to working from home, but make sure you don’t just want to escape.

  • As business leaders call teams back to the office, many employees are hesitant to give up WFH.
  • If you want to ask your boss for a flexible work schedule, be clear about how it will benefit you both.
  • Also consider if staying home is really what you want – and what’s best for your career advancement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The email from your boss that you’ve been dreading has finally landed in your inbox. It’s the message announcing the date everyone in your company is expected to be back in the office full time. So, what’s the problem? You don’t want to go. The past year has shown you that work-from-home life is the life for you. You’ve come to love the freedom and flexibility and you’re convinced you’re now a better employee, too. The question is: How do you convince your boss?

You may be tempted to drop an ultimatum and say, “If you make me go back to the office full time, I’ll quit.” But your company could call your bluff, and if you enjoy your job and you’re paid well, walking away may not be the answer.

So how do you ask your boss for a flexible work schedule without looking like you’re asking for special treatment?

First, remember that you’re not asking for something outlandish.

“I think a lot of leaders know we don’t want to go back, and many corporations have had flexible or hybrid work environments for a long time,” said Kimberly Cummings, founder of the professional development company Manifest Yourself. “So don’t feel like you’re being a diva or asking for too much.”

Read more: 7 things you should do when negotiating a work-from-home agreement with your boss – and 4 things to avoid, according to a negotiations expert and MBA professor

Do your homework

You must lead the conversation about a flexible work schedule with a discussion of what you bring to the table, not just what you want and why you want it.

“The biggest thing that people forget is that you’re negotiating based upon value, not overall desire,” Cummings said. “Think about what you’ve accomplished over the past year. Think about how you’ve proven that you’re able to work remotely.”

Approach the conversation armed with evidence, too.

“Show examples of how your productivity increased and how having a flexible work schedule made you a better worker,” said Martha Underwood, founder of ExecutivEstrogen, a mentorship program for women in corporate America.

Maybe you work in customer service and your flexible schedule allows you more time to research complex issues and give customers a more thorough response to their questions.

The goal is to show your employer how a flexible work schedule would benefit them as much as it helps you.

The work-from-home boom will lift productivity in the US economy by 5%, according to one study. A recent survey by PwC found that 83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.

Underwood says it won’t hurt to present findings like these to your boss, too.

“And so many women have dropped out of the workplace that it benefits employers to allow the flexibility to keep strong women talent in the ranks,” Underwood said.

When asking your boss for a flexible work schedule, clarity is key.

“Give a full proposal about what your schedule will look like,” Cummings said. “Are you looking to never come back or are you looking to only come back when there are important meetings?”

If you’re open to coming back into the office for some meetings, say so.

“Bosses want to have a sense of a team,” Cummings said.

Is working from home the best option for you?

Before talking to your boss about keeping your work-from-home life alive, do some soul searching to be sure it’s the best fit for you.

“Were you OK working remotely? A lot of people were not,” Cummings said. “As a people leader myself, I 100% agree why some leaders want their team to come back. A lot of workers like flexibility, but they took advantage.”

If you were at the bar with your friends before the workday was done – and before your work was complete – you may want to start by proposing a hybrid schedule of working from home just a couple of days per week.

“Offer to do a trial of this for 90 days and then reassess if it works,” Cummings said.

Superstar employees need to also weigh the pros and cons of remote work.

If you have your sights on promotion opportunities or if your job has a relationship-driven company culture, being out of the office all the time could hinder your advancement.

“You have to know the culture of your organization and if it would be beneficial for you to pop your head in sometimes just to make sure they see your face and you have some of that in-person connection,” Cummings said.

There are ways to stand out even when working from home. Ask great questions in virtual meetings. When a meeting is cancelled or ends early, use that time to hop on a call with a leader at your company.

“You have to be proactive and build those relationships,” Cummings said.

Take some time to consider why you truly want to work from home, too. Do you simply enjoy the freedom and flexibility or were you miserable at work?

“Make sure you’re not just trying to escape,” Cummings said. Does your job allow you to work according to your strengths, passions, and skills? If not, it may be time to dust off the resume.

Cummings’ new book, “Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love,” is all about helping professionals navigate the world of work.

“It is possible to find a career and a job that you love,” Cummings said. “If you can’t find joy in the day-to-day work you have, working remotely may not solve that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 of the best strategies to use when negotiating for a new job offer

young professional working from home on laptop
Negotiating a job offer is all about business, so don’t shy away from asking for what you want.

  • If you’ve been given a new job offer recently, take time to consider the overall compensation package.
  • Be ready to prove your value to an employer when negotiating for higher pay or additional benefits.
  • Understand that negotiation is a compromise, so don’t take low offers personally and stand up for what you’re worth.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

After a year full of swift changes to our working lives, where flexibility was demanded and anxiety was handed out in generous doses, most working professionals are looking forward to brighter days ahead. In some cases, we’re looking for a brand new job that will be more fulfilling, more lucrative, and more exciting. But just as the pandemic has shifted many aspects of how various industries function, it’s also impacted hiring and onboarding.

Now more than ever, employees need to weigh the overall compensation package they’re being offered, and make sure they have a complete understanding of how office policies may shift once COVID is behind us. For example, will you still be allowed to work remotely, work a flexible schedule, or have your home internet or gym membership paid for by the company? It may be that after having spent an extended period of time working remotely or unemployed, your priorities have shifted. And to win your dream job offer, you’ll need to exercise the fine art of negotiation.

We spoke with career experts to better understand the best approach to job offer negotiation. Consider this your 101 guide.

1. Know – and own – your value

First things first: before you can go to battle for what you want in this job negotiation, you need to have a firm understanding of your value. And most importantly, you should be confident in what you bring to the table. Teresa Sabatine, an empowerment and leadership coach, says because it’s a competitive job market right now and many talented people are on the job hunt, having confidence in your abilities is a critical component of getting the gig. In other words, you’ll need to fight imposter syndrome like your job depends on it. (Because it does.)

Sabatine recommends asking yourself these questions:

  1. What have I done to drive business results in the past?
  2. How did I make an impact?
  3. What is unique about me that helped me drive those results?
  4. How does that experience and success translate to the role I am applying for now or that is on offer?

Once you have your answers, back ’em up with stats and proof. “It’s important to have that data and rely on it because when we are in actual negotiations and interviews, we can get in our heads and forget what we bring to the table,” she said. “The people negotiating with you are hoping you know what you are talking about; they want you to be good at what you do and know your value.”

2. Get clear about post-pandemic changes

One of the trickiest parts of new job offer negotiation in the current landscape is all of the unknowns. Right now, you’ll be expected to work remotely, but what happens when offices reopen? Will you be required to come in every day? Do you want to commute again? If you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, does the company offer a stipend for your office setup? If not, do you need one – and should you negotiate for it?

When you have an offer, it’s essential to ask specific questions about tactical aspects of the job that are pandemic-specific, according to Christine Cruzvergara, the vice president of higher education and student success at Handshake.

“Explore whether there is a difference in compensation if you’re remote – do they have a philosophy on that, and what it might mean for your pay in the future?” she recommended. “Are there benefits or flexibility that you require in the near term, such as special equipment or unconventional hours, that you want to include in your negotiation? Not only will specific answers help you understand the terms of the negotiation, but it will also make you seem detail-oriented and clear in your communication.”

3. Know your points for compromise

You’re not going to get everything you ask for in any job negotiation, but to give yourself the best shot at walking away happy, Sabatine recommends exploring what matters the most to you, what wiggle room you’re comfortable with, and pinpointing your non-negotiables. Just keep in mind that there’s much more to consider than just your paycheck.

“Businesses may be having to tighten budgets, which means they might be offering non-compensated compensation to get great talent. Maybe they have upped the equity stake you get in the company. Maybe they are offering really flexible work hours in exchange for lower compensation, or there is an option for a robust bonus structure,” she explained.

For example, if your goal was to make $150,000 annually, but a company you love is offering you $105,000 per year to work your ideal job, Sabatine suggests asking yourself what might make up the difference. If the company would offer you a four-day workweek, would that be enough?

“Is it worth that loss in compensation because it means you get to be with your kids or you get to pursue your side hustle?” she added.

4. Don’t internalize the job offer negotiations

Repeat after Sabatine: Negotiating a job offer is all business. All too often, people – women especially – shy away from asking for what they really want out of a job because they don’t want to appear greedy, or as if they aren’t thankful for the opportunity. If that sounds like you, it’s time to shift that line of thinking and remember your worth and what you deserve.

“You are not lucky to be offered a job; you are talented and have something to offer in exchange for payment,” she said. “It’s important to understand the role, the market value compensation for that job, and the results you can get for that company.”

When an offer comes, state what you would like to make, then await the company’s next move. No low-balling yourself, no back-tracking, just confidence. You are worth every penny – and then some.

Read the original article on Business Insider