Some people are slowly losing their ever-lovin’ minds trying to work from home. Granted, those folks probably have small children running amuck in the house. But there is a contingency of worker bees out there who have embraced this newfound work-from-home-way-of-life.
Once the world is unleashed to return to cubicles and offices, how do you deftly and politely let your boss know that, well, there’s no place like home—uh, to work, that is? We let a few highfalutin HR wonks and recruiting managers chime in with tips and techniques on how to broach the subject accordingly:
Stephanie Terry, regional vice president, Adecco NA:
Tips: “Any good boss is going to look directly at productivity and how it looked during the quarantine. It will be important to track your productivity while in quarantine and create the business plan/need that shows how you excel in this type of environment and outline the benefits to the boss and the business. Example? If you’re a salesperson who’s able to make 30 more calls/day instead of commuting, which created 15 new opportunities where you closed eight with total revenue of $1m, this would be something that shows value and benefit to the business.”
Techniques: Schedule weekly one-on-one calls with your boss with an agenda attached that shows what you want to cover. Use these calls to outline how you are structuring your day, go over any questions/issues you might have and to make sure you are on the same page with each other about what the expectations are and that you are meeting them. As you are doing this, you can have a dialogue about what is working and how you want to continue working from home.”
Jessica Sanders, implementation and operations manager, RemX, Workforce Experts:
Tips: “Point out your successes. Maybe look at your metrics prior to working from home and now—and if they increased, that is a valid point. Also, point out if coverage outside of your working hours is ever needed, you are willing to bridge that gap. Make it known you are available to work outside of the normal hours, clock in early if needed, etc. With taking out commute time, it would allow last-minute coverage instantly.”
Techniques: “Be honest. If you excelled in your time at home, this will be an easier conversation. While working at home, go above and beyond. Do your best work now so you have leverage once quarantine is over. If the answer is no, ask if there can be goals/steps put in place to achieve to allow you to earn this—or a plan of attack. Along the way continue being a positive part of the team. Don’t convey negativity about being told no now.”
Dory Winn, director of HR, PHR
Tips: “This pandemic has pushed employers to rethink the remote working (if they were opposed to it before). I feel it has been way eye-opening to this remote employee workforce. Talk to your boss about setting a schedule and structure. Why? This lockdown forced many to jump headfirst into the work from home and hindsight some more structure may have been needed. Try an updated/revised schedule you and your manager come up with for 30/60 days or whatever and then revisit and make edits as needed. But be aware—there may be a wave of people asking the same thing. Think about your role. The key to working from home is that your work is not negatively impacted but also that your peers who rely on you as well are also not negatively impacted. This is not just your job in a vacuum—as working from home could impact other’s jobs—so think through all angles as you talk to your boss.”
Jenn Toro, HR business partner, MMGY Global
Techniques: “First, make sure it’s working for them, too. It has to be mutually beneficial. Think about what you’ll need to continue to do to be successful from home and be prepared to share that as an action plan. Thus, if you’ve been getting feedback about your need to communicate more or differently (whether you were in the office or not before), think about how you might need to grow to make that happen in a home/work setting. If you have a plan and you’re adding value to the company consistently, they’re much more likely to support your request. Be flexible about what your request looks like and consider a longer trial period once social distancing restrictions have been lifted. That will allow you and your employer to make sure it continues to work for everyone.”
—Interviews condensed and minimally edited for clarity.