For many office workers, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a surprising upside.
With most industries forced into a virtual world, millions of Americans found that working from home was more than a temporary novelty – it was a life-changing paradigm shift. And for a large percentage of these workers, there is no turning back.
If you have ever tasted the freedom of working from home style, you may be wondering what to do now that many workplaces have returned to the office. We’ll help you negotiate with your employer to work from home either fully or a few days a week – or find a new job that will allow you to do so.
Why are people looking for remote jobs?
During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs when entire industries closed. But as pandemic restrictions loosen and those industries begin to ramp up, millions of Americans are starting to quit their jobs — especially those in retail and service positions.
Thanks to the pandemic, employees have discovered that they can avoid commuting, office politics, and arbitrary working hours while still being productive. And many realized that they were happier working from home, where they could cook healthy meals, exercise, and spend more time with their families. Some decided to forego a higher salary to achieve a better work-life balance.
“I feel like my well-being has improved dramatically, and that’s not what I want to give up,” said Jazzy T, project manager and blogger at First Hustle Then Brunch. “The vast majority of my friends are looking for jobs where they can work remotely.”
How do you defend remote work?
If your boss asks you to go back to the office, you will have to justify why you can continue to work remotely. Many supervisors, especially in the older generations, are hesitant to allow 100% remote work.
First, look for statistics or data that show that you are working from home or more productive than working in the office. Have you made many sales calls? Have you launched many new initiatives or products? If you had a positive annual review during the pandemic, indicate this as evidence that the company agrees with your assessment.
It can be tempting to bring up personal issues, especially if you’re a parent or caregiver, but it’s best to focus on why working from home makes you a better employee. For example, if your job is data analysis, talk about how your home environment is more conducive to focus than a crowded office. If you’re on sales calls all day, talk about how to handle more calls without having to make long coms.
You should also highlight the ways you can save company money by working from home. For example, if you can skip the monthly payment for parking or other office perks, use that to your advantage. Remember, you need to prove that working from home benefits the employer as well.
Use industry competitors as examples if they allow their employees to work from home. This will help your boss realize that other companies can start hunting for talent if they can offer a more sustainable work-life balance. Point to research showing that remote workers achieve a 13% jump in productivity.
The best way to present your case is to get a job offer for a remote position and use it as leverage. If you can prove that another company believes in your ability to be a producer from home, they might convince your manager to follow suit.
Where can you find remote jobs?
If you are fiercely opposed to returning to the office and your current job is moving away from telecommuting, it may be time to find a new one.
Jazzy Tee found a remote party after her former employer refused her to work from home. She said she relied on using the site filter on LinkedIn. They have a “remote only” option that filters out vacancies that are not 100% remote. She also recommends The Ladders, a career site focused on jobs that pay $100,000 or more.
“Most of these opportunities are remote,” she said.
Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter also filter remote jobs. Set up notifications and check daily for new jobs posted. Ask mentors, former co-workers, and others in the industry where to find remote jobs. Sometimes just connecting with the right person can start the connection.
If you are currently unemployed, don’t be afraid to post on social media that you are looking for a remote job.
Pro tip: Change your LinkedIn profile to show that you’re open to business.
When you can’t get a remote job
When T learned that her company wanted employees to go back to the office, she began looking for remote jobs. After she got a job offer that was quite far away, she asked her boss to match her. They offered her a promotion and a salary increase but refused to give her the ability to work remotely.
Companies understand that working from home is a major benefit for many employees and may be willing to compensate you for entering the office. If your boss doesn’t agree to working remotely 100%, try asking for two or three days at home. If this is not an option, ask to be able to come later to avoid rush hour traffic.
Know your position before negotiating. You may have more leverage if you work in an industry that is understaffed. Although this may not be the case if your company is struggling financially. This strategy may also work best if you have a long history of working with the company.
Finding a 100% remote job can be challenging, but there is no need to fear. More companies are adopting a hybrid model that splits time between working at home and entering the office.
Zina Kumok (142 posts)
Zina Kumuk is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.