The digital revolution has changed how people live, communicate and work. One of the most profound shifts in the modern workplace is the rise of remote work. This model — wherein employees operate outside the traditional office environment — is increasingly being viewed not just as an alternative but a preferred option by many. Learn how to advocate for keeping remote or hybrid options with these tips.
Know Your Strengths
First and foremost, as digital natives, you grew up with the internet, smartphones and various digital tools, making online communication and collaboration second nature. You place a high premium on work-life balance and flexibility, which align well with the remote work model. Gen Z and Millennials have a global mindset that finds appeal in remote work's ability to connect with diverse teams across the globe.
Moreover, with rising awareness of mental health issues, many see remote work as a way to reduce stress and create a supportive environment. With 44% of employees stating they experience workplace stress daily, your desire to work remotely is reasonable and essential for your mental health. Your generation strongly advocates for environmental sustainability, making remote work attractive due to its potential to decrease daily commutes and reduce the energy consumption of large office spaces.
Remote Work Is Work
Several case studies and research have explored the impact of remote work on productivity. Here are a few notable ones you can show your employer to strengthen your case.
Stanford University Study
In 2013, Stanford University conducted a study in collaboration with Ctrip — a Chinese travel agency. They allowed a segment of their employees to work from home for nine months. The study found remote workers exhibited a 13% increase in productivity, with a quieter work environment, fewer breaks and reduced sick days listed as the top reasons. Additionally, the company witnessed a 50% decrease in attrition rates among remote workers.
Prodoscore — a productivity software provider — examined the productivity of its users before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many businesses adopted remote work. They found worker productivity increased by 47% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
A 2019 study by the consulting firm Mercer discovered 94% of employers said productivity remained the same or improved after employees transitioned to remote work. This was even as most organizations dealt with the initial hurdles of shifting to a remote model due to the pandemic.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Study
BCG studied 12,000 employees across the U.S., Germany and India. They found those who perceived their organizations to provide social connectivity, mental and physical health support, and digital tools for remote work felt as productive as before the pandemic or even more so.
Buffer's State of Remote Work Report
Buffer's annual report found most remote workers felt more productive when working from home. Respondents cited the lack of commute, a flexible schedule and the ability to create a personalized work environment as key factors driving their productivity.
In a survey, Gartner found just 13% of business owners were worried about productivity with their remote teams. Over 80% said they intended to allow their staff to work remotely some of the time, while 47% were willing to implement working from home permanently.
Negotiating for a Remote Work Option
Remote work vastly differs from traditional employers' understanding of “work.” To advocate for working from home effectively, you must first know your motivations. Do you desire a better work-life balance, hope to skip long commutes, need to care for a family member or have other reasons? Clearly defining your "why" sets the foundation for your request.
You should gather compelling evidence to bolster your case. Numerous studies showcase the merits of remote work, with highlights such as enhanced productivity, increased employee satisfaction and better retention rates. Rely on concrete statistics and data to make your argument more persuasive.
Address the reservations managers commonly hold. They often express concerns over potential drops in productivity, diminished teamwork or the risk of employees feeling isolated. Tackle these worries head-on by proposing solutions. Introduce tools that enhance remote collaboration or establish regular check-in protocols to ensure alignment.
Emphasize the benefits employers stand to gain. Remote work can lead to substantial savings from decreased overhead costs related to utilities, office supplies and rental spaces. Moreover, it opens doors to a broader talent pool as geographical boundaries become irrelevant. Employees can achieve a healthier lifestyle free from the daily stresses of commuting, leading to improved well-being and satisfaction.
If they’re still hesitant, propose a trial phase. Instead of diving into a full-time remote work setup, suggest a temporary arrangement, maybe a few days a week or a month. This trial will allow you and your employer to gauge its practicality and advantages.
Communication remains vital. Schedule a well-prepared, formal meeting with your manager or HR to discuss your proposal. Actively listen to their feedback and adjust your idea if necessary. Take the responsibility seriously if they greenlight your suggestion, even for a trial period. Deliver your tasks efficiently and consistently. Adopting a professional attitude and addressing concerns before they arise significantly improves the likelihood of making remote work a permanent option.
Shoot Your Shot, but Accept Compromise
There's compelling evidence to suggest working from home can lead to increased productivity, offers better work-life balance and has considerable environmental benefits. Moreover, the global pandemic has shown it’s feasible and efficient. Your inherent tech-savviness and adaptability make you a prime candidate to lead this change in traditional work models. However, it's essential to understand the concerns and reservations of employers and compromise.
Some businesses might have genuine challenges that prevent a full transition to remote work, such as the need for in-person collaboration, security concerns or client demands. In such cases, proposing hybrid models or flexible working hours could be a middle ground. The goal is to advocate for your beliefs and find solutions that benefit employees and employers. You can pave the way for a more flexible work future with persistence, open-mindedness and effective communication.