Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, everyone was forced to work from home irrespective of the kind of job they were doing. At first, this change was understandably difficult, but gradually people started to figure out how to manage work-life balance. Now, most workers have embraced this new flexible lifestyle and it has become the normal way of life.
You can work from any remote location and still be productive in the comfort of your home (or your vacation spot). All you need is a laptop with a camera, good headphones and an internet connection. Workers save time and money by not having to commute to offices for hours and have more energy to do creative work.
This is the new age we live in, and it has changed the paradigm of work moving forward.
As more people are getting vaccinated, businesses have started to open up and are mandating employees return to work in physical locations, five days a week. This has rubbed many employees the wrong way, as they have gotten so used to working remotely and feel their employers are forcing them to make a change. Many feel they are losing their newfound autonomy, and are going to go back to being “babysat” by management.
According to a recent Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey, 42% of the employees say they will start looking for jobs elsewhere if their current company does not continue to support remote work options. Another survey conducted by LiveCareer found that 81% of the working professionals enjoy working remotely.
Given this situation, how can you convince your boss that you should continue to work remotely?
Do your homework
Before your meeting, ask your boss or HR what precautions the company is taking to ensure the employees are safe within the office. Also, try to get information about the procedures the employer has in place to guarantee employee safety. This will help you decide whether it is safe for you to come into the office.
Track and highlight your productivity
Before having the conversation with your boss, take a couple of weeks and track your work. Make sure you spend work time on high-priority tasks and that you meet important deadlines. Use this data to show your boss how productive you were working from home and would like to continue doing the same.
Clearly express that you will not cause any bottlenecks
It is your responsibility to express with clarity that you will always be available during work hours (just like before) and try your best to ensure your availability will not cause any bottlenecks for the rest of the team members. Give your boss some assurance that you will continue to work towards team goals and deadlines.
Another approach is how you may split up your workday into different hours, which could be beneficial to a team as a whole. Perhaps 4 p.m. is always a little stressful for those with young children, who would be rushing to get home for bus drop-off; a team of that demographic may choose to hold standups at 8 pm, post-bedtime instead. The work will continue to be completed, but the flexibility in location may also help flexibility as a team.
Emphasize the fact that you are flexible
Let your boss know that you are ready to come into the office on a case-by-case basis for high-priority meetings and team activities. In this way, you express your flexibility and you are not shutting down the idea of in-person visits to the office completely.
Describe how productivity can be affected if you get sick
Always approach your conversations with data and facts. It helps to better convince the other person. That being said, let your boss know how productivity and work would be affected if you contract any Covid-19 variant because of in-person interactions.
Have an honest and open conversation about the way you feel
Be open and let your boss know how uncomfortable you feel returning to work full time. If you have kids or someone who is at high risk in your family, let your boss know that you are making this decision to protect them.
Even if you cannot be 100% remote, highlighting these points will help you convince your boss how everyone can benefit from you continuing to work from home while avoiding offending your employer.