Updated: Jun 16, 2020
It's just about 2 weeks into Phase 1 post Circuit Breaker at this point, and from what we’ve heard, most people either can't wait to get back to the office or are completely horrified at the thought. If you're one of the latter, this article's for you. We've collated a step by step guide to help you build a case to hopefully convince your boss to implement some sort of remote working policy in your office. And if you're applying for new positions, some tips down below on how to broach the subject to a new employer.
1. Gather Your Evidence
We’ve essentially been in a global WFH trial run for the past 3 months, which, albeit less than ideal for our sanities, has helped you to build one of the best cases for remote work anyone could have ever asked for. You’ve got all the materials you need to prove that not only do you work well (possibly better) from home, but that the entire team does too. All you’ve got to do now is gather the evidence on the work you’ve gotten done, how you and your team have collaborated, and how that’s translated to gains for the company.
2. Gather Supporters
Most of the time, making the ask as a team would work in your favour. Especially if you’ve all been able to demonstrate that you’ve worked and collaborated well throughout the CB period. A point to keep in mind, is that one of the most common contentions bosses have against remote work, is this:
“If I let you work from home, everyone else will want to as well ”.
Which is where the importance of your previously gathered evidence comes in. Plus, if you’ve got a finance guru on your side, you could make a point to show your boss how much they would be saving on rent, electricity and other allowances by having you guys work remote instead.
3. Do a Bit More Research and Develop Case Studies.
There are lots of resources online where you can find cases and situations where remote work has been incredibly beneficial for companies. So you could try and use FOMO against your bosses. Here are some to get you started:
Flexible work arrangements have been beneficial for staff retention and productivity (MOM, 2018)
70% said that they would respond to work calls and emails even outside of office hours (CNA, 2020)
Employees have the best engagement when they’re remote 60% - 80% of the time. This can translate to 41% lower absenteeism, 15% increased productivity and 21% increase in profitability (Gallup, 2020)
4. Have a Plan of Action
Now that you’ve got your team all rallied behind you and your research down pat, it’s time to put it all together to make remote work a possibility for your company. Think of where your inefficiencies were these past few months, and come up with ways to solve them moving forward.
If you’ve been having issues collaborating with colleagues, tools like Trello and Asana could help to make sure everyone’s on task. If some people have been having issues with prioritising or productivity, it could be worthwhile to set aside time for a zoom meeting every few days to catch up on things.
Coming up with a plan that would address the specific needs of your team and company would go miles to show that you’ve actually put some thought into your proposal, and may even get you some bonus points if it’s more cost effective than your current methods.
5. Talking To Your Managers
Take it step by step here. Unless you’re part of a really small start-up, don’t be overly ambitious and go straight to the CEO. Start with your manager, and let him talk to the head of the department and so on. This not only allows you to get more support on your side, but they’re also likely to have a bit more insight into why the company may not be able to go remote, giving you the opportunity to develop solutions to make your case stronger and revise your plan of action.
6. Remember: Compromise
It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a win or lose mentality, but one thing to remember is that you’re trying to start a conversation. Let’s be real: for most Singaporean companies, it’s not likely that we’ll be following in the footsteps of Facebook or Twitter and going completely remote after Covid is handled. But who’s to say that a “One Remote Day Per Week” or “Half Remote Half Office” situation is off the table? The idea here is to start the process, so that hopefully, in a few years, we’ll be able to really work from anywhere.
Bringing Up Remote Work When You’re Interviewing
1. Do a Bit of Research Beforehand
Different research from what was mentioned above though. In this case, it would probably be a good idea to look through the company reviews and Glassdoor to see if you can get an idea about where the company stands on flexible working arrangements. Also keep in mind what your job scope is, and if you’ll be as effective in your position while remote.
2. Figure Out Why Remote Work Is Important To You
Maybe you’re an introvert who’s only got so much energy to deal with office politics, or you want to spend a bit more time with your family. Figuring out your motivations for wanting to be remote would mean you’d have your answer ready if and when your interviewer asks you for it. Plus, it would give you an indication of just how important flexibility is for you, so that you can properly assess your job offer when it comes in.
3. Just Ask
A good way to go about it, is to ask your interviewer what their general outlook is on telecommuting. This makes it seem like you’re more curious about the company culture rather than making remote work the focus of your conversation. It also gives you a better understanding of where they stand on it, so you can decide whether or not you’d like to move the interview forward.
4. Get it in writing
Even if your interview went well, and your interviewer mentions that remote work is a definite possibility in your new role, nothing is really set in stone until the job offer is presented to you. Once it is, it may be worth it to check that the company has included how their remote work policy would apply to your position, and what you can expect. This would allow you to make a more informed decision on whether you’ve got enough flexibility in your new position