Interest in working from home has been on the rise among marketers in recent years. A quick search across social media and other networks yields a litany of questions on the topic. And many of those questions seem to stem from frustration with inflexible employers.
I’ve seen countless tales of folks being denied the chance to work from home. And they had good reasons. Stories of avoiding long commutes, family dependencies, or medical conveniences. There’s even a collective voice resonating from the disabled community on this topic. They describe how heartbroken they are for the lack of compassion in their companies.
Whatever the logic, it’s even more unfortunate to see how managers respond:
“We need you here.”
“A virtual option is not possible with this position.”
“You were hired to be in the office.”
The state of affairs since COVID
Such an empty “no” can leave any employee discouraged. But then COVID hit, and working from home is at an all time high. Companies the world over were nothing short of forced to send their staff home. And all those jobs that were not virtual now are.
But this begs the question. What’s with all those jobs where working from home wasn’t possible? You knew that you could make it work. But your supervisor wasn’t so keen to give it a try. Now that working from home was the only option, it seems that a lot of supervisors have eaten crow.
It’s been months since COVID first broke out. Some of the workforce is returning back to the office. But there’s a silver lining in this pandemic. Now many marketers have gotten a taste for the possibilities that exist. Perhaps the freedom you discovered while working from home is something you don’t wish to give up. You even noticed that you were more productive. Maybe your boss noticed too. Now you’re feeling more emboldened to make a case for working from home on a permanent basis. But how do you do that?
Coming up with a plan for working from home
First of all, I would hope that your output in working from home didn’t suffer. If making your case is going to leave an impression, your yield certainly needs to have increased.
And if it’s documented, that’s even better. Having some sort of trail that shows the uptick in your metrics sets you off to a good start. If you’re still working from home but you see some opportunities to do better, then get on it. Whether it’s projects completed or hours billed, do what it takes to get those numbers to peak. Your work/life balance will depend on it.
Prepping your case
Once you have your numbers compiled, it’s time to put a proposal together. Make sure you that you highlight the “wins” you’ve had since working from home. Also, it’s not a bad idea to point out any other benefits such as the following.
- No commute means you can be ready for the day earlier and there’ll be less absenteeism.
- Reduces company expenses (savings on equipment, for example.)
- You wouldn’t go out for lunch because you’d be at home, thus, more accessible.
- Keep employees longer.
- Less need for spiffs and perks. (That expensive game room in your modern office was collecting dust anyway.)
- Higher morale
- Better for the environment (think corporate carpool programs.)
Plus, other employees in your organization may have already worked from home in other circumstances. Think of women that took maternity leave or similar situations. Those facts can be another arrow in your quiver too.
What’s at stake with working from home
But before you approach your boss, you have to make a decision about what you’ll do for any outcome. If the boss agrees, that’s great. But what if she doesn’t? If she doesn’t approve, are you going to cower back to your desk? Or are you prepared to leave the company over it?
I know it could be hard. But honestly, you didn’t come this far for it not to be the latter. If you’ve proven a good output and you are still turned down, it indicates you’re under-valued. Do you want to work at a place where you’re not appreciated?
This is the essence of what is called the BATNA principle. BATNA stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. In other words – walk away power. You know you’re a good employee. You know you do great work. And you know there is no reason that you can’t continue to work from home. Yet your boss looks at the data and still wants to cling to old conventions. At this point, you have to be prepared to have uncomfortable conversations. Them refusing to acknowledge the logic falls under that sentiment.
And now it’s time for negotiation. Don’t forget, your mentality as you approach your boss should be this:
– Let me work remotely because you value me or I’m out of here because there is no reason to say “no.”
This speaks to a lot of things. It shows that you won’t discount your value. It also shows that you’re not putting up with archaic thinking or lack of willingness to innovate. Of which, are two things that makes or breaks marketing as a whole. (Might be worth reminding your supervisor of that as you’re walking out the door.)
When I went through this with my manager at an old employer, it was interesting to see their reaction. You see, they had told me I could work from home before even taking the job. But I never did end up working remotely. You wouldn’t believe how shocked they were when I told them to grant what they promised or I was leaving. They seemed to think that I wasn’t serious. I was. And I ended up giving my two weeks notice.