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How to ask your leadership team for remote work permanently

Want to work remotely permanently? Here are some tips on how you can ask your manager and leadership team to adopt this flexible work arrangement.
Published 21 Aug 2022
Updated 28 Sep 2022
5 min read

Over the last few years, many of us have become very familiar with working remotely. However, as we begin to return to normality, you’re probably wondering – what now? Is everything going to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, or are we going to use this experience to change the way we work for good?

It’s a decision that your leadership team needs to make together and back 100%.

Looking ahead, you might find yourself questioning what approach is best for you and your team.

Did your team reap all the benefits associated with remote work, or did the impact of everyone missing their co-workers outweigh the benefits of working from home?

Whether your team enjoys working from the comfort of their own home, or you’re getting feedback that everyone is missing the workplace buzz, one thing is for sure – many elements of working remotely are here to stay.

And that’s where the remote first approach to work comes into play.

Before we dive into how to get your leadership team on board when requesting permanent remote work, let’s go back to basics.

What is a remote work arrangement?

A remote work arrangement provides employees with the flexibility they need to work when and where works best for them and their current situation.

It involves working remotely as being the primary preference for your employees. Remote employees can complete their roles and work duties from a remote location without going into the office.

This remote work model encourages flexibility and allows office workers to work from home permanently. It also opens up the possibility of expanding your team globally – this can be done easily today with global EOR services or a PEO.

Read more: What is an employer of record service?

1. Getting your leadership team on board with remote work

As you navigate the idea of requesting permanent remote work, it’s important your leadership team is on board with the idea 100%. You want them to live and breathe remote work. This is to set an example and benchmark the expectations for the wider business.

Your goal is to create a purpose-driven culture where everyone feels empowered to do the best they can in their roles. It’s all about leading by example.

How can you do this? Set rules and expectations that help everyone work collectively together.

With buy-in from your leadership, these rules build trust, understanding and support – a winning combination for remote work.

You should also encourage a workday structure, ensure differences are embraced and put effective communication at the top of your priority list.

Read more: How does the future of remote working look like?

2. Back up the remote work request with facts

To get your leadership team on board, you want to sell the idea of it to them, backed up by some hard facts.

This is where they’ll begin to see all of the positives associated with remote working and where you can get them over the line.

What facts can you use?ย  In 2020, we surveyed 1,200 workers between 7 May 2020 and 14 May 2020 to gain insights on remote working in Australia, and it revealed some very interesting truths…

The findings?

  • The majority of respondents enjoy working from home (84%) and would continue to work from home regularly if given the opportunity (92%).
  • Introducing flexible work policies allows businesses to improve their desirability, increase retention rates and create a healthier (and thus more productive) work culture.
  • According to the HILDA Survey, long-distance commuters (two hours or more a day) are less likely than short-distance commuters (less than one hour) to be satisfied with their working hours, work-life balance and even pay.
  • Employers who fail to meet this demand could lose top talent to businesses that take a more flexible approach to their workforce management.
  • Research conducted by Gallup revealed that employees who work remotely are 5% more productive than those who work in the office, meaning that they create the greatest gains for businesses.

Read more: Latest statistics of remote working

3. Create a structure for working remotely

Providing structure is essential when it comes to successfully transitioning to a remote-first workplace. When you were in the office, the structure was based on commuting to work, having dedicated breaks and leaving at a specific time.

However, with remote work, you’re more likely to see an increase in work-life integration, where the lines between work and home life become blurred.

This concept could be what your leadership team is struggling to come to terms with – they want to see their employees at their desks because that’s where they believe they are the most productive. But fear not.

With some structure and ground rules in place, your team will experience all of the benefits that come from greater flexibility and better work-life balance.

To do this, you need to set out how this will be managed when employees work remotely. You could ensure that all important information and policies are stored securely and accessible to everyone. This also applies to meetings and important decisions, too.

You should also ensure that notes are taken during meetings, and video meetings are recorded. What about teams? There are a few ways you can create a structure for your team such as:

  • Establishing a process, structure, and agenda around meetings and updates so everyone can follow along, no matter their location. Put it in the calendar and ensure everyone attends with their video cameras on.
  • Assigning a meeting lead and scribe to ensure key decisions and discussions are documented through a shared document such as Google Docs.
  • Sticking to a regular cadence for daily and weekly meetings.

Remember: focusing on output over hours can build trust and allow your team to feel empowered in their roles.

4. Practice effective communication

Communication is key when adopting remote work. It’s not just the tools that you use to communicate but also the way in which you communicate.

If your leadership team isn’t confident that communication will be up to par and important information will go unmissed, you need to set ground rules.

You could suggest holding a session for the entire team on effective communication in a remote environment and investing in communication tools.

An example of overcoming communication barriers

To avoid miscommunication over virtual messages, you should begin your communication with your context. This will help prevent any misinterpretation of messages. How do you do this, I hear you ask? Let your team know when you are in a video meeting, are having dedicated quiet time to a project or that you can’t respond right now.

How do you do this?

  • Have your Google calendar updated at all times, not just when you’re in a meeting but if you are working on a project and unable to respond. Time blocking in your calendar is your remote first best friend!
  • Log-off slack if you are unable to respond or update your slack status to say โ€˜Do Not Disturb’, โ€˜Working on XYZ’ or โ€˜In a meeting’

5. Use the right communication tools

Effective communication is essential for when employees work from home. You need to invest in the tools that will help everyone stay in touch. Pitch and demonstrate tools to your leadership team across a variety of areas including:

  • Chat tools – Slack, WhatsApp
  • Video tools – Google Meet, Microsoft Teams
  • Project management – Asana, Trello, Monday, Wrike

Looking for a full list of remote working tools? We’ve rounded up our favourites here.

The wrap up

With these few tips, you’ll feel more confident getting your leadership team onboard with the remote first approach to work.

From sharing the cold hard facts and encouraging effective remote working tools, you’ll be on your way to making your leadership team advocates of remote working in no time at all!

If you want to learn more about how a remote-first approach to work can help supercharge your team, take a look at our whitepaper.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to get up and running in no time.

Download now.

The remote first workplace playbook

A complete guide to remote management.
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