With the growing popularity in the private sector of working from home or other non-office locations, it’s not surprising that the trend has begun to enter the nonprofit world, too.
But what do you do if you want to convince your manager to allow you to work remotely? Here are a few tips.
First, understand what makes you productive. Are you an early riser or a night owl? When do you find yourself fully immersed in your work? What makes it easy for you to be creative and solve problems? Does working remotely tick your high-performance needs?
Also understand what could harm your productivity. If you’re working at home, do you have pets or children around to distract you from your work? Do you have people asking you to babysit because they assume that if you’re home, you’re not working? If so, you’ll want to figure out how you’re going to deal with those issues.
Examine how you allocate time to your key responsibilities. Review your job description and break your responsibilities down into three categories: those that require you to be on site, responsibilities that can be managed through email, video conferencing, and responsibilities that you can take care of alone, from anywhere.
Obviously, if 100 percent of your responsibilities require you to be in the office, you’re not going to have much in your favor for working at home. Instead, try requesting a flexible schedule—for example, if you want to beat rush hour traffic, maybe you can work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maybe you can work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. However, if parts of your job can be done from anywhere, you’ll have a better argument for working remotely.
Once you have a better understanding of your needs and your employer’s needs, think about different scenarios that can meet both of your needs. Come up with a few options that you believe will satisfy those needs.
Finally, talk with your manager. When doing so, focus on the win-win of the remote working arrangement, and share the scenarios you’ve come up with. Say that you’re willing to try it for a month or two to see if it works.
Keep the lines of communication open. Have a set of clearly formulated questions that you and your employer want to answer during the trial arrangement. Both you and your manager will need to make a commitment to give honest feedback about the effectiveness of your remote work situation as the trial period goes on.
Pre-schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss how effective your remote working arrangement is. Be prepared to come back to the office if it turns out that working from home is not working for you or your employer.
Do you work remotely? What do you like about the arrangement? Is your employer happy with your performance when you work from home? Please share your experiences and tips in the comments.