Inside: Download your work from home proposal template and use these tips from a career coach to cover your bases.
Stop me if this sounds way too familiar.
Email from your boss: “We all are going back to the office in September. Get excited!”
You: “Oh, no. No, no, big nope…”
Maybe you are hesitant to go back into the office for health reasons. Or perhaps working from home made you more productive or gave you a better work-life balance. Maybe the idea of commuting again makes you queasy, or you don’t have options available for after-school care.
Whatever the reason, if you want to keep working from home you are not alone. Not at all!
In fact, in a recent study, 98% of working parents said they wanted to work remotely, at least part of the time.
So, what are we going to do about it?
Make the Work from Home Ask!
While some workplaces are putting work-from-home policies in place, others still aren’t sure about how to handle this transition. If that’s the case for your company, you can either start looking for a new job or make the ask at your current job.
If you love your current job and it’s the right fit in many other ways, then making the ask could be your best bet.
It’s not as simple as calling your boss and saying “Hey, can I keep working from home forever?” though. You need to be strategic about this ask and you need to think through the details.
What are those details exactly? I’m so glad you asked!
Many moons ago (or approximately six years ago) I started working from home at least one day a week. That increased to two days a week over time and now I work from home exclusively. When I first proposed a work from home arrangement it was not the norm at my organization, so I had to put together a proposal.
Here’s what I included, and what you’ll include when you fill out the work from home proposal template:
What You Want – Specifically
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want!
If you’re the one putting together this proposal, make it clear what your ideal situation is.
Full-time remote with working hours from 8 am to 5 pm.
Two days remote (Mondays and Wednesdays) and three days in the office (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), but can be flexible on the specific days as long it remains consistent.
Three days remote (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) two days in person (Tuesday and Thursday) working hours from 8 am to 6 pm MWF, 9 am to 3 pm TTH.
Include the number of days, specific days, and working hours within your proposal so it’s clear what you want and clear to your employer that you’ve thought this through.
Exceptions to the Rule
I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour. I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
Then in your work from home proposal, you’ll also want to clarify what the exceptions to your schedule will be.
For example, if you have big events twice a year like I did in my old job, I included in my proposal that I would be working in person for those two weeks of the year.
Think about your role and what in person requirements there are and how you can work that into your proposal from the start. When you iron this out early it can make it easier for the employer to say “yes!”
Talk to me, like coworkers do.
When I was putting together my work from home proposal, I had to think through how people were going to contact me since we all had desk phones. We used email a lot, but Slack and Microsoft Teams were not normal communication tools at that point.
I put in my work from home proposal that I would include a note on my teammates’ calendars on the days I was working remotely that included my cell phone number. That eased concerns about being able to reach me easily.
Nowadays, remote communication is way easier, even if this is only a few years later. Your team may already have a good setup with chat and asynchronous work tools, but still put that into your work from home proposal.
Home Office Setup
You don’t gotta go to work, but you gotta put in work.
Do you have what you need to successfully work from home?
For some this may be as simple as a laptop and a quiet space. For others, this might mean multiple screens, phone forwarding to your cell phone, access to a VPN or other secure networks, and very high-speed WiFi.
Explain to your employer what you know you need to work successfully at home and in the office and how you are set up to do that. If you need your employer to provide you the tools to work from home, figure out the cost ahead of time. This might be a harder sell, but think of this like a negotiation!
One more thing, some companies are going to want to make sure you have childcare during your working hours. Spell this out in your proposal.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend.
Break down your role into its key components. How much of that is helping clients, customers, students, etc. in person? How much in person collaboration do you typically do? What percentage of your day is spent working independently?
If you find that there is a chunk of your job that requires, or required pre-pandemic, that you be in person discuss the new customer service plans with your manager. Will service be remote still or is the in-person element coming back into play?
For roles that do require some in-person customer service, work from home can still be a possibility. You’ll just need to outline how you can contribute to service remotely, provide extra coverage for your teammates when you are working in person, or shift your responsibilities while taking on others.
This part can be complicated, but oftentimes is a sticking point so it’s worth really thinking this through and writing out the who, what, where, when, and how of customer service in your proposal.
You’re simply the best, better than all the rest.
Lastly, make sure to include a process of how your work from home arrangement will be evaluated.
For example, there will be a trial period for three months at which point you and your manager will sit down to discuss how this is working for you and for the team.
Also, what are the measures of success? Examples include ease of communication, availability to your coworkers, participation in meetings, productivity levels, and quality of work. Get clear on what you think are the most important measurements, include that in your proposal, and then be willing to talk it through with your manager.
Download Your Work from Home Proposal Template
If your office doesn’t have a specific work from home proposal template, download this free Word document and start plugging in the key elements.
From there, set up a meeting with your manager with a note saying that you would like to discuss your proposal for a work from home arrangement. When the meeting is accepted, send your proposal and bring a copy with you to the meeting.
Then take a BIG deep breath and go in there ready to state your case. You’ve got this!