Imagine having a job where you didn’t have to spend money on things like gas, a professional wardrobe, or pricey lunches? Where you didn’t have to deal with a difficult daily commute, were spared the drama of office politics, and were able to make your health and other personal needs a priority—all while getting your work done?
Welcome to the world of remote work, a way of working that can make your life better.
Once considered a work perk, work flexibility is a very real thing that the vast majority of today’s workers want. While it might seem that employees are the ones to gain from flexible work, it’s actually quite beneficial for companies too. From major savings (around $11,000 per telecommuting employee), to being able to attract and retain talent from anywhere in the world, many businesses have adopted flexible hiring and work practices to remain competitive in the global market.
Even Bill Gates has weighed in on the importance of work flexibility. He stated:
“The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.”
For those seeking remote work options, you have a lot to gain. In fact, by telecommuting, the typical worker stands to save around $6,000 annually. Some of this number roughly breaks down as follows:
- Gas: $686
- Professional Wardrobe: $1,000
- Lunches/Snacks/Coffee: $1,000
But apart from the financial savings, remote workers can reap so much more when they don’t have to trudge into an office every day. For starters, your productivity will soar. Studies have shown time and time again that people who work from home are more productive than their office-bound peers. Plus, your stress levels will go down. After all, if you’re not facing a crushing commute every day, can drop your kids off at school, and can start your workday after your morning jog, you’re truly getting to experience work-life balance.
Now, let’s say that you have a job that you love—but would also love the chance to work from home. There are ways to convince your employer to let you work remotely and make your life better. Here are a few tips:
Do your research.
Asking for the ability to work remotely might seem like a long shot, especially if no one else on your team is currently working from home. That’s why you need to find out if your company has a flexible work policy in place—and how receptive the company is to allowing people to work remotely.
Time it right.
No one likes to be ambushed first thing on a Monday morning. So consider the timing of your request to make sure that you get a more favorable response. If you know that your boss tends to be more relaxed on Fridays at 4:00 p.m., schedule your meeting for that time.
Prep your pitch.
You’ll have to do your homework if you want your boss to take your work-from-home request seriously. Review your job and see what components could successfully be done remotely. Then, when speaking to your boss, explain how you can make the transition from the office to your home office with ease.
Be flexible—and available.
Although you’d like to turn your full-time office job into a full-time, remote one, you might not get your request granted right away. So even if you have your heart set on working from home ASAP, you should be prepared to negotiate with your boss. Ask if you can work from home at least one day a week to start (like on a Friday or a day when things tend to be calmer in the office). Then, when your boss sees that you’re maintaining your productivity—and you’re also reachable by phone or email—he may be more receptive to increasing the hours or days that you can work remotely.
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