2020 brought some of the most difficult challenges the world has seen in decades.
But for all the problems caused by the COVID pandemic, it at least forced many companies to restructure how they manage their employees.
According to Review42.com, “88% of organizations, worldwide, made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.”
But as vaccines are starting to roll-out around the world, many people came to a striking realization.
Their new role isn’t “remote work,” it’s a “work-from-home” situation. And there is a difference.
Plus, many people are concerned about being forced back into the office. So, today, we’re going to quickly outline the differences between “work from home” and “remote work.”
Then we’ll give you a few actionable tips for how to speak with your boss about transitioning from “working from home” to full-on “remote work.”
Working from home vs. remote work: What’s the difference?
A lot of professionals think that working from home is the same as having a remote job.
But the two work agreements are different by nature, and many employees would much rather be hired under the latter.
So, what does a “work from home” position entail? Here are some of the common characteristics of a work from home role:
It’s a temporary situation, lasting a few days, a week, or a few months depending on context (COVID may extend this definition to “a few years”)
Your daily structure is likely the same as it would be at the office
Working hours are typically more rigid
Compensation for home office equipment isn’t guaranteed
Essentially, a work from home arrangement means that nothing about your actual job changes except the location.
Rather than clocking in at 8:30 AM in the office, you simply do the same tasks at the same time from your home.
But how is this different from “remote work?”
Here are a few common traits about fully remote positions:
Often a permanent agreement from the start of your contract
You structure your day according to your ever-changing tasks
You have more flexibility with your hours (except for customer support or similar roles)
Full-time roles typically come with a stipend for home office materials
The real key here is trust and flexibility. In other words, it means your employer trusts you enough to accomplish your tasks from a remote location.
The exact hours (with exceptions for meetings) are flexible, and you’re given much more autonomy in your day-to-day duties.
Now, this is where things get interesting: in 2020, many employers were forced to allow employees to “work from home.”
And as time went on, these employees realized they had more freedom, they were more productive, and they had more time to spend with their families.
Not to mention they no longer needed to waste 2 hours a day fighting traffic.
But as the world starts healing from one of the worst years in decades, many employees fear that they’ll slowly get sucked back into the office.
So, today, we’re going to give you 3 actionable strategies for speaking with your boss about transitioning from a “work from home” to “remote work” situation.
“Work from Home” to “Remote Work”: Making your case
1. Start documenting your productivity NOW
The interesting thing about remote workers is that they get more done. And this is usually from a number of factors.
First, there are fewer distractions at home (believe it or not) than in the office.
Yes, some remote workers might sit in their pajamas all day and binge Netflix. But they won’t last long in the remote-working world.
For the most part, responsible employees will carve out a home office and work like they normally would. The difference? They don’t have colleagues to speak to in the halls, the watercooler, in the parking lot, or any other place where people tend to “chit-chat” longer than they realize.
That’s because when you wake up at 6:00 AM with a pounding headache, the thought of showering, getting dressed, making coffee, loading up the car, and walking into the office sounds miserable.
Probably because doing that stuff while your sick is miserable.
But remote workers are able to sleep in a bit, not worry about their appearance, and take little breaks throughout the day as necessary. And instead of lunch in a fluorescently lit room, they can power nap in the comfort of their own bed.
This leaves them feeling recharged for the afternoon and way more productive than if they’d been sick at the office.
Finally, there are some people who argue that remote workers put in longer hours and get more done because they’re rising to the occasion.
When an employer shows that they trust you, there’s more pressure on the employee not to let their digital team down.
But none of these points matter unless you can tangibly show your boss that they apply to you.
That means you need to start tracking how productive you’ve been to show your employer that you’re more than capable of turning your “work from home” role into a permanent “remote work” position.
2. Research successful companies with remote employees
Next, you’ll want to prepare a small list of companies that have mastered remote-work. One company that’s done a great job is Awesome Motive.
They were fully remote before the pandemic hit, and, as a result, weren’t negatively impacted by all the changes in 2020.
This is because they use the right tools for a remote team, structure the company to support remote work, and have a certain amount of faith in their employees.
What can you learn from these fully remote companies to help convince your boss?
Research the following topics as you’re finding good examples of companies that hire remotely:
What tools do they use to stay productive? This can help you pitch the idea in a realistic way to give your boss more things to consider.
How much do they save on office overhead? Look at companies that are similar in size to your own. Then you can calculate how much office space that would normally require and how much that square footage would cost. This will likely make your boss wonder if they could be saving on overhead costs, too.
What specific growth are these remote companies experiencing? It’s not enough to just say, “Hey, look! This big company is remote, so we should be as well!” You need to have more concrete examples of how being a remote-only company helped that business achieve its goals.
You should be doing this research for two reasons.
First, it will help you build a case with your boss about why you should be allowed to transition from “working from home” to a full-on “remote work” role.
But, second, you may find other opportunities with companies that are more open to the type of agreement you’re looking for.
That way, if your boss says “No,” you’ve still got a few options to stay away from the office.
3. Put things into financial perspective
This last tip is short but important: your employer probably does care about you… but they care a lot more about their company’s growth.
For better or for worse, that’s usually just the way it is (unless you work at a non-profit or a charity group).
That means you need to show how going remote will translate to more profit for the business.