How to Negotiate Work From Home Arrangements for You and Your Team

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 21, 2024 at 7:55PM UTC

Eighty-seven percent of people want to be able to continue remote work of some variety, according to a survey by Morning Council. In fact, nearly 50% of respondents would consider leaving a role if they did not have access to virtual work. 

We are in an age when remote work is no longer a rarity, and more and more employees want their organizations to make it a permanent fixture. If you’re a manager, you’re in a position to negotiate on behalf of your team — and make remote work a possibility.

Negotiating work-from-home arrangements — here's what to say: 

1. “My team’s productivity and collaboration would not suffer.”

One of the worries employers underscore is that productivity won’t be up to par. In reality, though, plenty of research suggests that productivity doesn’t suffer and could in fact increase through remote work.

One survey finds that 77% of workers report increased productivity when they work from home, with performance increasing up to 13%.

“Quantify and qualify the work you've accomplished on a work-from-home trial or mandate,” Ray Luther, executive director of the Partnership for Coaching Excellence and Personal Leadership at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, suggests. “How productive have you been on your own? How have you worked with co-workers to learn through the new office systems? Where have you helped develop solutions to the challenges that work from home has potentially caused?” 

2. “Research shows clear benefits for remote work.”

In fact, research shows clear benefits for employees and employers alike. Along with increased productivity, employers see enormous cost benefits, saving millions by reducing overhead and infrastructure costs. Plus, 60% of employees say their work-life balance has improved — and happier employees mean less turnover and stronger retention, a win-win for everyone. Don’t forget about the environment, either; employees are reducing their carbon footprint without a daily commute.

3. “We have the skillsets.”

Susan Peppercorn, an executive career transition coach and speaker, advises employees and managers to document their skillsets and capabilities, including qualities like virtual collaboration, to demonstrate how they can make the arrangement successful without extensive training. This is critical because it shows your employer that they (and you) won’t need to put additional effort into managing or building skills.

4. “I’ve prepared an action plan.”

Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and the legwork so your employer doesn’t have to. Collect hard facts and formulate a plan, showing how the remote work scenario would work (down to the smallest details), why it makes sense and the obvious benefits. By putting in this effort you’re making it easier for your employer to say yes and to actually put the plan into action immediately.

Be flexible — and be a team player.

Be persistent but flexible.

"Understand that you may have to ask more than once,” explains Rhiannon Staples, CMO of Hibob. “Negotiations, in general, aren't easy and often take time and energy to achieve the outcome you really desire. But it's important you don't see the lack of immediate approval as a reason to give up." 

Even if your employer isn’t immediately amenable to the idea, they could be willing to compromise, such as by allowing work-from-home arrangements a few days per week. Be open to compromise — think of it as a starting point. If it goes well, perhaps your leaders will make it a permanent policy.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance editor and writer based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab-mix Hercules. She primarily focuses on education, technology and career development. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Fairygodboss, CollegeVine, BairesDev and many other publications and organizations. Her humor writing has appeared in the Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Flexx Magazine, Points in Case, Jane Austen's Wastebasket, and Greener Pastures. She also writes fiction and essays, which have appeared in publications including The Memoirist and The Avalon Literary Review. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

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