Author Topic: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?  (Read 571 times)

legalstache

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Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« on: June 03, 2020, 10:34:36 AM »
I've been fortunate to be able to work from home while my office has been closed the last couple months. I've really enjoyed the flexibility and other perks of WFH, and now am considering ways to negotiate the ability to WFH permanently once the COVID crisis ends (assuming my company and job still exist then, of course).

I'd be curious to hear from people who've negotiated WFH roles in their jobs as to how the conversation went. I realize this is probably such a case-by-case thing that general tips may not be that useful, but I think I could benefit from others' perspectives. 

I work in a small office and we don't have a general WFH policy. Before COVID, we had one FTE who worked remotely because she relocated to the other side of the country. She's in a different role than me, though. I'm a lawyer and feel like my value to the company is objectively measurable by my billable hours, which have basically been the same since I started WFH 2 months ago. Otherwise, my company doesn't require a lot of face time. I'm fine coming in for the occasional work or client meeting, but would love if my default could be WFH. I feel like my WFH the past 2 months has been a fairly seamless change in most respects. I'm still in regular contact with my colleagues, clients, etc., but by phone instead of in person.

I would plan to sell this to my superiors as something that allows me to maintain the same level of productivity while giving me additional flexibility. The main inconvenience to them would be having to call/email me instead of seeing me in my office, but that seems like a minor concern, and when I was actually in the office, I could go days without face to face contact with my bosses anyway.

Any suggestions on how to make this a reality would be great. It seems like the general idea would be to play up the ways this benefits the company and be ready to address potential concerns.

FLBiker

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 02:14:47 PM »
It sounds like you have the right idea.  I recently switched to a position that could work from home because my family is moving from the US to Canada.  Then COVID happen, and my move was delayed (now July instead of May) but everyone is working from home.  For me, it was really just about finding a way to make it work in terms of all the technicalities (ie working from another country).  My bosses were all supportive, as it gave them a way to keep me rather than lose me (because I was moving regardless).  As I write that, I see that my situation is thus a bit different -- I was going to either quit or WFH, which I think made WFH more attractive to them.  The "keep me in the office" option wasn't on the table.

Regardless, I think you have the right idea.  Point out the benefits, address the concerns.  Actually, it might also be good to bring in a bit of "research" -- there is lots out there re: the added productivity of work from home folks.  I just read Deep Work and I think it's very compatible with working from home -- I feel like I get more done because folks aren't always dropping by my office.

Good luck!

socaso

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 04:24:00 PM »
Although I have not negotiated something like this my job puts me in contact with owners, managers and decision makers at all kinds of businesses and they are all telling me WFH is going well and they anticipate that they may permanently have a percentage of their people mostly work from home and have occasional days in the office. I tell you this to encourage you because the time is right for people who want to work from home. Don't be afraid to broach the subject. The management is very likely discussing it now.

FatFI2025

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 10:41:46 AM »
I would plan to sell this to my superiors as something that allows me to maintain the same level of productivity while giving me additional flexibility. The main inconvenience to them would be having to call/email me instead of seeing me in my office, but that seems like a minor concern, and when I was actually in the office, I could go days without face to face contact with my bosses anyway.

That's a bad pitch because it's all about the benefit to you and inconvenience to them. Win-win is always better. An alternative is to highlight that WFH is now proven to work fine and, if the firm embraced WFH, it could save substantial office costs in the long run. That gives you more flex plus more money in partners' pockets. Win-win.

A lot of Mustachians are fans of WFH, but I'm not as a big of a proponent because it's likely to hurt advancement and salary. WFH people can be viewed as less ambitious and committed.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 12:34:52 PM by FatFI2025 »

Junco

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 12:09:41 PM »
I too am looking to make a similar case. I worked from home 2 days a week before Covid, now 5 days a week from home during Covid. It's seemless. There is 0 reason for me to be in the office and I more or less went from disliking my job to thinking its pretty good now that I WFH. I'd like to be full time WFH with the occasional going in or client meeting. To be honest, I will most likely look for another job that is fulltime WFH if my employer doesn't go for it.... though I don't really want to leave so if they want to keep me they should go for it. Hoping to play up the improved productivity card and less office costs thing. I'm their A+ employee so fingers crossed.

legalstache

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 05:00:18 PM »
I appreciate the responses, everyone. Some good ideas about how to approach this and things to consider. Overall, you've given me more confidence in approaching this conversation.

@FatFI2025 you raise a good point about being viewed as possibly less committed or being passed over for advancement. I'd definitely plan to continue my business development/networking efforts (basically all of which take place outside the office, anyway).  Those are essentially the way to advance to being an owner/partner in my firm. Any other thoughts on how to demonstrate commitment/ambition while still asking to WFH?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 05:04:08 PM by legalstache »

FatFI2025

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Re: Tips on Negotiating Work from Home Arrangement?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 08:07:28 AM »
@FatFI2025 you raise a good point about being viewed as possibly less committed or being passed over for advancement. I'd definitely plan to continue my business development/networking efforts (basically all of which take place outside the office, anyway).  Those are essentially the way to advance to being an owner/partner in my firm. Any other thoughts on how to demonstrate commitment/ambition while still asking to WFH?

Nothing better than bringing in new clients and revenue. Sales is really the best thing you can do to move up and demonstrate your value IMO.