Have you discovered, through all of this, that you actually prefer working from home? If so, you’re not alone. Many of my clients have called me asking for advice on continuing WfH even after the pandemic. I’m pretty social, and I miss the friendships and sense of community my co-working space offers (not to mention the free wine and happy hours), but there are definitely some perks to being home. Today, for instance, I made lunch from scratch, and over the past few months, I’ve also been able to bake lots of bread, tend my garden, and help my mom with some of her errands.
Global Workplace Analytics estimates that, by the end of 2021, between 25 and 30% of us will be working from home—a big change compared to the less than 4% who were doing it before the pandemic. In other words, we’ve proven that we can work from home without sacrificing productivity. And I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that often the time I need to accomplish a task is actually shorter when I’m doing it from my little kitchen-office than it was when there were people around to be interesting and otherwise distract me.
But if you’re finding that be benefits outweigh the drawbacks, what should you do when there’s a vaccine and your boss asks you to come back?
Start by preparing yourself for the conversation. We still have some time, so work to demonstrate how you can shine while working from home. Tackle a big project, exceed expectations, and take extra care of your grooming. (I should note that if you’re struggling with WfH, these probably sound impossible, but if you want to be remote even just part of the time, you will definitely want to find a way to make this happen.)
Remind your management team that you have been doing your work well through all of this. You’ve been professional and presentable, and you’ve been meeting your deadlines. You can also remind them of the positives. Those same experts at Global Workplace Analytics have run the numbers, and on average, an employer saves around $11,000 a year by having someone work remotely even just half-time. Furthermore, most employees are away from those in-office desks about 50-60% of the time, so a lot of that money is just wasted overhead!
You will also want to anticipate questions your manager will have once you ask to remain remote. How will you attend staff meetings? What will your schedule look like? How can people reach you if they have questions? This article from Fast Company will help you strategize answers to those questions.
Lastly, prepare for your boss to say no. You don’t want to set yourself up for certain success and then be crushed by the answer you don’t want. If you do get a no, you might want to start planning to ask again later, or you might just decide to start looking for something that is already designed to be remote. But also give it a little time—you might find that returning to the office has some perks, as well, and those might even outweigh the benefits of wearing sweatpants every day. Ultimately, the choice is yours, of course, so weigh your options and decide what’s best for you.