COVID-19 has make it easier for a lot of people to justify working remotely, but there are still some companies that are uncomfortable with the idea of their employees not coming into the office every day. Here’s how to make the case for working remotely for your company.
What’s Your Plan?
Before you have a conversation with your boss about working remotely, make sure you have a plan. First, do a self check. Do you have the discipline to work from home? Do you have a quiet space to get work done or will you need an office somewhere else? If you think the isolation of working from home will drive you bonkers, consider renting a desk at a co-working space. Robert Trent, Executive Director at Sierra Commons, a coworking space, telework center and business ignitor in Nevada City, believes in designing a schedule that works best for you. He suggests asking yourself: “What do you actually want? Two days a week in the office? Never go to the office again? It doesn’t have to be just one or the other, in the office or not.”
Finally, figure out what office hours are going to work best for you. Since you won’t be commuting, maybe you want to shift your hours earlier and have your late afternoon free. Or, maybe you are helping your kids with distance learning, and you need to make up a few hours in the evening. It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to work emails and texts 24 hours a day unless you have set office hours. Make it clear when you will and will not be “at work.”
Once you know what you want to do, it’s time to convince your boss. It’s nice that you will be saving the environment with less commuting and pollution, and maybe even saving the company money by using less energy in the office, but your boss probably cares more about the company’s bottom line.
First, familiarize yourself with your company’s current remote working policy. While you are at it, read up on the cybersecurity policy so that you are prepared to tell you boss how you will be keeping the company’s data and networks safe. If there are duties such as lab work that require you to be in the office, figure out other duties that you might be able to take on to replace those, and find someone else to pick up the in-office work.
Some managers fear that once their employees are no longer in the office, they will spend the day slacking off and deliverables will be missed. Explain how you will stay productive and in touch. Some companies like to use time tracking software. Another strategy is to break big projects down into smaller deliverables so that you can assure your boss that you are on track. “Establish frequent checkpoints – not just a deliverable in three weeks,” advises Trent. “Start with outline that’s due in a few days, then a draft next week, and a final version in three weeks.”
Learn More About Working Remotely on October 13th
There are a lot of other issues that will need to be worked out once you get the go-ahead to set up your home office or pay the first month of rent at that sweet co-working spot with the great coffee and fast internet. Learn how the remote working pros do it at the “Working Remotely in Nevada County” TechTonic Tuesday TV on October 13th. Three local experts will share their experience and their best advice for working remotely in Nevada County. Robert Trent, the executive director of Sierra Commons, recently published an article about teleworking called “Eschew the Commute!” Ken Krugler is a software engineer and entrepreneur who has been working remotely in Nevada County for decades, and writes “A Techie in the Trees,” a blog that contains “useful information for techies wanting to live in Nevada City/Grass Valley.” Danielle Johnson is a software engineer who recently transitioned to working remotely in Grass Valley. Join us on Tuesday, or watch the video later! And please share this event with all of those friends who work in the Bay Area but dream of making the leap the Nevada County.